Today's blog is part 1 of 3 written by Natalie McGehee. Be on the lookout for the follow up blogs later this week! We are praying for peace, encouragement, blessings, and perseverance for you and your children! You are loved deeply and dearly!
Hagar and the God Who Sees Me
A couple of years ago, I went with some friends to the Women of Faith Conference in Houston where Beth Moore was speaking. We were all struck with amazement when she began to teach about Hagar and referred to Hagar as a “single mom”. This was only a few weeks before the first Overflow conference and we were all feeling a bit tired and concerned about how it was going to turn out because at that time we only had a few women registered to come. We were fully trusting God, but also questioning ourselves and our efforts. Beth’s teaching was a fresh wind of the Holy Spirit in our sails! Just the encouragement we needed to forge on and fight to the finish line to reach out and connect with women from all over the city that were parenting on their own.
Since that day, I have been mulling over some of the things Beth said and taught from the scriptures. I want to credit everything I’m passing on to you in these blogs to her! I’m taking out many words, comments and concepts directly from her talk at the Women of Faith conference, so I’m admitting right now to plagiarism! :) If you are not familiar with Beth Moore, I urge you to seek out her books, Bible studies and TV show! She has mentored me like no other teacher except for the Holy Spirit! I have added to, taken away and edited the material for the purpose of looking at it in the scope of single moms and the ministry of Overflow.
Single moms come with so many different stories and circumstances. Many are strong, courageous, and Godly women whom I admire and I call them my heroes! I don’t want to suggest here that every single mom is in the same circumstance as Hagar or in the same type of desperate “desert”. However, I think that there is so much that is pertinent to the situation of many and I hope that the wisdom of the scriptures will speak truth of the gospel into the “desert”.
Let’s get started by reading Genesis 16:7-15 (NIV) At this point in the story, Hagar is pregnant with her master Abraham’s child. His wife Sarai isn’t happy about this, even though she was the one that instigated the situation! Now, Sarai has treated Hagar so harshly, so oppressively, that Hagar has run away into the desert.
The Lord’s angel found Hagar near a spring of water in the desert—the spring that is along the road to Shur. 8 He said, “Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from, and where are you going?” She replied, “I’m running away from my mistress, Sarai.”
9 Then the Lord’s angel said to her, “Return to your mistress and submit to her authority. 10 I will greatly multiply your descendants,” the Lord’s angel added, “so that they will be too numerous to count.” 11 Then, the Lord’s angel said to her,
“You are now pregnant
and are about to give birth to a son.
You are to name him Ishmael,
for the Lord has heard your painful groans.
12 He will be a wild donkey of a man.
He will be hostile to everyone,
and everyone will be hostile to him.
He will live away from his brothers.”
13 So Hagar named the Lord who spoke to her, “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “Here I have seen one who sees me!” 14 That is why the well was called Beer Lahai Roi. (It is located between Kadesh and Bered.)
15 So Hagar gave birth to Abram’s son, whom Abram named Ishmael.
Hagar was a mess and in a messy situation. She was in the middle of a heart wrenching drama with little control over her circumstances. She was a slave and an Egyptian. Even her name means “stranger”! As an outsider, she probably didn’t see herself as God’s type! I imagine that there may be someone reading this that also feels like an outsider, not God’s type of woman. But the truth is that God’s type is anybody that needs a Savior! And we all need a Savior!
Reaching her breaking point, Hagar ran away into the desert. In the wilderness, the Lord’s angel found her and asked her two questions, “Where have you come from, and where are you going? “
Why do you think God would ask her questions? Why would a God who already knows the answers bother with asking questions? It’s something to think about! Looking back in Genesis when Adam and Eve are hiding after eating from of the tree of knowledge, we see God asking Adam “where are you?” In the gospel of John, the first words spoken by Jesus are “what are you seeking?” Maybe, just maybe, the Lord asks questions to get us to talk to Him? To articulate for ourselves the issues and problems that are keeping us in bondage?
Two questions God is forever asking:
Where have you come from?
Where are you going?
In between both of these, is the “Now” moment, where we can think, learn, pray and listen to where God wants us to go!
God told Hagar to go back to her mistress, Sarai, not to punish Hagar but because there, in the midst of the mess, He would bring her the blessing through a promise to greatly multiply her descendants. After an encounter with the living God, we may also go back to our same location and circumstance, but that does not mean we are in the same “place”! The same old location should not be confused with going back to the same place – fresh grace changes the place!
Hagar named the Lord who spoke to her as “the God who sees me” and she named the place that she was in “Here I have seen the one who sees me”! I pray that you will also come face to face with the Lord Jesus and have an authentic, meaningful, and joyful encounter with the “God who sees me” and that this event breaks down any walls of shame, sin and bondage. After such an encounter, it is true that we return back to lives full of children, laundry, jobs, bills and to-do lists. However, it’s our prayer that each and every one of you won’t leave the same because you have been seen. That you will know that you are seen by the God who sees!
Jesus can redeem every single thing that we have come from and bring blessings for your future, the blessings of His comforting Holy Spirit and presence in your life!