Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Hagar: Part II, Wallflower-turned-Runaway…turned Reject.

Welcome back! We have only heard half of Hagar's story--her story of pain, drama, and conflict, but eventually--love and healing.  If you missed the first day of the study, read this first.

Now fast forward with me about 14 years. Hagar, the wallflower-turned-runaway, is living with Abraham and Sarah again. A lot has happened in these years.  You could open up to Genesis ­­­21 to see where we are in the story. But long story short, Hagar has a 13 year old son, Ishmael, and Sarah—finally—has her child of promise, Isaac. Sarah and Hagar butt heads again so Abraham sends Hagar and her son away.

As if rewinding a horror scene, Hagar is back in the desert, with no plan!  And this time, she has her young teenage son to care for.  What was that trip like for them? Was she thinking back to 13 years ago?  When she was seen by the Lord?  (It's a good practice to regularly think back to  a time when we experienced God in a  big way, times when we saw God move) Was she remembering when he gave her purpose and promises? 

At what mile marker did Hagar lose hope?  At what point did fear creep into her mind, thoughts of despair...depression.  

Hagar’s story gets worse before it gets better. Verse 15 says “When the water in the skin was used up, she left the boy under one of the bushes. Then she went and sat down opposite him, for she said “Do not let me see the boy die.” And she sat down and cried.

Hagar and Ishmael have been kicked out of their home.  They are cast into the wilderness.  And when the Nalgenes are empty and they begin dying of dehydration, Hagar gives up.  (Ever given up? On God? On yourself?) She has a headache, she’s dizzy, her body wouldn’t allow her to make tears that she wants to release. So she gives up. She places her son, who is probably as big and she is, under a bush, probably a thorny bush, so that he won’t get eaten alive by wild animals.  Ishmael must have been pretty weak, pretty close to death to not fight his mom, to not try and go with her.  Can you imagine being Hagar at this point? And then she half walks, half stumbles to a spot a few hundred yards away so she doesn’t have to watch her son,  die a horrible, slow death.  

(I know, I know.  This is bleak.)

But God. The God who SAW her years ago is now back, and he says that he hears them! The Bible says, “God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “Do not fear, for God has heard the voice of the boy where he is. Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him by the hand, for I will make a great nation of him.”  

Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water.  The Lord finds her in the wilderness, not once but twice! He brings her to a well, not once, but twice, and provides for her.  So Hagar gets up, fills her wineskin with water, and gives it to Ishmael.  And they survive!

From the first day of this study, what did Hagar name God? What did that name mean?

She named him, “You are a God who sees.” The God of everything sent out a search and rescue mission for her,  he called her by name, and he saved her. 

God is so patient with us.  He is so good to often remind us what we already know about Him. Hagar had 'met' God as "the God who sees me", but her tough situation (understatement) made her forget it. Psalm 9:10 would have been a great verse for Hagar:

"Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you."

Do you believe that God sees knows you, and understands you?

Do you believe that God will search for you—until you give your heart and life to him?

Do you believe that God is near, and loving? Or do you believe that the desert you are living in is too far for God to come get you?

He never forsakes us, girls. Never.

What great thing did Hagar do to get God’s attention?  

That's a trick question.  Hagar didn't really do anything to earn God's attention.  Neither do we! Romans 5:8 says  "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

 Do you believe this?  Do you really believe that you don’t have to earn God’s love or favor?  (or earn it back)

Let’s see if we really believe it.  Fill out the chart below: (I got you started…)

Sins you just can't shake:
1. Gossip

Traits you wish you had:
1. Compassion

Imagine that for 6 months you NEVER once did anything on the first list.  Do you believe that God would love you more? Imagine that for those 6 months, you exhibited the traits on the second list in abundance.  Would God be more pleased with you?

Now switch it up.  What if in the next 6 months you really sucked? :)You only displayed the list on the left, and the list on the right became a faint memory? Would God walk away?  Would he love you less?  Would he be less likely to come meet you in your emotional or spiritual desert?

No. and No.

If you are saved, if you have given your life to Jesus, asked him to be your Savior and Lord of your life, then God’s love and favor will not leave you.  Our salvation is not based on us, it is based on God’s grace and love.

When we are seen by God, it changes everything. 

Girls, Soak in the truth that God sees you.  Our God is not far away, he is near, he is with you.  Even in the wilderness, like Hagar. Nobody loves you, understands you, or hears you like God.  He is with you.

Our worth is not defined by the world.  We live in a broken, messed up world.  But God has a way of jumping into our pain! He has a way of intersecting us on our runaway paths, like he did with Hagar.  Will you let him take your brokenness and make it beautiful?  

Are you a wallflower that nobody sees? Are you a runaway of sorts?  Is your heart dry, like a desert?  Are you beat up and rejected?  Hagar was all of these things.  But God redeemed each situation, with his love. 

We have one more day to study Hagar, stay tuned!
You are loved, girls.

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