Read: Genesis 21
“8 The child grew and was weaned, and on the day Isaac was weaned Abraham held a great feast. 9 But Sarah saw that the son whom Hagar the Egyptian had borne to Abraham was mocking, 10 and she said to Abraham, “Get rid of that slave woman and her son, for that woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with my son Isaac.”
11 The matter distressed Abraham greatly because it concerned his son. 12 But God said to him, “Do not be so distressed about the boy and your slave woman. Listen to whatever Sarah tells you, because it is through Isaac that your offspring[b] will be reckoned. 13 I will make the son of the slave into a nation also, because he is your offspring.”
14 Early the next morning Abraham took some food and a skin of water and gave them to Hagar. He set them on her shoulders and then sent her off with the boy. She went on her way and wandered in the Desert of Beersheba.
15 When the water in the skin was gone, she put the boy under one of the bushes. 16 Then she went off and sat down about a bowshot away, for she thought, “I cannot watch the boy die.” And as she sat there, she[c] began to sob.
17 God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there. 18 Lift the boy up and take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation.”
19 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.
20 God was with the boy as he grew up. He lived in the desert and became an archer. 21 While he was living in the Desert of Paran, his mother got a wife for him from Egypt.”
Reflect: It seems Sarah wasn’t content with her son just being born. I’m sure that Ishmael was a handful in his teen years, but this was the child Sarah had asked Abraham to have on her behalf. She doesn’t seem to have warmed up to him nor accepted him as family. She casts Hagar and Ishmael out into the wilderness. Hagar has been there before, and the “God who sees” her is again present.
I think it’s interesting that Ishmael grew up the desert. He grew up in the wilderness and Hagar got him an Egyptian wife. The God who was with Ishmael. Protected him a he grew wasn’t necessarily the center. An Egyptian wife would have many gods to worship and would not necessarily draw Ishmael to his father’s beliefs. For me it’s symbolic that Ishmael grew up in the desert. He was aware of the presence of God, but maybe didn’t focus on Him.
Record: Was Sarah justified in her desire to have Hagar and Ishmael removed?
Why do you think God allowed this?
What do you think about Ishmael growing up in the desert?
Review: Hagar had two recorded encounters with God and both times he comforts her and protects her. God provides water and shelter for Ishmael and then keeps them safe as Ishmael grows.
I found in my wilderness season God continued to provide for my whole family’s needs even as I focused my central thoughts inward. Similarly to Hagar, when God answered my prayers I felt seen. In my wilderness I forgot that I was seen all the time.