God turns “what if” into “so what”: Hagar, every woman, (part 4)


God loves Hagar and Ishmael and He has a plan for them, just as He has a plan for each of our lives.

Hagar and Ishmael are freed at Sarai’s instigation (Gen 21:9–14). Here too their destiny is parallel to later Israel’s, for the newly freed slaves head to the desert and struggle with thirst. God then saves the dying Ishmael, not because of Hagar’s cries or God’s promises to Abram, but because God heard Ishmael’s voice (Gen 21:15–21). God’s relationship with Hagar is resealed with her son, as God’s relationship with Abram is resealed with Isaac and his son Jacob. (Tikva Frymer-Kensky)

Abraham sent Hagar and Ishmael away after Isaac was weaned (around age 2-3, making Ishmael approximately 16), according to God’s command. At that time, God repeated His promise that Ishmael would father a great nation. Hagar was in the desert and near death when the angel of God called to her, saying, “What troubles you, Hagar? Fear not, for God has heard the voice of the boy where he is. Up! Lift up the boy, and hold him fast with your hand, for I will make him into a great nation” (Genesis 21:17-18).

Like Jacob, Ishmael has twelve sons. Hagar is the ancestor of these twelve tribes of Ishmael (Gen 25:12–15). She may also be the ancestor of the Hagrites, tent dwellers mentioned along with Ishmaelites in Ps 83:7 (see also 1 Chr 5:10; 27:30). (Tikva Frymer-Kensky)

Hagar was a princess, a slave, and a symbol of women who persevere through extraordinary trials and tribulations. Ishmael was born of an illegitimate union, abandoned by his father and sent into the desert, and became a leader in spite of what some would say were shortcomings. Hagar and Ishmael lived above their circumstances, all because God had a plan and Grace showed up.

The sun comes up, it’s a new day dawning
It’s time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes. -Lyrics from 10,000 Reasons by Matt Redman

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