Expositor's Dictionary of Texts
Now Sarai Abram's wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar.A Particular Providence As Revealed in the Gospel
God beholds thee individually, whoever thou art. He 'calls the by thy name'. He sees thee, and understands thee, as He made thee. He knows what is in thee, all thy own peculiar feelings and thoughts, thy dispositions and likings, thy strength and thy weakness. He views thee in thy day of rejoicing, and thy day of sorrow. He sympathizes in thy hopes and thy temptations. He interests Himself in all thy anxieties and remembrances, all the risings and fallings of thy spirit. He has numbered the very hairs of thy head and the cubits of thy stature. He compasses thee round and bears thee in his arms; He takes thee up and sets thee down. He notes thy very countenance, whether smiling or in tears, whether healthful or sickly. He looks tenderly upon thy hands and thy feet; He hears thy voice, the beating of thy heart, and thy very breathing. Thou dost not love thyself better than He loves thee. Thou canst not shrink from pain more than He dislikes thy bearing it; and if He puts it on thee, it is as thou wilt put it on thyself, if thou art wise, for a greater good afterwards.... What is man, what are we, what am I, that the Son of God should be so mindful of me? What am I, that He should have raised me from almost a devil's nature to that of an Angel's? that He should have changed my soul's original constitution, new-made me, who from my youth up have been a transgressor, and should Himself dwell personally in this very heart of mine, making me His temple? What am I, that God the Holy Ghost should enter into me, and draw up my thoughts heavenward, 'with plaints unutterable?'
—J. H. Newman.
The Presence of God
A poor Egyptian slave-girl, Hagar, spoke these words. Her life had become unendurable, and so she ran away into the wilderness, and an angel from God came to her and told her to return. Hagar's words teach us:—
I. A lesson of God's watchful Providence. These words of Hagar are a special help to us:—
a. When we are exposed to great temptations.
b. In any time of trouble or sorrow or struggle.
c. In time of prayer.
d. When we have to make difficult decisions in our life.
II. God's presence ought to be the great joy of our life here, as it will be in our life hereafter. Heaven is simply life in God's Presence, and the best preparation we can make will be to cultivate the recollection of that Presence now.
—A. G. Mortimer, Stories from Genesis, p. 127.
References.—XVI. 13.—H. Ranken, Christian World Pulpit, 1890, p. 276. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. ii. No. 85; ibid. vol. xxxi. No. 1869. XVI.—J. Parker, Adam, Noah, and Abraham, p. 129. XVII. 1.—A. G. Mortimer, The Church's Lessons, vol. i. p. 85. A. Martin, Penny Pulpit, No. 878. XVII. 1, 2.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xiv. No. 845; ibid. vol. xviii. No. 1082. XVII. 1-9.—A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture—Genesis, p. 117. XVII. 5.—J. Morgan, Penny Pulpit, No. 382.
And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the LORD hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai.
And Sarai Abram's wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife.
And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes.
And Sarai said unto Abram, My wrong be upon thee: I have given my maid into thy bosom; and when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her eyes: the LORD judge between me and thee.
But Abram said unto Sarai, Behold, thy maid is in thy hand; do to her as it pleaseth thee. And when Sarai dealt hardly with her, she fled from her face.
And the angel of the LORD found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness, by the fountain in the way to Shur.
And he said, Hagar, Sarai's maid, whence camest thou? and whither wilt thou go? And she said, I flee from the face of my mistress Sarai.
And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself under her hands.
And the angel of the LORD said unto her, I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude.
And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the LORD hath heard thy affliction.
And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.
And she called the name of the LORD that spake unto her, Thou God seest me: for she said, Have I also here looked after him that seeth me?
Wherefore the well was called Beerlahairoi; behold, it is between Kadesh and Bered.
And Hagar bare Abram a son: and Abram called his son's name, which Hagar bare, Ishmael.
And Abram was fourscore and six years old, when Hagar bare Ishmael to Abram.