A Tale of Two Journeys: Running From the Struggle & Walking With the Promise

Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament book of Genesis as it was written and recorded by Moses the servant of the Lord. More specifically, today’s passage is found in chapters sixteen, seventeen and eighteen of this Old Testament book. ABRAM’S WIFE BARE HIM NO CHILDREN! SHE HAD AN HANDMAID! THE LORD HATH RESTRAINED ME FROM BEARING! GIVING THE BONDWOMAN AS WIFE! WHEN THE BONDWOMAN CONCEIVES! FLEEING FROM THE PLACE OF PROMISE! FLEEING FROM THE PLACE OF BLESSING! THE ANGEL OF THE LORD FOUND HER BY A FOUNTAIN OF WATER! WHERE DID YOU COME FROM? WHERE WILL YOU GO! I FLEE FROM THE FACE OF MY MISTRESS! WHAT ARE YOU RUNNING FROM? ELIJAH FLEEING FROM JEZEBEL! RETURN! RETURN AND SUBMIT! WILL YOU RETURN! WILL YOU SUBMIT! THE LORD HATH HEARD THY AFFLICTION! GOD SEES ME! ESTABLISHING A COVENANT! CHANGING A NAME! THE SIGN OF COVENANT! ISHMAEL WILL NOT BE HEIR! ISAAC, NOT ISHMAEL WILL BE HEIR TO THE PROMISE! SON OF THE BOND WOMAN! SON OF THE FREE WOMAN! THE LORD APPEARED TO ABRAM! ENTERTAINING THE LORD! SHOWING HOSPITALITY TO THE LORD! INVITING THE LORD INTO YOUR HOUSE! I WILL COME IN AND SUP WITH HIM! I WILL MAKE MY ABODE WITH HIM! I WILL COME IN TO HIM AND WILL SUP WITH HIM! WE WILL COME UNTO HIM AND MAKE OUR ABOADE WITH HIM! INVITING THE PROMISE OF THE LORD INTO YOUR HOME! SHALL I HIDE FROM ABRAHAM THAT THING WHICH I DO! ABRAHAM WILL SURELY BECOME A GREAT AND MIGHTY NATION! FOR I KNOW HIM! A WARNING OF JUDGMENT! APOCALYPTIC TONES IN THE BOOK OF GENESIS! THE DAYS OF NOAH! THE DAYS OF LOT! THE INTERCESSION OF ABRAHAM! ENTREATING THE LORD ON BEHALF OF JUDGMENT! When you come to this particular part of the book of Genesis you will it beginning and opening with an incredibly intriguing description concerning Sarai the wife of Abram. If there is one thing I absolutely love about scripture it’s that it doesn’t hold any punches and it never sugar costs the truth. What’s more, is that if you read and study scripture you will find and discover that the Holy Spirit is incredibly good at highlighting the conditions and issues—perhaps as well as the struggles and conflicts—men and women faced within its pages. You cannot read the words found in scripture and not be directly and immediately confronted with the awesome and incredible reality that the Holy Spirit has the incredible habit of revealing the conditions and struggles men and women faced—and not only this, but also repeating it on more than one occasion. If you read and study the words which are found within the opening verses of the sixteenth chapter you will again find a description concerning Sarai—one that was perhaps incredibly difficult and painful for Sarai. While scripture doesn’t specifically mention this reality concerning Sarai, I can’t help but wonder if her inability to bare any children was incredibly taxing on her emotions and thoughts. I can’t help but wonder if the fact what Sarai could not have any children was an incredibly difficult reality for her to face, and after nearly eight decades she was unable to bare and bring forth children.

