Daily Devotional

Hagar: Your Servant is in Your Hands

by Simon Whitton

5 Then Sarai said to Abram, "You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering.  I put my servant in your arms, and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me.  May the LORD judge between you and me."
6 "Your servant is in your hands," Abram said.  "Do with her whatever you think best." Then Sarai mistreated Hagar; so she fled from her.
7 The angel of the LORD found Hagar near a spring in the desert; it was the spring that is beside the road to Shur.
8 And he said, "Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from, and where are you going?" "I'm running away from my mistress Sarai," she answered.
9 Then the angel of the LORD told her, "Go back to your mistress and submit to her."
10 The angel added, "I will so increase your descendants that they will be too numerous to count."
11 The angel of the LORD also said to her: "You are now with child and you will have a son.  You shall name him Ishmael, for the LORD has heard of your misery.

Genesis 16:5-11 (NIV)

Hagar was not the most righteous or noble of biblical characters, nor a great person of faith.  She was a servant, an Egyptian, a surrogate mother, being used by Abraham in his attempt to have an heir.  Once pregnant, Hagar made the mistake of despising her mistress Sarai.  Sarai's response was to abuse Hagar until she could take it no longer; so Hagar fled into the desert.

Surely the Lord could have intervened many times as He saw Hagar's misery, and how she was mistreated, but He didn't.  The Lord allows us to suffer because it works things of lasting value into us that nothing else can.  God uses many tools to shape us according to His eternal design, but none is more effective than suffering.

The Lord was watching Hagar's misery, and saw that she had reached the end of what she thought she could take.  But the Angel of the Lord instructed Hagar to return to her suffering, to submit to it, because eventually it would result in great blessings too numerous to count.

Although Hagar thought she couldn't take any more misery, the Lord told her she could.  His words of encouragement were perfectly timed, not too soon to spoil the work of perseverance, and not too late for hope to be rekindled.  She realized she wasn't alone in her suffering, that God saw her misery and that there was a purpose to it.

She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her:
"You are the God who sees me," for she said, "I have now seen the One who sees me."

Genesis 16:13 (NIV)

It could be that Hagar had heard the words that Abraham had spoken to his wife Sarai:  "Your servant is in your hands; do with her whatever you think best." These words could have caused Hagar much distress.  But once she had seen the Lord, she realized that she wasn't in Sarai's hands, she was in the God's hands. Now it was Hagar who could say to the Lord, "Your servant is in your hands; do with her whatever you think best."

Spend some time in prayer, and thank God that He has plans for your life, that He has a purpose in your suffering and perseverance.  Thank Him, that although other people may think they have control over you, it is the Lord who has ultimate control over your life.  Declare you are His servant and put yourself in His hands.  Ask the Lord to do with you whatever He thinks is best.

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