The story of Hagar and Ishmael: What I learnt from the two vagabonds

Most of the time, in an African setup, people get to know the number of children a man had when he joins the whisperers. That is the time when you are likely to see grown men and occasionally women pop up like mushrooms and lay a claim to the estate of the deceased. I think it is hard for such children to be accepted into the family whether the father is alive or dead. And this is the circumstances Hagar and Ishmael found themselves in. They had been rejected and dejection had set in. Dejection constantly shadows rejection.

“When the water in the skin was gone, she put the boy under one of the bushes. Then she went off and sat down about a bowshot away, for she thought, ‘I cannot watch the boy die.’ And as she sat there, she began to sob.

God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, ‘What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there. Lift the boy up and take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation.’

Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water. So she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink.”

Genesis 21:15-19

Hagar and her son were sent packing by Abraham upon the demand of his wife, Sarah. It might have been difficult for Abraham to accept this twist of events but God was in it. Sometimes it is hard to release that which is not part of the Promise. The emotional attachments and the connection of the flesh and blood create such a robust bond that even the Father of Faith found it troublesome to bust were it not for God’s intrusion. God has a way of interfering with the transactions of the sons and daughters of promise with the intentions of making sure things don’t go astray. Can you remember a time when God interrupted you?

We are called to abandon the carnal ways and embrace the Promise way as crafted at the Cross of Calvary.

Back to Hagar and Ishmael. Hagar and her son find themselves in the wilderness. It is the same desert of abandonment that Gentiles trod before adoption into the Family of God. It is actually a type of lostness.

The water that was provided by Abraham is exhausted and thus the duo is exhausted. Rest assured that a time is coming when that which you see and fancy will not be there anymore. Work when is daytime for a night is coming when no one can work.

Without water Hagar and the son will definitely dehydrate kingdom come. We did not, and do not have hope until we get the Provision of God. It must be a painful experience to watch your child dehydrate to death. It is quite harrowing to imagine it. It must be extremely hurting to watch your dreams and future go into smoke.

The cry of the baby draws God’s attention. God loves babies and He would that they live and not die. Children can be heard, and are always heard by God. A prayer said by a child is no different from a prayer said by an adult. Interestingly God does not come through because of Hagar’s sobs but Ishmael’s cry. The tenderness of Father God is on display.

Hagar’s predicament is similar to ours. There are times when we ran out of solutions. Our devices and tricks occasionally hit a snag. The only thing we know best is to move away from the source of our concern and find a place to sit and sob – escapism.

The angel of the Lord encourages Hagar and delivers God’s promise to her. Then God opens the eyes of Hagar so that she can see the well of water. Without the Living Water, we become dry, dehydrated and eventually spiritually dead. There is no way we can segregate ourselves from the Living Water and last. There are deserts in life and they present a hostile and harsh environment. Our survival depends upon crying unto God, listening to His instructions and obeying them. He is the one who opens our eyes out of His mercy.

Hagar’s eyes were spiritually blind. Spiritual blindness is worse than physical blindness. Spiritual blindness produces death. It is sad to be led by a spiritually blind leader. However, God, who is full of Grace and Mercy can still come through even when everything seems amiss and messy.

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