Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Week Four - Spurned

Beside the Well

Two women in the same house usually breed trouble, especially when lines get crossed and one feels they have the upper hand.  In Hagar’s case, once she realized she was carrying the baby Sarai and Abram could not conceive, pride took root in her heart and she began scorning Sarai’s barrenness. 
               There you have it—pride. Though there must have been a measure of friendship between the two before the conception of Ishmael, pride broke the relationship between Hagar and Sarai.  And, it was also pride that brought Sarai to deal harshly with her trusted Egyptian maid.
               Finally, Hagar could take it no more, so she ran away.
               Hard as this was, I think the instruction from the angel was even more difficult.  “Go back and submit yourself to Sarai.”  Oh, the humiliation!  The fear of Sarai’s response.  The vulnerability of placing yourself back under the pressure and stress of living where you are not wanted. Hagar went back, humbled herself, and gave birth, but that is not the end of her story. 
               Her new baby son, Ishmael, was not to be the true heir.  Though the Lord’s promise had encouraged her earlier, it was inevitable that once Isaac was born, she would face rejection again.  And it came.  When Sarah saw Ishmael mocking (probably laughing at two elderly people with a new baby), she cast out both the mother and her teenage son.
               As Hagar sat by the bush in the wilderness, she knew the deep cutting feeling of being spurned by Sarah.  She had been booted out, thrust away and rejected, and not only her, but her beloved son as well.
               I can only imagine her feelings of utter helplessness.  She was still only a slave, not a wife.  Her son was not going to be the heir, though he was the first-born.  She had no power or position and could do nothing more than weep in abandonment.
               Spurned is a word we rarely use any more, but it is something we still experience.  To spurn means to snub or reject.  It has the idea of thrusting something away with the foot—to boot out.  And that is what happened to Hagar—she was booted out!
            Helpless situations are soul-destroying.  When you lose a job or experience divorce, it knocks your confidence and hope.  It’s like seeing your life wiped from the board.  You must write the whole thing over again—rebuild.             
               My heart goes out to Hagar. Her story is not one of happiness, but her story doesn’t end there. God was with Hagar; the first time with promise and instruction, and the second time with comfort and provision.
               I find that even in the darkest times of life there is hope and promise.  When I feel scorned, I need not look back, but look up and look forward.  I choose to see it as a closed door.  As I sit by the bush in abandonment, I am reminded God does have a plan.  I will see things differently after the tears.
               Hagar adjusted her eyes and moved on.  So can we.

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