Encouragement & Hope Fear of Failure

Responding to Life’s Difficulties

A few weeks ago I introduced the name of God as El Roi, the One who Sees.  I blogged about it here.  This name of God is revealed to Hagar, Sarai’s sevent in Genesis 16.  You can read the full story here.  But here’s the short of what happened.

God promises Abram (later known as Abraham) that he will be the father of a great nation and his decendents will be too numerous to count.  The only problem is he is quickly approaching 100 years old and has no children.  In chapter 16 we meet up with Sarai as she is devising a plan to help God fulfil His promise.  {Please note this is NEVER a good idea. God is fully capable of fulfilling His promises without the help of you and me.}

Anyway, Sarai’s plan to be a mom is for Abram to sleep with Sarai’s maidservant Hagar.  {This is not rated PG, sorry.}  So he does, and Hagar becomes pregnant.  At this point everything begins to fall apart.  Sarai ends up mad.  Hagar becomes bitter towards Sarai. Abram doesn’t know what to do, so he tells Sarai that she can do whatever she wants to Hagar.  So Sarai mistreats Hagar, and Hagar runs away! 

Hagar running away seems very reasonable to me.  She has been taken advantage of.  She had to sleep with a man she did not choose.  Then the woman who ordered her to do so mistreated her because of her obedience.  She pregnant so her hormones are raging.  She has to be exhausted.  She just wanted to quit.  So she runs away. And that’s when she meets an angel of the Lord.

When Hagar tells the angel what she is doing the angel responds with this instruction in verse 9:

  “Return to your mistress, and submit yourself 1to her authority.”

1 Lit under her hands
New American Standard Bible : 1995 Update. LaHabra, CA : The Lockman Foundation, 1995, S. Ge 16:9
The Holman Christian Standard Bible says “submit to her mistreatment.” 
If you’re like me, you don’t really like this verse.  You want God to smite Sarai for her actions.  You want God to take revenge right at this moment and side with Hagar and make her name great!  To promote her!  To save her!  To do anything EXCEPT send her back into this crazy relationship and submit. 
But God is God.  He told her what to do and Hagar obeyed. Her response is found in verse 13.
13     Then she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, “You are a God who sees”; for she said, “Have I even remained alive here after seeing Him?”

New American Standard Bible : 1995 Update. LaHabra, CA : The Lockman Foundation, 1995, S. Ge 16:13
As we discussed this story last night in my small group, it hit me again, that my job is not to defend my name, but rather promote the name of my God by being obedient to HIM!!
Hagar didn’t have many choices in this story, but the one choice she did have was her attitude.  That is a choice you and I always have.  We may not be able to control how people treat us, but we can always control how we respond.  In the very next chapter God reminds us of who He is and how we should respond.  I’ll leave you with the opening verse of chapter 17.

1     Now when Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him,
“I am God Almighty;
Walk before Me, and be blameless.
New American Standard Bible : 1995 Update. LaHabra, CA : The Lockman Foundation, 1995, S. Ge 17:1
What situation are you in currently where you need to walk before the Lord and be blameless rather than take revenge and be bitter?


I've been a follower of Jesus for over 30 years, and have been teaching God's Word to students and women for nearly 20 years! God has brought me through some difficult chapters in my own life, and now my passion is equipping women like you with tools to embrace your own unexpected chapters in life with grace and truth.

3 comments on “Responding to Life’s Difficulties

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