Genesis 16:1-6 Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. She had a female Egyptian servant whose name was Hagar.And Sarai said to Abram, “Behold now, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children. Go in to my servant; it may be that I shall obtain children by her.” And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai.So, after Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar the Egyptian, her servant, and gave her to Abram her husband as a wife.And he went in to Hagar, and she conceived. And when she saw that she had conceived, she looked with contempt on her mistress.And Sarai said to Abram, “May the wrong done to me be on you! I gave my servant to your embrace, and when she saw that she had conceived, she looked on me with contempt. May the Lord judge between you and me!”But Abram said to Sarai, “Behold, your servant is in your power; do to her as you please.” Then Sarai dealt harshly with her, and she fled from her.
We meet Hagar as she is running away from her mistress, Sarai (later called Sarah). As the story unfolds on the pages of Genesis we learn that Sarai had grown weary of having no children, she knew God had previously promised that her husband Abram (later, Abraham) would become the Father of many nations, but in her humanness she did not see how this could be when he didn’t even have one son to pass his family lineage. Sarai, gave Hagar (her servant) to Abram, in order that they might make a child to start his family. In doing so, Sarai attempted to take the role of God and do what only He could do. This will make a mess out of our lives every single time. As soon as Hagar was with child, Hagar looked with contempt upon Sarai, more or less Hagar became prideful because she was pregnant, she was given the very blessing Sarai had always held. A baby, when the womb of Sarai remained empty. Hagar, would have the child Sarai “should have” given Abram. Sarai, in further sin, chose to treat Hagar harshly, most likely in some form of abuse.
There is hardship written all over this story. Sometimes, God allows us to walk through things in order that He would show His glory. Often, He takes our mess and makes it beautiful, creating beauty from the ashes we have left. If Sarai had patiently waited on the Lord, this disastrous situation would not have come to be. Sarai’s heart wouldn’t be broken, she would not have taken her anger out on Abram and Hagar would not have been abused. Hagar would not be running away. When sin enters our hearts we do things we shouldn’t. We mess up. Hagar left because she didn’t feel safe, for Hagar there was solace in fleeing.
Genesis 7:7-9 The angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur. And he said, “Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?” She said, “I am fleeing from my mistress Sarai.” The angel of the Lord said to her, “Return to your mistress and submit to her.”
We can almost hear Hagar’s thoughts unraveling in her mind. In our twenty-first century vernacular it might have sounded a little like….come again God? You want me to return to Sarai? What the what? We have to be honest with ourselves, sometimes our thoughts towards God’s plans for our lives are not bright shinning examples of how a Christian woman should think. Sometimes what He asks simply does not make since in our human understanding. Sometimes, His words almost seem to contradict, we don’t understand, until we see more of the picture, know more of the plan.
Genesis 16:13-16 So she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, “You are a God of seeing,” for she said, “Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.” Therefore the well was called Beer-lahai-roi; it lies between Kadesh and Bered. And Hagar bore Abram a son, and Abram called the name of his son, whom Hagar bore, Ishmael. Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore Ishmael to Abram.
This is the first time in recorded Scripture that the name “Beer-lahai-roi” was used for God. The God who sees. An imprengnated slave girl, running away from her masters abuse, meets the God who sees.
Because friend? Here’s the thing, every time we run away, God runs to meet us right where we are. No matter how far we have gone. It is only under the watchful care of the God who sees (El Roi) that we are truly safe.