Then she (Hagar) departed and wandered in the Wilderness of Beersheba. And the water in the skin was used up, and she placed the boy under one of the shrubs. Then she went and sat down across from him at a distance of about a bowshot: for she said to herself, “let me not see the death of the boy.” So she sat opposite him, and lifted her voice and wept. And God heard the voice of the lad. Then the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said to her, “What ails you, Hagar? Fear not, for God has heard the voice of the lad where he is. Arise, lift up the lad and hold him with your hand, for I will make him a great nation.” Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. And she went and filled the skin with water, and gave the lad a drink. Genesis 21: 1-14-19 (NKJV)
Hagar was a bondwoman.
Her entire life was spent serving others. She had no freedom, no rights. In fact, she didn’t even own the rights to her own body; as Sarah commanded her to lay with Abraham and carry his son. She was most likely the daughter of slaves herself, and she probably never knew what true freedom was. As a bondwoman, you would learn very early on as a little girl that you were not to have any dreams of your own. You were not to fantasize about love, riches, a family, your own home, or to pursue your own passions. To do this would be to put yourself in a position to be spiritually and emotionally tortured, because if you were a bondwoman, you were not actually a person, and you had no human rights to pursue your desires. A woman bound to someone else, left little room for hope. So a bondswoman, by trade, learns not to hope, not to dream, and not to desire.
This story of Hagar, breaks my heart. Here is this slave woman, forced to have sex with her owner, left with the burden of pregnancy, and thrown into the wilderness to die. She obediently fulfilled her duties to please her owners, giving birth to Abraham’s son, knowing not to grow attached to her son because he was intended for Abraham’s blessing not hers.
It is such tragic story.
Hagar never knew, in her whole life, what it meant to have a promise fulfilled, or anything of her own. Like all the other dreams and self desires she had, she was forced to give them up – a bondwoman has no right to dream. As she wandered the wilderness, tired and afraid, she would have looked at her son, daring not to grow too attached. She probably said in her heart, ‘don’t hang onto this dream/hope either, it will have to die like all the other things, don’t get attached, walk away so you don’t have to watch him die’
Is your gut wrenched as much as mine is right now?
Hagar placed her son under the shrubs, who was probably already at death’s door, dehydrated and emancipated, young and frail. She hid him under a shrub to protect him from the heat, and wild animals, her last act as a devoted mother. She walked away, because that’s what you do when you are a bondwoman. You don’t dream, you don’t hope, you only serve. Hopeless, she probably kissed her son, prayed over him, as he moaned for his mom not to leave. She probably held her composure and reassured him, she would be back. Then grieved beyond belief as she walked as far away from her son as she could. She was afraid of the pain, she couldn’t bare to watch him die.
With no water, no food, no shelter & no hope, Hagar cried out to God.
I am sure she battled such despairing thoughts. Her mind probably began repeating the same self talk she had listened her whole life.
“You know you could never have him, you’re a bondwoman, you don’t get to have your own hope, you have to let him die, like all the other things in your life you have had to let go of. You don’t deserve to have a son and live happily ever after, you were foolish to think that in the beginning, who do you think you are, a free woman?”
Don’t you see? Then God.
If you are seeing yourself in Hagar’s misery, tired of giving up your dreams and hope for a new life. Self loathing and bathing in the lie that nothing good ever happens to girls like you.
But Then God.
I was Hagar.
I am teary right now, thinking of all the times I embraced a door closing in my face, a door to a dream or a hope I had, only to tell myself “Who do you think you are, hoping for things like these, they don’t happen to girls like you”
Then the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said to her, “What ails you, Hagar? Fear not, for God has heard the voice of the lad where he is. Arise, lift up the lad and hold him with your hand, for I will make him a great nation.” Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. And she went and filled the skin with water, and gave the lad a drink. Genesis 21: 17-19 (NKJV)
God heard the voice of her son, her hope, her dream. God sent an angel to a bondwoman. Why? Why, when God had poured out his promise to Sarah and Abraham who had freedom and abundance and blessing upon them? Why on earth would God listen to this discarded son and his enslaved mother?
Because God, never saw her as a bondwoman, he saw her as a daughter, who had just as much access to His promises and kingdom blessing as Sarah did.
Then God opened her eyes
God opened her eyes to hope (to a well of water) She was filled, and then poured life back to her dream(her son).
God blessed them and Ishmael became a great nation.
I know first hand what it means to be discarded, abandoned as someone else’s trash. Girls like me are not supposed to come out above it all, shameless and hopeful.
But then God… I would not be here today, if God hadn’t breathed life back into my dreams, released me from the mentality of a bondwoman, and encouraged me to take the hand of my children and walk out of cursings and into blessing.
That same hope is for you.
What area of your life have you given up hope? Your marriage, your rebellious child, your ability to conceive a child, your health? Lay these things at God’s feet today, and ask him to Open Your Eyes to fresh hope.
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