Anglican Morning Devotion for 15 May 2021 Anno Domini
A ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“And the angel of the LORD found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness, by the fountain in the way to Shur. 8And 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. 9And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself under her hands. 10And the angel of the LORD said unto her, I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude. 11And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the LORD hath heard thy affliction. * 12And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren. 13And she called the name of the LORD that spake unto her, Thou God seest me: for she said, Have I also here looked after him that seeth me?”
(Genesis 16: 7-13; all scripture quoted is from the King James Verison)
The story of the maiden, Hagar, is a tragic tale of distrust and abuse. It is the result of a failure of faith on the part of Sarah (Sarai), and the compromise of our ancient father in the faith, Abraham. Sarah, having lost faith in the promise of God to bless her in child-bearing, gave her servant, Hagar, to Abraham (Abram) for the purpose of bearing a child. From this ungodly union came the evils of Islam which trouble the whole world today – Ishmael being the father of the Arabic nations.
When man stops trusting God and turns to his own ways, there will always be a price to pay, and frequently that price is shared by the innocent (in this case, Hagar). Hagar was ill-treated by her mistress for the very thing devised by that mistress. She had no fault in the matter.
Lonely and separated from the love of family back in Egypt, Hagar desponded of her unhappy circumstances. Sarah was harsh and unkind to Hagar – all resulting from a jealousy of her own creation.
Hagar escaped from Sarah and fled into a desert place to a fountain of water in the plains of Shur. But no matter the desolation of the place, or solitude of the soul, the suffering soul is not hidden from the All-Seeing Eye of God. In fact, the believer is never alone no matter the venue. Jonah thought to escape God by fleeing to Tarshish, but the Lord found him in the hull of the ship in the middle of the sea, and dealt with him there.
Hagar believed that she had not only escaped her unsympathetic mistress, but the God of Abraham as well. Twice God would find Hagar at a fountain of water in a wilderness. The last time, Hagar had been sent away by Abraham with only a jug of water and some bread. She was found by the Lord while weeping bitterly over her son, Ishmael, who was dying for lack of water. The Lord had heard the voice of Ishmael and answered. Her tears blinded her that last time in seeing the fountain of water. Wherever God finds us there is always present a Fountain of Living Waters. “And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread, and a bottle of water, and gave it unto Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and the child, and sent her away: and she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beer-sheba. 15And the water was spent in the bottle, and she cast the child under one of the shrubs. 16And she went, and sat her down over against him a good way off, as it were a bowshot: for she said, Let me not see the death of the child. And she sat over against him, and lift up her voice, and wept. 17And God heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said unto her, What aileth thee, Hagar? fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is. 18Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in thine hand; for I will make him a great nation. 19And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the bottle with water, and gave the lad drink..” (Genesis 21:14-19) God opened Hagar’s eyes and she saw the fountain. It was always there, but we are often blinded to the very answer to prayer that God places right before us. Our tears of hurt blind us to God’s perfect answer for our sorrow.
The best place to hear the voice of the Lord is in a desert place, or a mountain vastness. The mountains were our Lord’s favorite resort for prayer. When ascending the mountain, the world falls away more and more until we reach the peak, and then there are no worldly distractions surrounding us – nothing to see but Heaven, and no voice to be heard but that of the Maker of the Mountain. Prayer is that which sustains our souls through every challenge and every hurt.
Hagar learned that lesson through a time of anguish at Beer-lahai-roi (Thou God that seest me)! You can do so as well.