If you begin reading the account of Terah, Abram, Sarai and Lot you will find and discover in the final verses of the eleventh chapter that Abram took Sarai as his wife, however, Sarai herself was barren and unable to conceive and bring forth children. What is so incredibly unique about scripture is they there are countless times when it does not flatter those whose lives and stories are found within its pages. It is in the eleventh chapter of the book of Genesis we find it first mentioned that Sarai was barren and could not have any children—a reality which is echoed here again in the sixteenth chapter. In fact, if you study the entirety of the scripture you will find that the living God did His best work within the barren wombs of those who could not conceive and bring forth children. I can’t help but think about Rebekah who would be the wife of Isaac the son of Abraham and Sarah, and how she herself was barren before the Lord looked upon her and allowed her to conceive not one single child, but twin boys. What’s more, is that if you continue reading the account of the patriarchs of faith you will find it written concerning Rachel that she too was barren and unable to conceive children. It wouldn’t be until years later when she would be able to conceive and not only bring forth Joseph, but also bring forth Benjamin his brother as well. As you continue reading in scripture you will find that Hannah was also barren and unable to conceive and bring forth children—that was until she entered into and came unto the house of the Lord and inquired of the Lord that He might remember her and grant the cry of her heart. Ultimately Hannah would conceive and bring forth her first child which was Samuel who would be the final judge and one of the greatest prophets the nation of Israel has ever seen. It would be the prophet Samuel whom the Lord would not allow a single one of his words to fall to the ground. Even more than this, if you continue reading in scripture you will find that before Samson was born his mother too was barren and unable to conceive and bring forth children. It wouldn’t be until an angel of the Lord appeared unto her and declared that she would conceive and bring forth a son that she would finally bring forth one who would serve as one of the judges of Israel. Lest you think these realities are found solely in the pages of the Old Testament you will turn your attention to the New Testament gospel account of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ and will find that Elisabeth the wife of Zechariah was herself barren and unable to conceive and bring forth children. Not only was she barren and unable to conceive and bring forth children, but her and her husband were both advanced in years. Ultimately, the angel Gabriel would appear unto her and declare that she would give birth to a son who would be the forerunner of the Messiah—John the Baptist.

As I come to the sixteenth chapter of the Old Testament book of Genesis I can’t help but encounter and come face to face once more with the reality Sarai the wife of Abraham was barren and unable to conceive children. What’s more, is that we learn from this passage that Abram and Sarai has lived and dwelt for ten years in the land of Canaan. An additional ten years had passed since they had heeded the call of Abram and left Ur of the Chaldeans and journeyed unto the land of Canaan. Before I get into the reality of Sarai’s barrenness I feel there is something else that needs to be highlighted and underscored concerning her that I haven’t yet or ever heard mentioned or spoken in the thirty-six years I have spent in the church. Over the countless years I have spent in the church, as well as the years I spent in Bible college studying the divine word of God I have never heard anyone write and speak of the commitment and faithfulness of Sarai—not only her commitment to her husband, but also her commitment to the living God. We read the word of the author of the epistle written unto the Hebrews and we find them writing how it was by faith obeyed when he was called by God and went forth as a stranger and pilgrim in the land of Canaan. We find and read in the twelfth chapter of the book of Genesis that the living Good appeared unto Abram and called him forth from ur of the Chaldean and unto a land which he would show him. We spend a considerable amount of time focused on the call of God to Abram and how the Lord appeared unto him and called him forth from Ur of the Chaldeans and we praised his obedience and willingness to leave his country, to leave his kindred, and to leave his fathers house, and we oftentimes forget that Abraham didn’t travel alone. If you read the account of Abram leaving Ur of the Chaldeans you will find that when he did in fact leave that place he didn’t travel alone. When and as Abram journeyed from Ur of the Chaldeans and made his way unto the land of Canaan he did not make the journey and trek alone, for he would make the journey with his wife Sarai and his Nelnet Lot. I feel it absolutely necessary to highlight and underscore the telencephalon reality that when Abram received the call of God to leave Ur of the Chaldeans and to leave his country and kindred, he would have undoubtedly spoken this word unto Sarai his wife. It is absolutely undeniable that he would have heard the voice of the living God and received the command and instruction to leave his country, leave his kindred and leave his father’s house and not make mention of this with Sarai. I wonder what it was like when and as Abram spoke unto his wife Sarai and told her of his God had appeared unto him—and not only how God had appeared unto him, but also how God had spoken unto him. What’s more, is that the living God would speak something very specific unto Abram as He would instruct him to leave and go forth from his country, from his kindred and from his father’s house, and journey unto a land which He would show him.

