This Sunday, Daniel will be preaching on Muslims and Islam while he looks at Genesis 21. It's titled: "Two Children, Two Nations, One Savior".
A few people at Fourth are seeking to begin sharing thoughts and writings inspired by the upcoming sermon passages. In anticipation of looking at that this week's passage Lynda Lindsey was inspired to write a devotion we'd like to share.
Soap Opera Saga
Sunday, March 13, 2016
Genesis 16; 21:1-21
Hagar, speaking to the Lord: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.” Genesis 16:13
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. Genesis 21:19
Move over General Hospital and Days of Our Lives! Today’s Soap Opera Saga boasts much more drama! Abraham and Sarah are old, childless, past the point of childbearing; Sarah is barren. Yet God promised them a son and heir. Many years later Sarah, blaming God for her childlessness, gives her servant Hagar to Abraham, who neither resists or remonstrates. Hagar conceives and acts uppity, probably gloating about her pregnancy to barren Sarah. Sarah, blaming Abraham, mistreats Hagar and Hagar flees. But unlike soaps where people continue to sink in mire, God shows up on the set!
God finds Hagar and promises to care for her and her son, whom she is to name Ishmael, meaning God hears. Hagar has seen, and encountered, the living God who both hears and sees us! Hagar returns submissively to Sarah as God instructed. Once Sarah conceives and bears Isaac, she demands Abraham send Hagar and Ishmael away. So Ishmael and Hagar are sent into the desert. Hagar stands apart from Ishmael, sobbing, not able to watch him die. Again God seeks her out, comforts and instructs her, and opens her eyes to a well of water for sustenance.
This story includes lapses of faith and trials we find ourselves in that are not of our own making. But this story is so much more! This story is about God. A faithful and loving God who finds us where we are and invites us into a conversation. He sees, hears our misery and cries, and graciously shows up. He faithfully provides for us. He honors His promises. He instructs us through His Living Word. He is our Living Water in the desert. He cares for us just as He cared for Ishmael even though Ishmael wasn’t the promised heir. God calls out to us; asks us to tell Him what is the matter. God tells us we need not fear. God opens our eyes to the means of salvation. The great I AM is with us, will never leave or forsake us, and gives us the Holy Spirit to comfort us. Open your eyes and see…the wellspring of water is at hand!