So much in the reading for today! We all could spend pages on the entire Abram, Sarai, Hagar saga. It reads like a soap opera. But I will limit my thoughts today:
1. God’s encounter with Hagar in the desert is one of the most tender and intimate in all of Scripture. Hagar was a young abused, marginalized, pregnant woman with no options. Both she and her baby were facing death in the desert when God intervened. “He is the God who sees me,” Hagar said, because He met her in her most desperate need. He continues to be “the God who sees me” to women (and men) who find themselves in desperate situations.
2. There was a 13 year lull in the conversation between Abram and God. Once Abram stepped out of God’s plan and tried his own hand at fulfilling the covenant on his own terms, God was silent for 13 years (Gen 16:16 and 17:1). I think this is why, 13 years later, when God spoke again, Abram fell facedown. Most of us know how difficult it is when our intimate human relationships gets rocky. It is even worse when we are separated from our heavenly father because of our own stupidity. Still, God reappeared to Abram with “a new plan.” He is the God of second chances and by His grace, He even redeems our mistakes.
3. After reading the story in Genesis, I was touched by the words of Psalm 7:17. Perhaps, if they’d been written then, both Abram and Hagar would have sung these words after their encounters with God, “I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness and will sing praise to the name of the Lord most High.”