THE COMMITMENT OF SARAI! THE DEDICATION OF SARAI! BEHIND EVERY GREAT MAN THERE MAY BE A GREAT WOMAN! SARAI LEFT EVERYTHING TOO! I sit here this morning and I didn’t help but completely and absolutely gripped with and by the fact that when Abram obeyed the voice and call of God to leave his country, his kindred and his father’s house, he didn’t do it alone, for his wife would accompany him on the journey. In the opening verses of the twelfth chapter you find the Lord having spoken unto Abram and instructing him to get out of his country, and from his kindred, and from his father’s house, and to journey unto a lan which He would show him. What’s more, is the fact that the Lord promised unto Abram that he would make of him a great nation, and would bless him, and would make his name great. Furthermore, the Lord would declare unto Abram that he would be a blessing, and that He would bless those who blessed him, and He would curse those who cursed him, and all families of the earth would be blessed in and through him. It’s absolutely necessary that we pay close and careful attention to these words, for when you come to the fourth verse of this twelfth chapter you will find Abram departing as the Lord had spoken unto him, and how Lot with went him. We also learn and discover that Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed from Haran, and how Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their substance they had gathered, and the souls which they had gotten in Haran, and he went forth into the land of Canaan. How absolutely incredible it is that not only did Abram depart from Haran according to the word and command of the living God, but when he did depart from Ur of the Chaldeans he didn’t make the journey alone, but rather he took with him Lot his nephew, Sarai his wife, all the substance they had, as well as all the souls they had gotten while in Haran. Essentially—not only did Abram depart from Haran according to the word and command of the Lord, but he also packed and picked up everything and departed Haran and journeyed unto the land of Canaan. Within the departing of Abram—not only do we see and encounter the tremendous reality of packing up everything in order to follow the call and voice of the living God and journey where He has called, but we also find Abram taking the journey with his wife Sarai and his nephew Lot. Oh, I can’t help but see an incredibly wonderful truth found within the departing of Abram from Haran in that not only did he depart according to the word of the Lord, but he also packed up everything he had, as well as departed with his wife Sarai. Oh, imagine what it was like to pack up everything they had and everything they had gathered while they were in the land of Haran—and not only packing everything up, but also taking his wife Sarai with him. Pause and consider the tremendous reality of what it would have been like for Sarai to heed the words which her husband had spoken unto her, and follow him where the Lord had commanded and instructed him.

In the Old Testament book of Ruth you will find that when Naomi’s two sons died while in the land of Moab, she gave their widowed wives the instruction to remain and abide within the land of Moab which was their native and ancestral land. Orpah the wife of one of Naomi’s sons chose to remain within the land of Moab, however, Ruth made the conscious decision to forsake her native country, to forsake her father’s house, and to forsake her family and kindred in order that she might go with Naomi wherever she went. What’s more, is that you will find Ruth emphatically declaring unto Naomi that wherever she would go Ruth would be there, and the people of Naomi would be her people, and the God of Naomi would be her God. Please don’t miss and lose sight of this absolutely incredible and tremendous reality, for within the life and account of Ruth we find one who was willing to leave and forsake everything she had and everything she had ever known in order that she might accompany Naomi on her journey from Moab back to Bethlehem after it had been reported there was bread once more in Israel. This is an absolutely wonderful and incredible thought to think about and consider, for Ruth essentially made a journey similar to that of Abram’s in that she left her country, she left her father’s house, she left her kindred, she left her family, and she left her family and everything she knew in order that she might remain faithful and loyal to Naomi. The more I think about and the more I consider this, the more I can’t help but see in Ruth that same commitment, that same loyalty, that same dedication which would have undoubtedly been found in Sarai the wife of Abram. There is not a doubt in my mind that it is not worth mentioning and noting the tremendous commitment of Sarai to leave her country, to leave her father’s house, and to leave her kindred in order that she might follow her husband wherever he went. Initially, the journey would begin in Ur of the Chaldeans and would find its way to Haran where Terah, Abram, Lot, Sarai and all their substance and souls which they had gotten would dwell and abide. Ultimately and eventually Terah would die in the land of Haran, and the Lord spoke unto Abram to depart from his country, depart from his kindred, and depart from his father’s house in order that he would go unto a land which He would show him. I can’t help but be absolutely gripped and captivated with and by the fact that while it is true that Abram departed by faith according to the word and command of the Lord and obeyed the voice of the Lord, Sarai his wife joined him in the call and joined him in the journey of obedience and faith.

