Return and Submit

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This past Sunday, I got the opportunity to repent – not just to my pastors, but to the entire church for not being in my place. 

I had some things in common with Hagar, Sarai’s handmaid (but not anymore).  She was the one chosen to bear Sarai and Abram’s child.  But after Hagar got pregnant, I think she started to smell herself.  No, really.  I think she either felt herself equal to Sarai (as she had become Abram’s wife to bear his child) or she thought she was better than Sarai because she was able to do something that Sarai wasn’t able to do, which was to carry Abram’s child.

She was blessed with such an honor to carry their child, but she forgot who she was.  She forgot she was still Sarai’s handmaid.  She became too familiar with her.  Hagar’s problem was she no longer respected the anointing on Sarai’s life.  She didn’t honor the woman of God. 

Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine (1 Timothy 5:17).

Obey them that have the rule over you and submit yourselves; for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you (Hebrews 13:17).

Sarai was not some mere woman.  When God spoke concerning Sarai, He said, ‘I will bless her and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her’ (Genesis 17:16).  Hagar may have been the new wife, but Sarai was still the ‘first lady’. 

Sarai didn’t like Hagar’s attitude and disrespect towards her so she told Abram about it.  Abram, being the smart man he was, changed his name to Bennett.  My name is Bennett and I ain’t in it.  Just joking. But seriously, he told his wife that he was going to stay out of it, that she was her maid and this was between them. 

When Sarai took matters into her own hands, Hagar ran away.  I can only imagine what Hagar was thinking when she left.  Who does she think she is?  She can’t have no baby.  I’m having his baby.  They are going to need me before I need them. 

But do you know what I loved most about this passage of scripture? 

Abram didn’t run after Hagar to try to convince her to come back.  Sarai didn’t run after her, crying and begging her to come back.  I don’t know how long Hagar was in the wilderness, but I do know it was good for her to be there because there were some things in her that needed to die and where she was caused her to grow up. No one took her position or her place, but if she really wanted it – if she was really serious this time, she was going to have to return to the place she left and take it back.

One day, the angel of the Lord found Hagar in the wilderness and asked her two questions:

1) Where did you come from?

2) Where are you going?

She didn’t have a problem answering the first question, but she couldn’t answer the second question because she didn’t know what she was going to do.  She didn’t have a plan because she ran from the plan that was created for her. 

Now I know that Isaac was the plan and he was the promise of God, but when Sarai told her husband to marry her handmaid, Abram came in agreement with it and God honored it.  (I didn’t say God liked her idea, but He honored it).  At any time, God could have stopped this plan and He could have shut up Hagar’s womb, but He didn’t.  He allowed it to be because that was what Sarai wanted. 

By asking the above questions, the Lord wanted her to realize that she was going the wrong way – that she needed to change her direction.  I don’t think Hagar wanted to remain in the wilderness, but she may have been too proud to go back.  But God dealt with her.  He spoke to her through an angel.  Return to your mistress and submit yourself.  What he was really saying was:

You were wrong, Hagar.  Go back. 

You were wrong, Hagar.  Apologize.

You were wrong, Hagar.  Make it right.

But maybe she was afraid.  What was Sarai going to do to her once she returned?  What were the people going to say?  Would Abram and Sarai receive her back?

So, the angel gave her a word that gave her the confidence to go back.  I will greatly multiply your descendants so that they will be too many to count  (Genesis 16:10, AMP).  That was God’s way of letting her know:

I see you (Genesis 16:13).

I haven’t forgotten you.

I didn’t leave you. You left Me.

You’re still a part of the plan.

I haven’t taken back what I gave you (Ishmael). 

I will still use you.

I will bless you.

So, Hagar got back in her place and in her position and I’ve decided to do the same. Please know that repentance was just the first step.  Even after Hagar returned to her mistress, there were things she had to do and there will be things that I will have to do because Hagar didn’t see what the angel said until she did what the angel said.   

 

[Scripture reference: Genesis 16]

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