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“But Abram said to Sarai, ‘Behold, your maid is in your power; do to her what is good in your sight.’ So Sarai treated her harshly, and she fled from her presence. Now the angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, by the spring on the way to Shur. He said, ‘Hagar, Sarai’s maid, where have you come from and where are you going?’ And she said, ‘I am fleeing from the presence of my mistress Sarai.’ Then the angel of the Lord said to her, ‘Return to your mistress, and submit yourself to her authority.’”—Genesis 16:6-9 (NASB)
Look up any quote about rejection and you’ll see that most fall on the side of inspiration, not pragmatism. They more or less gloss over the fact that rejection hurts. I’d wager all of us have felt the sting of rejection—the isolation, the insignificance, the inadequacy—the feeling that no one cares.
Hagar was hurting. Let’s set aside “cultural norms” for a moment and look at her situation. She had been pulled out of Egypt, taken miles away from her home and family, became a servant, was told to sleep with a man who was not her husband, and became pregnant with his child. Granted, haughtiness about her pregnancy probably wasn’t her best move, but Sarai didn’t hold back any punches either. So, rather than face the harshness of her mistress, Hagar ran away.
Where she ran to is noteworthy and who found her there is touching. Hagar ran to Shur, which means “wall,” and was located between Egypt and Canaan. Perhaps she was running home to her old way of life when she came to a spring of water. The text says, “The angel of the Lord found her.” Many times throughout the Bible the phrase “an angel” or “the angel” of the Lord is used. Theologians propose that when the article “the” is used it is a “Christophany”—an image of Jesus in physical form. Note: God finds her. He appears to an Egyptian woman, who feels rejected, is pregnant, broken, and alone. Wonderfully, God will often leave the 99 to go after the lost one (Matthew 18:12).
Then, He calls her by name and asks her, “Where have you come from and where are you going?” He knew her; He knew everything about her. But God proposed that she take a quick survey of her life and her circumstance. Then, He bids her to return.
Maybe you are in a similar situation—running away or running back to an old way of life and have hit a wall. You might think God doesn’t care about someone like you. But He does. He is 100 percent interested in who you are, where you are, and where you are going. He will find you and lead you to a fountain of refreshment. For God is near the brokenhearted (Psalm 34:18).
So, if this is you, God sees you. He loves you and cares about you. He is pursuing you with a passion that knows no end. Go to Him, or return to Him, and know that He will never reject you.
DIG: What do you think is so touching about God appearing to this Egyptian woman?
DISCOVER: Why would God tell Hagar to return to Sarai and submit to her authority? Consider where she intended to return and remember that Egypt is a picture of the world.
DO: If you are feeling rejected or unworthy (or know someone who feels this way), use Hagar’s story to remind yourself or someone of God’s acceptance through grace and His unfailing love.
Lisa Supp lives in Utah and has served within the CCFL Web and Prayer Ministry since 2011. She also volunteers as an editor on the CCFL Prayer Wall and is a writer on the Communications Team. Retired from teaching, Lisa and her husband Ron volunteer at their local Calvary Chapel and share a passion for Scripture, apologetics, and education.