Secure in God’s Care
And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19
Few Old Testament narratives convey God’s love for the downtrodden quite as poignantly as Hagar’s story does. She was a foreign slave, probably a gift from Pharaoh during Abraham’s sojourn in Egypt (Genesis 12:16). Far from her birthplace and compelled to learn a new culture and language, she may have felt invisible in a household as large as Abraham’s. But God saw her, loved her, and cared for her.
For some reason, Sarah selected Hagar to be the cornerstone of her plan to assist God and provide an heir for Abraham and herself. Hagar probably didn’t volunteer to be a pawn in Sarah’s scheme, but she was no fool. As soon as she became pregnant, she flaunted her position as “heir-bearer” (Genesis 16:4). After Ishmael’s birth, Hagar fiercely protected his firstborn rights. She also tried to preserve what privileges she had as a second wife. She wanted security—a comfortable life for herself and a future for her son.
However, Hagar found herself homeless, jobless, and friendless at least two times (Genesis 16:6; 21:14). In both instances, God became her rescuing knight, not because she deserved to be rescued but because he cared about Hagar and Ishmael. In fact, he deliberately reached out to them, blessing them with his favor and extending his covenant with Abraham to include the two outcasts.
God provided—not the life Hagar may have desired—but the life he deemed best. And like all of us, Hagar needed to learn that security isn’t a home or an inheritance; security is confidence in the sovereignty and love of God.
When God appeared to Hagar in angelic form, she gave him a beautiful name—El Roi, the God who sees me. Her affirmation has echoed down through the centuries, “I have now seen the One who sees me” (Genesis 16:13). She recognized her value because of the value God placed on her.
We also have value because he sees us. We are his children, and he extends his covenant of love and protection to us because we became co-heirs with Jesus when we accepted the gift of salvation he provided (Romans 8:15–17). He is also the God who hears us when we cry out to him. Sometimes his answers are puzzling, but his ways are always right. The path he chooses for us may seem unattractive or even dangerous, but he promises to care for us.
How comforting to know that one Egyptian slave woman was precious in God’s sight. No matter how invisible you may feel today, take heart. El Roi sees you too.
Genesis 16:7–13 records the first biblical appearance of “the angel of the LORD.” Whom did Hagar think this individual was (v. 13)? For more information about the identity of this individual, read Judges 2:1–4, Judges 6:21–22, and 13:13–21. Who is “the angel of the LORD”?
Although Isaiah 54:1–17 is specifically speaking about Israel, it symbolically addresses women who find themselves in situations similar to Hagar’s. What does God say about those who are mistreated?
Denise K. Loock
This devotion is part of our series, Not-As-Famous Men and Women of the Bible.