Bible study, Encouragement/Devotional

[Biblical Women's History Month] Seen: Hagar

An Egyptian servant

Sarah’s maid

A woman of contempt

Sarai’s mistress

These were some of the words used to describe Hagar, whose name in Hebrew means “flight”, when she is first introduced to us in the beginning of Genesis 16. She is who I am highlighting this week for Biblical Women’s History Month. What we learn about Hagar is that not only is she the servant of Sarai, she also ends up becoming the mother of Abram’s first child–an idea crafted by Sarai because she felt God was taking too long with a promise given to her husband. Clearly we know that plan wouldn’t go well when wife and now husband’s mistress are in the same household. The situation spins out of control as Sarai’s begins mistreating the same woman she had initially told to sleep with her husband. The conditions became too hard for Hagar to bear and she ends up running away to the wilderness (v. 6).

I can imagine Hagar was distraught, probably angry, heartbroken and dealing with a whole plethora of emotions. I am sure she was really pondering the choice she had made to sleep with her maid’s husband. After being dealt with harshly by Sarai, she made another decision to run from her situation. The reality that a baby resulted from her unwise decision added more weight to an already tough situation. And yet, here in this place, by a spring, is where the angel of the LORD finds her in her moment of distress and greatest need. In a time where she needed some direction, God found her, right in the middle of her mess.

By the spring of water.

In the wilderness.

There is something to be said about wells and water that is worth highlighting here. Wells and water, in ancient Israelite culture, were essential for daily life. Wells were usually found in a central location that was also a place where families could gather water to provide for their households. It just so happens to also be a place where the Living Water offers divine revelation, provision, consolation, purpose, and assurance that He sees us and hears us.

Here, at the well, in the midst of poor decisions, in the midst of being an unwed mother, in the midst of being despised by her boss, and now maybe homeless, jobless and in the wilderness, she encountered Beer-lahai-roi (Genesis 16:14).

You’re the God who sees me!

Genesis 16:13, The Message

You are a God of seeing, for she said, Have I [not] even here [in the wilderness] looked upon Him Who sees me [and lived]? Or have I here also seen [the future purposes or designs of] Him Who sees me?

Genesis 16:13, AMP

You are a God of seeing…Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.

Genesis 16:13, ESV

Hagar was seen by the One who knew her best. In this place, Hagar didn’t have to pretend. She was free to admit how she felt with no judgment. She was in a safe place to cry out to the Lord in her affliction and God met her right in the place she was, not once but twice. He gave her direction and a promise–that even in the midst of her choices, her offspring would be greatly multiplied (Genesis 16: 10).

Perhaps you have made some wrong choices and the consequences of those choices have caused upheaval and despair for you. You may be in a place where you just want to run away from it all. Sis, may I encourage you to trust that God sees you. He will find you, wherever you are, and He will grant you the direction you need. Today, may you recognize and see the God who sees you.

Then the Lord God made a woman

Genesis 2:22, NLT

Scripture references: The Holy Bible (MSG, ESV, AMP, NLT)

References: https://www.bibleodyssey.org/en/places/related-articles/women-and-wells-in-the-hebrew-bible

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