<<an Egyptian female servant of Sarah>>

Hagar’s story is told in Genesis 16:1-21:21, and mentioned in Galatians 4:24,25. She was born about 2100 BC.

When the promised son hadn’t been born, the childless Sarah urged her husband Abraham to have a son by her handmaid (slave) Hagar.  Although an accepted custom of the day, it was not God’s will the promised son be born this way. When Ishmael was born to Hagar God said, “He will be a wild man, he will live in hostility towards all his brothers” (Gen 16:12). Ishmael’s descendants formed the Arab nations and there has been continual discord between them and the descendants of Isaac (Jews) ever since. We should pray and actively seek the salvation of the Arab Muslims (whose religion is Islam). Some 14 years after Ishmael’s birth, the promised heir (Isaac) was born to both Abraham and Sarah.  Soon conflict arose.  Hagar and Ishmael were sent away, but God continued to look after them (Gen 21:1-21).

Lessons from her life: * She was a victim of circumstance.  It was not her choice to become pregnant to her master and then be sent away.  As she was wandering aimlessly in the desert God opened her eyes to His provision (Gen 21:10,14-19).  Although this event was ‘not of God’ she had not been abandoned by Him. God responds to us when we call in desperation to Him regardless of the situation we find ourselves in, whether of our own making or imposed by others (Jer 29:13).

* When Hagar was pregnant and Ishmael was born she was proud and arrogant towards Sarah who could not conceive (Gen 16:4,5).  We should not flaunt our blessings, despising those who fail to reach our standards, or those disadvantaged and unable to achieve what we can, even if we put in the effort and practice to attain to the level we have.  

* “Get rid of the slave woman and her son” is a spiritual principle, which is further developed in the NT (Gen 21:10; Gal 4:21-31). This refers to anything in our lives that is not right and preventing us from coming into our designated position in Christ. The flesh will prevent us from coming into our God-ordained position and calling. There is no room for compromise.  What do I need to deal with in my life?

See also: Abraham, consequences, Isaac, Ishmael, Islam, Sarah.