Summary of passage: Hagar ran away and the angel of the Lord found her near a spring in the desert. The angel asked Hagar what she was doing. She replied she was running away. The angel told her to go back to Sarai and submit to her and that he would increase her descendants infinitely. He told her she would have a son and she was to call him Ishmael (God hears) for God has heard of her misery. Your son will live in hostility against his brothers.
Hagar tells the angel that he is the God who sees her and she has now seen Him. Hagar returned and had Ishmael. Abram was 86 years old at the time.
5a) For many reasons. Probably because she was forced to bear a child for Abram and Sarai and give the child up. Then she probably had an attitude afterwards either out of anger or superiority towards Sarai over the whole thing so she began to despise Sarai. Sarai in turn mistreated her.
b) This question is speculation in my view. We are not told specifics here. In fact, I tend to think the opposite. I imagine when she returned home and submitted, she was treated better, especially after she told Abram she had just spoken to Jesus! I would hope at least Abram would step up here and realize God has a plan and a heart for Hagar so he should as well.
I believe God stepped in BEFORE her problems increased. I believe had she kept going she would have had problems like I mention in part c. She could have ran out of water in the desert, ran into some thugs, turned away from God, or even died. But God did not allow this.
c) Abram’s blessing on Ishmael who pleaded with God to bless him (Genesis 17:18). As a result, God made Ishmael too into a great nation. Also, God. She might have lost God if He had abandoned her instead of gently guiding her back. She might have fallen in with the unbelievers like Lot did. She could have lost her life as well in the desert. When we flee from God, we pay the ultimate price–death.
6) Jesus for Hagar says “You are the God who sees me” and in Isaiah it was the “angel of his presence”. We know it is not God because we are told no one has ever seen Him (John 1:18; 1 Timothy 6:16) so it makes sense it would be Jesus.
7a) We are called to submit to others out of reverence for Christ for when we do our sanctification is increased (see post HERE where I posted on this last year). For it’s not our circumstances God wants to change. It’s our heart.
b) Personal Question. My response: These kind of questions annoy me, mainly because my answer is “I don’t know.” I believe the goal of studying the Bible is to internalize Truths, God’s word, and Him more and more every day. But the results of this is often so subtle to be unseen (especially by our critical selves!).
It’s insanely hard to self-evaluate because I for one always lean towards the negative. I just always think I can do better. But I know God sees me through His eyes and I’m infinitely better than I am through my eyes.
So my answer: these passages haven’t affected me THIS week. But I don’t feel bad about that. For I am in this world for the long-term, not the short-term. And I know I will be changed. I just can’t see it. But God can.
b) 10 years
c) To “help” God out. We get impatient and do things on our time instead of on God’s time so we do things we shouldn’t which can yield disastrous results as with Ishmael. It can hurt those around us instead of help. It shows God that we don’t trust Him enough to act and it pains His heart.
d) Personal Question. My answer: First, to not do anything immoral. Abram’s actions was borderline immoral I believe. Just because it’s okay in the culture to do something doesn’t mean you should. Just because it was okay to have a substitute wife didn’t mean Abram should have.
Second, to not be so easily influenced by others ideas with a desire to please them. Abram should have exerted his authority here and he didn’t. He allowed Sarai to make the decisions. And we see the results.
Lastly, to not try to circumvent God and help Him out for the last thing God needs is our help. To have the trust and the faith that He will do it. He is the Alpha and the Omega. We are merely an epsilon or a phi.
Fun Fact: This is the first time in the Bible where someone (Ishmael) is given a name by God before birth.
Musings: I am wondering here what the repercussions would have been had Hagar been caught and it had been discovered she was a servant. I’m wondering if she was considered property of Abram like slaves were and if she could have faced death or execution or her hand cut off or some other punishment that we would consider cruel nowadays. Did she even have the freedom to run away?
We are told Hagar is a maidservant so I’m unsure if that would be the equivalent of a slave and property.
But in Genesis 21:10, Sarah calls her a “slave” woman and scholars say when Abraham sent her away he was giving her her freedom and also disavowing her of any claim to his inheritance under Mesopotamian law.
One law of Hammurabi states that if a runaway slave is caught out in the open then the captor is entitled to a reward upon return of the slave. But it appears from my readings that slaves were not treated as harshly as say slaves were in America. They were merely returned. They might have been marked in some way as well.
Fascinating study on Hagar HERE. Some Jews believe Hagar was Pharaoh’s daughter and some Muslims believe she had royal blood as well. For me, all speculation since we are not told. But interesting nevertheless.
P.S. Could you tell I had fun here?
Conclusions: I just want to re-emphasize my point from 7b. Seven days is a short time to have a specific situation arise where you submitted or any other question that asks how you have applied something from the Bible THIS week. Granted, I believe we submit every day. We submit to God’s will and not ours as well as submitting in our human relationships. If you are married, you probably submit in some way every day. Even if it’s as simple as you putting the kids to bed instead of your spouse when all you want to do is go to bed yourself.
I’m gonna make a confession: I usually never answer the Sixth Day’s questions. Why? Because I don’t like them. They always ask what I have learned this week and how did I apply it or how can my group pray. Usually, I just can’t form this into words. I know I have learned but what exactly I’m usually not sure. And how does it apply? Sometimes I don’t know. I just don’t know God’s word in-depth enough to think of concrete examples.
And how can my group pray? Sometimes I don’t even know how to pray!
But like I said, I know I have soaked something into my core, a little more of God, a little more Truth, a little more of Jesus and I know I will apply this throughout my daily life. It’s just specifics I usually can’t give.
I just pray and pray generally, something like God, do your will or God, mold me or God, let these passages sink into my core and change me.
For in my heart I know God’s big enough to take care of the specifics.