“And Abraham rose early in the morning, and took bread, and a bottle of water, and gave it unto Hagar, PUTTING IT ON HER SHOULDER, and the child and sent her away: and she departed and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba.” Genesis 21:14
I can only imagine the torturous thoughts that played out in Hagar’s mind as she attempted to take her child and embark on what she believed would be their death march to die a slow agonizing death of dehydration and starvation, if they even survived the wild animals that they could be attacked by at even given moment.
Yet again, this was Sarah’s plan, she was quite a character and could have taught Samson a thing or two about manipulation and self righteousness.
She is probably the gene donor responsible for the cattiness, jealousy, and vanity that have plagued women’s relationships one to another since the dawn of time, much more so than anything we inherited from Eve.
How had it come to this? That question surely flooded her mind, I am sure there were many, many times that she wanted to see both of them suffer, as they had made her suffer.
And now, as he put the bread and water on her shoulder, sending her and the child he was responsible for out into a formidable land to make their way back to Egypt, he was laying the entire burden of the enormous mess on her shoulders to be born alone.
But she WAS NOT alone, she only felt that way.
She had been down this road before, as a servant subjected to Sarah’s insane idea to force her to bear a child to Abraham, once accomplished Sarah’s jealousy kicked in and she mistreated Hagar, Abraham refused to intervene, BUT God let Hagar know that it was THE CRIES OF HER HEART that he heard, not necessarily Sarah’s.
Genesis 16:7-14 tells us: “And the ANGEL of the Lord FOUND her by a fountain of water in the wilderness, by the fountain in the way to Shur. And he said, HAGAR, SARAI’S MAID, whence cometh thou? and whither wilt thou go (why are you here and where will you go?) and she said I flee from the face of my mistress Sarai.
And the angel of the Lord said unto her, Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself under her hands. And the angel of the Lord said unto her, I will multiply THY seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude.
And the angel of the Lord said unto her, Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael (God hears) BECAUSE THE LORD HATH HEARD THY AFFLICTION. And he will be as a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of his brethren.
And she called the name of the Lord that spake unto her, Thou God (EL ROI) seest me: for she said, have I also looked after (saw) him that seest me? wherefore THE WELL was called Beerlahairoi (well of one who lives and sees me); behold, it is between Kadesh and Bered.”
She did as she had been told, even submitting to the humiliation of giving birth to her son while sitting on Sarah’s knees to appease Sarah’s misguided belief that somehow this would really make the child hers.
But now they had Isaac and the very child they had forced her to bear and then taken from her, they have now given back, as if he were an unwanted pet replaced by one of a more valued breed and have sent them both on their way to an unknown fate.
But one thing Hagar was not aware of , this plan, although it had come from the mouth of Sarah, who didn’t care if they both died she just wanted them out of her face, God had given permission for this to happen and it WOULD NOW BE USED FOR HER GOOD.
God was going to use this, as He does all things, to her benefit, as when the angel told her to go back, this was a wilderness walk that she had to take, regardless of the pain and the injustice, this walk WOULD NOT LEAD TO THE DESTRUCTION OF HER AND ISHMAEL, BUT IT WOULD LEAD TO THEIR FREEDOM.
She would never again be slave to Abraham or Sarah and her maker would in fact now be her husband and a father to her son, who was now fatherless.
And just as her son was rejected by his own people and sent to Egypt, there would be another son called forth out of Egypt only to face the same rejection by his kindred.
But when all we can see is the wilderness in front of us, the hunger, the thirst and the fear of what is waiting down that road starts to set in, we forget the promises we have been given, what the angel has spoken and sometimes we need to be reminded.
Genesis 21:15-21 “And the water was spent in the bottle, and she cast the child under one of the shrubs, And she went, and sat down over against (across) him a good way off, as it were a bowshot: for she had said Let me not see the death of the child. and she sat over against him and lift up her voice and wept.
AND GOD HEARD THE VOICE OF THE LAD; and the ANGEL OF THE LORD CALLED OUT TO HAGAR OUT OF HEAVEN, and said unto her, What aileth thee, Hagar? ( THIS TIME HE DID NOT CALL HER SARAI’S MAID) fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad, WHERE HE IS.
Arise, lift up the lad, hold him in thine hand; for I will make him a great nation. And God opened her eyes, and SHE SAW A WELL OF WATER; and she went and filled the bottle with water and gave the lad drink. And God was with the lad; and he grew, and dwelt in the wilderness, and became an archer. And he dwelt in the wilderness of Paran: and his mother took him a wife out of the land of Egypt.”
I know the wilderness is a rough place, I don’t like it myself.
But you know had God not led Hagar on that journey and she had not agreed to trust Him on that trip she would have never realized the power and intimacy of God on her and her son’s life, remember the second time all she could do was cry, God heard Ismael’s prayers, HEAVEN ITSELF ANSWERED!
She would have never known freedom. Just as Jesus was led by the spirit into the wilderness, and successfully resisted the devil and John the Baptist was prepared for his work and grew strong in the wilderness, it grows us.
There are required traits that we only acquire in the wilderness, those barren, desolate places, sparse pastures that barely keep us alive, the side paths that are so lonely, we feel like tears are our only companion.
It is in those places, the wilderness, the deserts, the almost uninhabitable lands that the roses bloom and the fountains of living water burst forth out of that parched ground.
If you never had to go there, you would never know the sweetest of that water or the scent of a rose so strong and determined to live that it grew up through sand , pushing the rocks past, as the blazing sun-scorched down on it.
So don’t fight it, don’t even try to resist it, just take that trip with EL ROI, because He does live and He does see and He wants you to know you can depend solely on him, you may be like Hagar, alone in the middle of nowhere feeling like everything you love is about to die, have faith, He sees and He will show up and He will bless that which you thought was hopeless and prosper it and make it something so mighty it will beyond your wildest dreams.
Once you have been given these waters, you will never fear the wilderness quite so much again, I’m sure you won’t be excited to visit there again, but take along an empty suitcase, I promise you will return with a souvenir so rare, so priceless that you will never part with it.
Apostle Paul said “he glorified in his affliction” because he knew the sweet Holy spirit would rest on him and that was worth the brier scratches, the harder the enemy hit him, the greater the power of God would bathe him.
Go, you will be glad you did!
Original Post: 09/05/2014 & 03/28/2015 all rights reserved. Rev. Nina Brown Johnson/ baresoulphlogizo 2015/ revisited 05/02/2021
Truly beautiful song.. As close as I could find to the thought of this post! Love and Peace!