Our sermon today was taken from the story of Hagar in the wilderness, a story with many negative components.
Amidst Sarai’s grief over being barren, yet her mistreatment of her slave, Abram’s passivity and frustration with God, we see Hagar, the forsaken one, stumbling on the realization that God is still watching over her!
True servant leadership tries to understand those we are to lead. It would have been better if Abram would have read between the lines when Sarai suggested a union with her maid Hagar. She may have secretly hoped he would refuse or perhaps thought this could prove infertility was Abram’s fault. Polygamy was widely accepted in the Old Testament and Sarai was desperate…and out of hope.
When Hagar conceived nothing improved….when Sarai felt the tension with her maid she asked Abram to send Hagar away! And he did..
How bad does life have to be for one to flee to the wilderness? That is where Hagar ends up, at the end of herself.
Yet that’s where Hagar, whose name means “the rejected one” met God whom she called “El-Roi”. “I saw Him who sees me”, she said!
A couple of takeaway lessons from this story. One, we need real servant leaders among us, who like Jesus, wash others’ feet and try to understand. And two, God is watching us, not from a distance, but close enough to know us well, and to help us in our darkest hour.