In the 1804 Lewis and Clark Expedition, the men knew that their observations and the information they collected about the region west of the Missouri River would significantly impact the growth of the country. This foreknowledge strengthened their resolve to rely upon their leaders and guides to complete their expedition despite great adversity. While our daily journeys are not over mountains or swollen rivers, we frequently face adversity. We ask, “How will I survive this tragedy, job loss, broken and bitter relationship, etc.?”
- In what situations are you prone to seek solutions that are apart from your faith in God’s will and provision for your life?
READ THE WORD: GENESIS 21:8-21 (ESV)
8 And the child grew and was weaned. And Abraham made a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned. 9 But Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, laughing. 10 So she said to Abraham, “Cast out this slave woman with her son, for the son of this slave woman shall not be heir with my son Isaac.” 11 And the thing was very displeasing to Abraham on account of his son. 12 But God said to Abraham, “Be not displeased because of the boy and because of your slave woman. Whatever Sarah says to you, do as she tells you, for through Isaac shall your offspring be named. 13 And I will make a nation of the son of the slave woman also, because he is your offspring.” 14 So Abraham rose early in the morning and took bread and a skin of water and gave it to Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, along with the child, and sent her away. And she departed and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba.
15 When the water in the skin was gone, she put the child under one of the bushes. 16 Then she went and sat down opposite him a good way off, about the distance of a bowshot, for she said, “Let me not look on the death of the child.” And as she sat opposite him, she lifted up her voice and wept. 17 And God heard the voice of the boy, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What troubles you, Hagar? Fear not, for God has heard the voice of the boy where he is. 18 Up! Lift up the boy, and hold him fast with your hand, for I will make him into a great nation.” 19 Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. And she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink. 20 And God was with the boy, and he grew up. He lived in the wilderness and became an expert with the bow. 21 He lived in the wilderness of Paran, and his mother took a wife for him from the land of Egypt.
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
- While Abraham celebrated Isaac’s growth, why did Sarah react angrily towards Hagar and Ishmael (vs. 9)? (See also Genesis 16:4-6.)
- In the midst of this conflict, what feelings did Abraham experience, and how did he respond?
- In verses 12, 13, and 18, God reiterated his promises to Abraham and to Hagar. What does this reveal about God’s character and his desire for a relationship with us?
- In what areas of your life do you find it most difficult to trust in God’s provision? Write down the reasons why trusting is difficult for you.
RESPOND TO GOD
Trusting in God’s promises was difficult for Sarah. Fearful that Hagar’s son, Ishmael, would diminish Isaac’s inheritance and blessing, Sarah took control (again) and told Abraham to banish them. At this moment of conflict, God spoke to Abraham to remind him of his everlasting covenant through Isaac and to share his plans to protect and care for Hagar and Ishmael. Similarly, at her lowest moment of exhaustion and hopelessness in the wilderness, God responded to Hagar’s cries for help and provided exactly what she needed: provision and protection. In our times of trials, we need to learn from Sarah, Abraham, and Hagar not to question the depth of God’s love or doubt his interest and ability to meet our needs.
- Pray that God would open your heart to a deeper dependence and trust upon him.
- Thank him for his help with your current struggle.