Have you ever felt abandoned, rejected, used or unwanted? Maybe you’re a single mother who was forced to leave the security you once knew. Or maybe you were betrayed by someone close to you. Hagar is relatable. She may be from a different era but God’s grace and redemption still applies today.
In the majority of the woman in the bible, we can find the beauty that God sees. We can begin to get a picture of how God created us and sees us. That is the underlying beauty of the stories.
Many ask, “How can I hear from God?” How do I see what you see?
Well, to begin we have to spend time in the word. As we begin to spend time reading, our spirit man begins to hear the voice of God. As we begin to hear, then we are able to dissect scripture, line by line. As we study line by line, God then begins to reveal his secrets.
As we open our hearts and mind to search the scriptures, revelation is given. We then begin to see the redemption, endurance, and strength that each woman may not have realized she had. Those same traits still apply today for each one of us. Our own unique experiences and walk is a story itself.
As the writers share the enthralling stories of each particular woman, your story is captivating as well. I pray that as we begin to study Hagar and the other women, you too will see your own strength and endurance.
You may or may not resonate with each character but you can definitely relate to the goodness of God and how God loves us….no matter what.
My objective is three-fold: 1) To bring what we read in the bible into modern times 2) Help you study the bible 3) For some, find your identity in Christ.
I have attached the study guide for session 1 & 2 to follow along as I share Hagar.
ENGAGE IN THE WORD
I want you not to just read the bible but to relate. Engulf yourself into character. Step into the era of the writer. Imagine how it was walking with Jesus or the great prophets of old.
- Hagar experienced rejection, abandonment and second class status.
- She was treated unfairly, excluded and despised.
- She endured abuse.
- She was a single mother.
- For a season, she lost her identity.
When you read the following passages, step into Hagar’s shoes.
Imagine yourself as HAGAR. Clothe yourself with the style of that era. Imagine the surrounding smells of animals and the outdoors. Feel the emotions.
Begin to make a list of emotions you feel. Do you feel angry? Hurt?
As you are reading, do certain events from the past come to mind? Begin to jot down anything that God brings to mind. This will tie into part 2 of the series.
As you begin to read the following passage, HIGHLIGHT keywords. Here is where we begin to study the word. If you did not print out the study, open your bible and either highlight or make notes of keywords.
Message Translation Genesis 16:1-5
Be sure to answer the questions as we go along.
Message Translation Genesis 16:6-12
Keynotes: Hagar was the first woman in the bible whom God directly made a promise. She was also the first woman to whom God appeared. We can say that this is Jesus in human form because of the verb tense. He commanded her to do something rather than saying God says. We know in the Old Testament that nothing unclean could come before God. Hagar was not ceremonial clean. But what we do know is that Jesus came down to earth as a man, so that we would no longer be under the law. Hagar broke the law by leaving, running away from her master. Jesus isn’t of the law!
Answer questions and jot down anything that comes to mind.
BACKGROUND OF CHARACTER
Hagar, also spelled Agar, in the Old Testament (Gen. 16:1–16; 21:8–21)she served as a maid to Abraham’s childless wife, Sarah,
Scripture References—Genesis 16; 21:9-17; 25:12; Galatians 4:24, 25 Name Meaning—Hagar, an Egyptian name, closely resembles the root of the Arabic, flight, familiar to us as the history of Mohammed, descendant of Hagar. It may be taken as an adaptation of her original name to the principal circumstances of her life, and understood to mean, fugitive or immigrant, which Hagar became.
Family Connections—While the Bible gives us no record of Hagar’s genealogy, the likelihood is that Hagar was an Egyptian girl-slave whom Sarah secured for her household while she and Abraham were in Egypt.
Social Class- She was an Egyptian. Egypt had a social class level and being that she was purchased as a slave, she was at the bottom of the social class. Sarai and Abram see Hagar in this role and never call her by name. She was considered a foreigner, second class. Egyptians also had many gods and many of them had eyes.
Era- She lived in the time of probably the 4th or 5th dynasty of the Pharaohs. Khufu was probably the pharaoh that Abraham met when he visited Egypt.
So, why the importance of her background and where she came from? This gives us a clue on her upbringing and a little more insight to how she possibly lived prior to leaving with Abram and Sari.
Egyptians had many gods with many eyes that never saw. They were statues that didn’t talk. The Israelites had one God, the true God – Yahweh. He spoke to His people.
Egyptians stayed locally. Archeologist deem them to be stationary. They didn’t travel much to far away lands. Hagar had to adapt to a new way of living and new customs.
Shame can put us in bondage without the realization that it has even happened.
Gen. 16:3 Sarai took Hagar, her Egyptian maid, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife.
I don’t know about you but to be given to another person against my will is violating, embarrassing, and shameful.
With the changing of times, the same traumas still happen today but through different means. For example, a woman may not necessarily be given to another man in polygamy but maybe she was raped. Maybe a child endured physical or sexual abuse. There could be a woman who silently endured abuse at the hands of her spouse.
WE ALL HAVE A HISTORY.
We can relate in one way or another-maybe through personal experiences or by someone close to you.
Then there is the faithful wife who endured shame through infidelity caused by her husband. For some, it may not necessarily be infidelity but rather a spouse who isn’t living up to God’s given identity. Instead, he could be a drunkard, drug addict, gambler, or porn addict.
Maybe you find yourself on the hot seat. Perhaps your decision caused the marriage to end. Or maybe you are living with a guilt that you cannot let go of.
Continue reading and answer the self reflection questions.
Genesis 16: 6 “Your slave is in your hands,” Abram said. “Do with her whatever you think best.” Then Sarai mistreated Hagar; so she fled from her.
Genesis 21:10 New International Version (NIV)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.”
Imagine being used by a person who doesn’t love you. Then after being used, disregarded like something worthless.
Now imagine being a slave, away from your family and then abused by your mistress. Your only hope is to run away. You not only feel rejected but alone. Unfortunately, running away is one thing many women have in common.
Continue reading and answer the self reflection questions.
Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
This picture is beautiful, not only in color but in what I see. The artist captured the beauty of the soul. It radiates through the painting.
Their skin colors are different shades. WE TOO are different shades. WE ALL have different backgrounds but what makes it unique, are the individual stories. Their smiles radiate with joy. You can see the freedom they carry. We all can have that same freedom too.
We briefly discussed shame and rejection, along with the additional emotions it carries. I shared a few examples to bring Hagar into modern times.
I also asked if you knew of any scriptures relating to shame and rejection and asked you to recall any person or event that may have triggered any emotions of memories.
In Genesis 16: 9 The Angel of the Lord said to her, “Go back to your mistress, and submit [a]humbly to her authority.”
Now you have homework until our next meetup.
I want you to ask Holy Spirit to bring to mind any remembrance, unforgiveness, bitterness or person(s) you may be holding to guilt. Write down whatever comes to mind.
Answer the questions.
Next session we will discuss being a single mother and identity. We will also go into renewing your mind.