Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Hagar the single mom

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Genesis 21:1-21


TO CHEW ON: "And God heard the voice of the lad. Then the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven and said to her, 'What ails you, Hagar? Fear not, for God has heard the voice of the lad where he is.'" Genesis 21:17.


I can't help but feel sorry for Hagar. First she is pressed into service as surrogate mom by her mistress. When she gets pregnant, Sarah is so cruel to her (after she senses Hagar now despises her for her [Sarah's] inability to get pregnant) that Hagar flees to the wilderness. There an angel finds her and tells her to return to Sarah. She does and births Ishmael.

Now, about 16 years later,* at the party to celebrate Isaac's weaning, Sarah catches sight of teenage Ishmael "scoffing" (Genesis 21:9; Galatians 4:29 says that Ishmael "persecuted" Isaac). And Sarah insists that Hagar and Ishmael must go.

An aggrieved Abraham sends Hagar away and again she's with her son, abandoned in the wilderness. But no, she's not abandoned. For again an angel of God comes to her, points her to water and promises a future for her son. (And he does live a long life of 137 years - Genesis 25:17).

There are other instances of God making special provision for single parent families.

  • He provides for the widow of Zarephath and her son by sending Elijah to them. During his stay the oil and flour for bread never run out  - 1 Kings 17:8-16. Later when her son dies, Elijah restores him to life - 1 Kings 17:17-22.

  • Another widow avoids her sons becoming slaves of the person she owes money to when Elisha performs the miracle of the oil that keeps on pouring till all containers are full - 2 Kings 4:1-7.

  • Jesus restores a widow's son to her - Luke 17:12-16.

  • God promises to take the place of the absent spouse: "For your Maker is your husband, The Lord of hosts is His name" - Isaiah 54:5 (also Hosea 2:19,20).

  • He will help parent the fatherless child: "You are the helper of the fatherless" - Psalm 10:14 (also Psalm 68:5 and Psalm 146:9).

What a comfort to know that God has a special compassion for single parents and their kids. If that includes you, claim and live in that. For those of us who aren't single parents, let's do all we can to be God's caring hands and feet to them and their children.

PRAYER:
Dear God, thank You for Your care for those single parents needing help with their children. Help me to have empathy and an alertness to help them. Please be with widows and divorced and abandoned wives in a special way for all they must face, whatever stage they are at in life. Amen.


*"16 years later" because Moses was 86 years old when Ishmael was born (Genesis 16:16). He was 100 years old when Isaac was born (Genesis 21:5). This party was for Isaac's weaning, which would have happened when Isaac was about two or three years of age.

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Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.



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