Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Hagar and Ishmael

This morning I was moved almost to tears by a story in the Bible found in Genesis. Most of us know that Abraham and Sarah had a child when he was 100 years old. Before he had Isaac though he had another son from one of Sarah's maidservants. The maidservants name was Hagar and the son she bore was named Ishmael. Hagar was put through a lot after she gave birth to Ishmael, but when Sarah gave birth to Isaac she told Abraham to get rid of Hagar and Ishmael. The story says they were given some water and sent into the desert. The Bible says that when the water skins ran dry Hagar set the child under a tree and walked off because she could not bear to see her son die. The Bible tells us that she cried and her son cried because they thought they were going to die.

I can imagine how that must have felt having two children of my own. Hagar loved her son so much that she couldn't watch him die. There was Hagar in the middle of the desert after dropping her son off under a tree to die where she collapsed and cried out of exhaustion, thirst, and utter despair. Her son was sitting under the tree alone, scared, thirsty and not understanding why his Mother left him also crying. God heard those cries and He gave Hagar a promise also. He also supplied a well for water and He made his promise come true. He said Ishmael would be made into a great nation.

This story reminds me of the story in the New Testament about Jesus and the woman at the well. God supplies us with a way to never be thirsty again as long as we ask. God hears our heart cries but He doesn't play genie. When our hearts cry out for help He is faithful and will help us. Oftentimes we have to be at the driest point of our situation before we turn to God for help. God doesn't require that this happens, He is ready and willing to help at any point. However, if our heart is not in the right place He will typically wait.

How many times in your life have you felt you were at your lowest point? Have you ever reached a point of depravity so deep that the only thing you could do was cry out to God? Or have you always found a way out of your situation only to find out you're back in another situation. God wants to change our character, not our habits. True character change will be reflected in real behavior change. The Bible says God spoke from heaven to Hagar. Even in our deepest pain God is always there. His love and mercy endures forever. He's waiting for our heart cry so let's cry out to Him and be changed.