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Genesis 16:7-9

The Rebellion

7 And the angel of the LORD found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness, by the fountain in the way to Shur. 8 And he said, Hagar, Sarai's maid, whence camest thou? and whither wilt thou go? And she said, I flee from the face of my mistress Sarai. 9 And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself under her hands."


A recent news story gives the account of a man who became ill while hiding out from the police. He is now suing the police for damages, claiming that, if they had done their job and caught him sooner, he would not have become ill. For years, the court system in the United States has been laboring under a severe backlog, not with criminal cases but with civil cases. Many of the cases border on the absurd. It seems everyone is suing to protect his or her rights from everyone else, and everyday someone dreams up a new right that needs to be protected.

Hagar, like the criminal that became ill, was at least partly responsible for her problems. She had allowed her pride to overcome her common sense. Hagar had despised her mistress, Sarai, and caused Sarai to treat her so harshly as to make her life unbearable. Now she was standing up for her rights and found herself to be worse off than before.

Hagar had fled from her mistress' house and was in the desert of Shur. She was homeless, penniless, pregnant and unmarried (which made her an outcast from society), without family, and she had no idea how to help herself. The only bright note in her life was that, although she was in the desert, she had water.

It should be remembered that we are all sinners. Every one of us has fallen short of God's glory, and the only right that we have is the right to be cast into hell. The wages of sin is death. Whatever situation we find ourselves in is the product of God's will and plan for our lives. No, God does not originate any evil that might cause us harm, but His permissive will allows it to exist and He uses it for our good.

Hagar rebelled against Sarai, and that was a mistake. As Samuel said to Saul, "… rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry." (1 Samuel 15:23) In Romans 13, we are told to submit to all authority that is placed over us, because all authority comes from God. This does not mean that we must obey that authority when it would force us to go against the will of God, but, if we disobey for even so noble a reason, we should be willing to submit to authority and take our due punishment.

"Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called. Art thou called being a servant? care not for it: but if thou mayest be made free, use it rather. For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord's freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ's servant. Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men. Brethren, let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God." (1 Corinthians 7:20-24) When we remain in submission to the authority under whose control God has placed us, we serve God. God is the highest authority; He has raised up the kings, governments and even the slave masters who rule over us; and it is He in whom we place our trust. Rebellion against that authority serves only the leaders of that rebellion, who sometimes happen to be us. However, freedom is to be desired and obtained when it can be done lawfully.

So, the angel of the Lord asked Hagar, "Hagar, Sarai's maid, whence camest thou? and whither wilt thou go?" He first reminded her that she was still a servant. In God's eyes her position had not changed simply because she had run. He also asked the rhetorical question, "Where have you come from?" This was a reminder that she had fled from the household where God was worshipped. She had fled from the place where God's presence was known and from the family whom He had blessed above all the other families of the earth.

The last part of the angel's question, "Where will you go?" demonstrated to her that her life was now without purpose. She had no plan, no future, and no hope. She was outside of God's will, but He had not forsaken her. God had a plan for her. However, Hagar had to first be obedient. She had to return to Sarai, humble herself before her, and submit to her authority while trusting in God.

Very often we find ourselves in rebellion against what we think is unfairly used authority. The story of Hagar should give us pause for thought before we act rashly. Does God have me where I am for a reason? Does my rebellion serve His purpose or mine? Do I trust Him enough to remain in submission to others in spite of their offenses toward me?

Do not feel hopeless in any situation. God has a plan for you!

Before The Throne:

Who is misusing their authority over you? Pray for them. Ask God to show you what He wants you to do in the situation you are in. How will you be a witness for Christ if you remain there? On the other hand, you might be the one misusing authority. Pray about that, because the scriptures are clearly against anyone who uses his God-given authority to harm another. Pray for God's guidance in everything that you do. Thank Him that, even under the servitude of a slave master, you are still God's freeman in Christ Jesus.

For Further Study:

(v.7)
** found. Pr 15:3; ** the fountain. Gen 25:18; Ex 15:22; 1Sa 15:7;

(v.8 )
** Sarai's maid. Eph 6:5-8; 1Ti 6:1,2; ** whence. Gen 3:9; 4:10; Ec 10:4; Jer 2:17,18; ** I flee. 1Sa 26:19;

(v.9) ** submit. Ec 10:4; Eph 5:21; 6:5,6; Tit 2:9; 1Pe 2:18-25; 5:5,6;

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