The first angel in the Bible appeared to Hagar
Angels appear to lots of different people in lots of different situations throughout the Bible, but it recently dawned on me that the very first angel appeared to someone who was not exactly on the top of the social or religious status charts.
Hagar was foreign. She was a slave, and obviously, she was female. Basically, she was at the bottom layer of social importance. And yet, she is the first person in the Bible to whom an angel appeared.
Why would God do that? What is God trying to tell us in this story?
Maybe, just maybe, God is trying to get through to us that He talks to and sends angels to whomever He wants to, to all those through whom He will fulfill His purpose. And God does not always talk to the person you think He ought to.
In fact, just because someone is not in your religious club, or have the exact same theology as you, is a foreigner, a different sex or social background than you, does not mean God cannot and will not talk to them or send angels to minister to them.
In other words: It’s time for some humble pie!
In this week’s episode, I delve into the story of Hagar, to discover some important lessons we all need to learn.
In light of all the talk about white supremacy lately, it’s interesting to see how the story of Hagar and the angel obliterates the idea of anyone thinking they are superior to anyone else in God’s eyes. God levels the playing field by showing His care for the least in society.
Do you ever think you are better than someone else, that you are closer to God, and more spiritually deserving of God’s blessings (or angel visitations) that someone from a foreign country, a different religion, or different sex?
Then you might need more than one piece of humble pie to learn that God values all His children equally. God answers the call of those in need, not the call of the self-righteous.
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Have a wonderful week.
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Bible references in this episode:
Genesis 16:1, 2, 4-15 ESV
1 Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. She had a female Egyptian servant whose name was Hagar.
2 And Sarai said to Abram, “Behold now, the LORD has prevented me from bearing children. Go in to my servant; it may be that I shall obtain children by her.” And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai.
4 And he went in to Hagar, and she conceived. And when she saw that she had conceived, she looked with contempt on her mistress.
5 And Sarai said to Abram, “May the wrong done to me be on you! I gave my servant to your embrace, and when she saw that she had conceived, she looked on me with contempt. May the LORD judge between you and me!”
6 But Abram said to Sarai, “Behold, your servant is in your power; do to her as you please.” Then Sarai dealt harshly with her, and she fled from her.
7 The angel of the LORD found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur.
8 And he said, “Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?”
She said, “I am fleeing from my mistress Sarai.”
9 The angel of the LORD said to her, “Return to your mistress and submit to her.”
10 The angel of the LORD also said to her, “I will surely multiply your offspring so that they cannot be numbered for multitude.”
11 And the angel of the LORD said to her,
“Behold, you are pregnant
and shall bear a son.
You shall call his name Ishmael,[means God hears] because the LORD has listened to your affliction.
12 He shall be a wild donkey of a man,
his hand against everyone
and everyone’s hand against him,
and he shall dwell over against all his kinsmen.”
13 So she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, “You are a God of seeing,”[or A God who sees me] for she said, “Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.”
14 Therefore the well was called Beer-lahai-roi;[the well of the Living One who sees me] it lies between Kadesh and Bered.
15 And Hagar bore Abram a son, and Abram called the name of his son, whom Hagar bore, Ishmael.
Genesis 21:9-20 ESV
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.