Hagar and Ishmael
So Hagar returned to Sarah and Abraham. There she gave birth to Ishmael.
About fourteen years later, the Lord fulfilled his promise to give Sarah a child. Isaac was born when Abraham was 100 years old. By the time Isaac was weaned (at age 2 or 3), Sarah was afraid that Ishmael would compete for Isaac's inheritance. She complained to Abraham, so Hagar and Ishmael were given some food and water and sent away. Again, Hagar wandered in the desert. Soon the food and water ran out and she and her son could go no further. Hagar put Ishmael under a bush and sat a distance away, not wanting to witness her son's death. God heard their sobbing. He called to Hagar from heaven and told her to get up and to take her son by the hand. Then he opened her eyes enabling her to see a well of water. God had been with her as she wandered in the desert. Hagar was a strong woman by this time and made a home there in the desert. She got a wife for Ishmael from Egypt and he had twelve sons who lived in hostility toward their brothers, fulfilling the prophecy.
In the midst of the great story of Abraham and Sarah, it is easy to overlook the story of Hagar, but to do so is to overlook one of 'the least of these.' In Matthew 25, Jesus teaches that to neglect the poor and insignificant people is the same as neglecting Him. Consider Hagar's life. She was a servant taken from her home in Egypt to live in Canaan. She was used to produce a child for Sarah. When her mistress was displeased with her, she was abused so much that she ran away with no where to go. After returning, she had about fifteen years before she and her son were sent away for fear that Ishmael was a threat. Hagar never knew the love and protection of a husband or enjoyed the rights of a wife. She was considered insignificant by Abraham and Sarah. However, she was among the few in the Old Testament who had the rare privilege of a personal visit from the Almighty God. He saw her distress and loved her. Our God is a loving God who cares for those that no one else cares about and Who sees those insignificant people who are so easily overlooked.
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