Hagar and Ishmael Sent Away
8 The child grew and was weaned, and on the day Isaac was weaned Abraham held a great feast. 9 But Sarah saw that the son whom Hagar the Egyptian had borne to Abraham was mocking, 10 and she said to Abraham, “Get rid of that slave woman and her son, for that woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with my son Isaac.”
11 The matter distressed Abraham greatly because it concerned his son. 12 But God said to him, “Do not be so distressed about the boy and your slave woman. Listen to whatever Sarah tells you, because it is through Isaac that your offspring[b] will be reckoned. 13 I will make the son of the slave into a nation also, because he is your offspring.”
14 Early the next morning Abraham took some food and a skin of water and gave them to Hagar. He set them on her shoulders and then sent her off with the boy. She went on her way and wandered in the Desert of Beersheba.
15 When the water in the skin was gone, she put the boy under one of the bushes. 16 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[c] began to sob.
17 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. 18 Lift the boy up and take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation.”
19 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.
20 God was with the boy as he grew up. He lived in the desert and became an archer. 21 While he was living in the Desert of Paran, his mother got a wife for him from Egypt.
My Bible study this week is about God’s kindness and goodness. I think that those can be easy words and concepts for us to gloss over because we don’t always fully fathom them. Kindness without goodness is overindulgent, and goodness without kindness is self-righteous. God is both simultaneously and His Holy Spirit enable us to be as well.
In my life, God’s goodness and kindness has taken a few forms that I can think of. One, He provides for needs that I do not even know that I have. Two, He provides more and better than I wanted for myself. Three, He pinpoints my deepest and most immediate need in the midst of total devastation and hopelessness.
This passage took my breath away in the form of God providing for what I am most concerned with at the moment, and I was so awed, I just wanted to fall at His feet and myself call Him the God who sees me, like Hagar in Genesis chapter 16. I’ll preface this by saying that sometimes people seem to take Scripture and turn it into an out of context specific promise that they hang their life upon. And I hope I am not doing this, but I felt God so tenderly speaking to me as I closed my Bible. In brief, Hagar had (under God’s direction; again in chapter 16) undergone rather significantly hard circumstances only to finally be turned out of her home and facing both her and her son’s imminent death. No home. No husband. No father. No friends. No money. No support. No water. First God provided the water to meet their physical needs, but then He just stepped in and provided a promise for the future. As many times as the Bible records God telling His people to care for the widows and orphans, He examples this first Himself. Verse 20 says that God was with the boy as he grew up.
As a mom with no promise of a father in the lives of my girls, I felt my heart tremble when I saw God step in as the Father to the fatherless. The God who sees…her. Me. You. He provided, in goodness and kindness.
Then it struck me. It never before occurred to me that Jesus and Mary kind of fit this category as well. For at least what seems like maybe even half of Jesus’ life, there is no mention of Joseph and Jesus was fatherless on earth for some pretty significant years, and Mary raised the younger children without the presence of a husband, too. I know that Jesus was probably considered a man and full grown at 13, but in some ways, Mary was single moming it and Jesus was a kid without a dad. God loved them, and provided what they needed in the form of a loving Father. If I keep pointing my girls to their heavenly Father, they will be equipped for their days on this Earth. He is good, and He is kind, and I cannot thank Him enough for providing.