Day 1: Running Away

running-away imageDo you ever feel like running away?

Do you ever have days or weeks or even months where you just wish you could get away and leave everything going on around you behind?

Where would you run?

Hagar had had enough. Hagar was an Egyptian slave to Sarai, Abram’s wife. Since Sarai could not have children, she decided to allow her slave, to marry Abram and try to have her family through Hagar. However, both Abram and Sarai had already been told by God that God’s covenant would be fulfilled through them and not any outsiders. So Abram takes Hagar and sleeps with her and she becomes pregnant. When Hagar sees she is pregnant she flaunts it in front of Sarai and Sarai becomes very jealous and begins to mistreat her. Sarai mistreats her so much that Hagar runs away. While all three persons in this account sin against God in their actions (the full account is recorded in Genesis 16:1-6), I was drawn to Hagar and her response when she had had enough.

“The Angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur.

He said, “Hagar, slave of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?”

She replied, “I’m running away from my mistress Sarai.”

Then the Angel of the Lord said to her, “You must go back to your mistress and submit to her mistreatment.”

The Angel of the Lord also said to her, “I will greatly multiply your offspring, and they will be too many to count.”

Then the Angel of the Lord said to her: You have conceived and will have a son. You will name him Ishmael, for the Lord has heard your cry of affliction. This man will be like a wild donkey. His hand will be against everyone, and everyone’s hand will be against him; he will live at odds with all his brothers.

So she called the Lord who spoke to her: The God Who Sees, for she said, “In this place, have I actually seen the One who sees me?”

That is why she named the spring, “A Well of the Living One Who Sees Me.” It is located between Kadesh and Bered.” Genesis 16:7-14

Hagar may have run to the wilderness, but she found a spot that had water. Remember when I asked earlier where you would run if you were to run away? I know where I would run. It would be some place where there was water. I love the water. To hear the waves fold up onto the shore and to feel the breeze brush across my face and skin is so relaxing to me. All my cares seem to fade away. Hagar must have felt the same way, as she added her own tears to the spring of water she found in the dry, desert in the desert

As Hagar tries to make her problems disappear by seeking peace by the spring, the LORD comes to her and asks her where she has come from and where she is going (v.7). However, Hagar only answers the first question. She tells the LORD she is running from her mistress. Did you notice she does not have an answer as to where she is going? Isn’t that just like us when we try to run away or escape our problems? We know exactly what we are running away from (most of the time), but often have no clue as to where we are going!! Think of the small child who tells their parents they are running away. With bags in hand as they approach the front door, the parent asks the child where they are going. With a shrug the child responds, “I don’t know, but I’m running away.” To this the parent tells the child to put their bag away and then shares with them how things are going to be handled in the house and what is going to be expected from the child.

God does the same thing with Hagar and with us. He immediately tells Hagar she has to go back to Sarai. But God doesn’t stop there. He tells her how He is going to bless her with many offspring, what to call the child that will be born to her, and even how her child is going to behave and how others will treat him!! This is often the same response we receive from God when we try to run away. God tells us we have to go back and face whatever it is that we are trying to escape. He doesn’t always tell us exactly what is going to happen in the midst of our circumstances, but He does promise us He will never leave us or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6).

El-Roi-Stone-300x183Hagar’s response to the LORD’s words is to call Him, “The God Who Sees” (v13). I can only image she felt like no one understood her or could see what it is she was going through and how she was being treated. Hagar had run to the wilderness seeking for something to console her, but what she found was the “Well of the Living One Who Sees” (v14). God had seen her and understood everything that was happening to her. This gave Hagar the peace and strength she truly was seeking and was able to return to her mistress and give birth to her child.

There are many times that I just want to run away; run away from various circumstances and even people, but I really don’t have a clue as to where I am going.   God knows exactly where I need to be and He finds me by a spring that will not give me what I am truly seeking. So by His grace, God allows me to experience the Well of the One Who Sees Me and I cry out with the Psalmist as Hagar did:

“Where can I go to escape Your Spirit? Where can I flee from Your presence? If I go up to heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, You are there.  If I live at the eastern horizon or settle at the western limits, even there Your hand will lead me; Your right hand will hold on to me.  If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me, and the light around me will be night”— even the darkness is not dark to You. The night shines like the day; darkness and light are alike to You.” Psalm 139:7-12

Day 1 in the Spring of Life brings us before the Well of the Living One Who Sees Us.  Praise God He sees us and there is nowhere we can run to hide from Him.  Praise God He is faithful to walk with us and carry us through even the most difficult of times as well as through the times of rejoicing.

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