Pregnant, Enslaves, and Friends with God

from Shane's Muslim Connect

When’s the last time you heard a sermon on Hagar or Ishmael? True confession: I don’t think I’ve ever preached one. But my good friend Deborah is going to, should Covid let her out of the house! Her thoughts on that dynamic duo have encouraged me this morning, and I’d like to share a couple of them with you. (The majority of the following thoughts are from Deborah, unless they sound goofy. In that case, they’re from me!)

Similar to the way Christians are linked to Abraham by heritage, rather than blood, Muslims feel a link to Ishmael, and by extension his mom Hagar. If we dig into their story instead of simply viewing them as the counterpoints to the people of the line of promise, we’ll find all sorts of intrigue, bad behavior, and a God who is kind, attentive, and conversant with the least likely of people. 

Check Genesis 16.1-16, Genesis 17.1-27 and Genesis 21.1-21 for most of the fascinating story of Hagar and Ishmael. 

Hagar names God! 
In Genesis 16.13 Hagar was the first person (and a woman, at that!) in scripture to name GOD. “You are El-roi,” for she said, “In this place, have I actually seen the one who sees me?” He welcomes a name given him by a slave woman! How valuable is this as we consider how to “see” and “hear” Muslims and God’s heart for them?!

God engages Hagar
In Genesis 16.8 after a pregnant Hagar has scuffled with Sarah and fled, the angel of the Lord found her and asked, “Hagar, slave of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?” How amazing, warm, and kind is this? Basically, the God of the Heavens ask the 3X outsider, “What’s your story? What have you dealt with and where is your life headed?” 

To think God cares to know those things of you and me and Muslims as well. Stunning.