Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Genesis 16:7-8

Today we are at one of the most precious scenes in the Old Testament:

The angel of the LORD found Hagar near a spring in the desert; it was the spring that is beside the road to Shur. And he said, “Hagar, slave of Sarai, where have you come from, and where are you going?”
“I’m running away from my mistress Sarai,” she answered.

Let’s deal with the first issue: who is the “angel of the LORD?” Well, both Jon Courson and Beth Moore give reasons why we can assume this is God Himself, but I love that they aren’t dogmatic - and Beth, in her study, asks the reader to look for evidence from scripture that could confirm or deny that. So, I just looked down to verse 10 where the angel makes a promise to Hagar:

“I will increase your descendants so much that they will be too numerous to count.”

In my mind the pronoun, “I,” is a pretty clear indication that the angel is, indeed, the LORD. At any rate, this visitation is incredibly meaningful. Note, that Hagar was NOT seeking God - in fact, she was in the middle of running away from the “family of faith.” No, she was not looking for God, but He was looking for her! Here she is, in her lowest moment, pregnant and without any idea of what she should do, and how like our precious LORD to come to this defeated woman, whom He calls by name. Just like the encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4), and the woman caught in adultery (John 8), the LORD shows His special love for the “least of these,” those who are weak and hurting. As Courson says, “After all, Jesus is the Good Shepherd who left the ninety-nine to find the single sheep who had gone astray...He goes after the one. He goes after Hagar. He goes after you.

And how like Him to ask her a question when He already knows the answer. He did not need to know where she had come from and where she was going, but He wanted her to think about it. Beth Moore addresses her reader here, “Dear One, very often God initiates intimacy with us by raising fresh questions. Hard questions. Even questions that have no earthly answers. But the search leads us to heaven’s door. God often causes us to search ourselves, asking us to articulate what we’re feeling and why we’re making some of our present choices.”

So, I’m wondering, what question is He asking you? What is it He wants you to ask of yourself? Are there some attitudes that He seeks to change in your heart? Boy! I know I can use an attitude adjustment! There are so many times in a day when I’d just love to run away and have a good cry or just be free of the constant pulling in a thousand different directions. Life is messy and it is tough. There are many times throughout our lives when we find ourselves isolated in a desert like Hagar, wondering what in the world we will do next. Or maybe not even caring... Then He comes alongside - often through the word of encouragement of another, or just with a quiet whisper of His love, or in a fresh reminder from His Word - and we realize that He still seeks us. This relationship is entirely His doing!

He came to a pagan, runaway slave girl - He will come to you!


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