I WILL JOIN YOU IN THE JOURNEY OF FAITH! I WILL JOIN YOU IN THE JOURNEY OF THE CALL! I WILL JOIN YOU IN THE PATH OF OBEDIENCE! I WILL WALK WITH YOU AS YOU FULFILL THE CALL OF GOD ON YOUR LIFE! While we read in the Old Testament book of Ruth that she would commit, align and join herself unto Naomi as she prepared to depart from Moab and journey unto Bethlehem, and while we read of Ruth’s commitment to the people and God of Naomi, I can’t help but get that same underlying sense when thinking about and considering the life of Abram and Sarai. I can’t help but come face to face with the awesome and incredible reality that Sarai was willing to join Abram on this journey of faith, as well as joining Abram on this journey of the call which was upon his life. We dare not miss and lose sight of this awesome and wonderful reality, for to do so would be to miss and lose sight on an incredibly powerful reality concerning commitment, faithfulness, loyalty and dedication. It was true that Abram had departed by faith from the land of his fathers, and from his kindred and from his country, however, we must also highlight and underscore the willingness of Sarai to accompany Abram in this journey into the unkown. It must be highlighted and underscored that Sarai could very well have chosen to remain where she was, and it is possible that Sarai could have declared unto Abram that she didn’t want to make the journey from Haran unto the land of Canaan. What’s more, is Sarai could have very well and very easily have declared unto Abram that she didn’t want to have any part of the journey into the Unkown, and she didn’t want anything to do with this life of faith which Abram her husband was clearly being called to. With that being said, we must recognize and understand that when the Lord called Abram forth from Ur of the Chaldeans, he didn’t yet speak unto, nor did He promise he and Sarai they would conceive and bring forth a son. The only thing the Lord declared and promised unto Abram was that he would make of him a great nation, and that he would bless him and make his name great. There was no mention of a child or heir when Abram departed from Haran and journeyed unto the land of Canaan, and we must come face to face with and recognize that reality, for when Sarai departed from Haran with her husband Abram she deliberately and intentionally chose to join her husband on the journey, and to walk with him wherever the Lord would lead and take him. Despite the fact that there was so much that was unknown, and despite the fact that they had absolutely no clue where they were going, Sarai chose to remain committed and dedicated to her husband. Oh, I cannot help but be absolutely gripped and captivated with and by this reality, and to find it absolutely astonishing, remarkable and amazing. How absolutely wonderful it is to think about and consider the fact that Abram would received the call of the living God upon his life to leave Haran and journey unto a land He would show him, and Sarai was willing to join and accompany Abram in this journey, and to partake in whatever the Lord had promised and spoken unto him.

The more I think about and consider the account and life of Abram and the commitment and dedication of Sarai to walk with and follow her husband wherever the Lord would lead and take him, the more I can’t help but be absolutely gripped and captivated with and by the fact that she was not only committed and dedicated to her husband, but she was also dedicated and committed to the God who had spoken unto him. When Abram departed from Haran and journeyed unto the land of Canaan where he would live and dwell as a stranger and pilgrim, he was joined and accompanied by Sarai his wife who would join him in this remarkable journey of faith. With that being said, there is something about wives who are willing to stand beside their husbands and support the call of God that is upon their lives. There is something about husbands and wives who are willing to embrace the call and journey of God together. We must recognize and realize that this journey wasn’t simply about Abram, nor was it for Abram alone, for Sarai had a part and role in this journey, for Sarai would conceive and would bring forth a child of promise which would bear the name Isaac. The call and journey of faith which Abram engaged himself in would not merely be a call and journey for himself alone, but it would be a call and journey that would include Sarai. YOU’RE INCLUDED IN THIS CALL! YOU’RE A PART OF THIS CALL! YOU HAVE A ROLE! I CANNOT DO THIS WITHOUT YOU! THE PROMISE OF GOD CAN’T BE FULFILLED WITHOUT YOU! Oh how I absolutely love the reality that while the Lord appeared unto and spoke to Abram instructing him to depart from his country, and from his kindred, and from his father’s house, he would and could not step into and fulfill that which the living God had destined and planned for him without and apart from Sarai. Sarai was just an integral part of the call of God on the life of Abram, and she played just as much a part in that which the living God would accomplish in the earth as Abram would, for the author of the epistle which was written unto the Hebrews declared that it was by faith Sarah conceived and brought forth into the earth Isaac who would be the heir and child of promise. It is absolutely wonderful and fascinating to think about and consider the fact that Sarai was willing to support her husband, and was willing to commit and dedicate herself unto him in the journey of faith and obedience. How truly remarkable it is to think about and consider the fact that Sarai was willing to remain loyal to her husband Abram knowing the living God had appeared and spoken unto him and called him forth from Ur of the Chaldeans and unto a land which He would show him. Oh, there is something to be said about those who are willing to walk with you in the journey of faith and obedience in this life and upon this earth. There is something about those who are wiling to forsake and abandon everything they have known in order that they might walk with you in what the Lord has spoken. This is especially true of Sarai, for she would play an integral and vital part in that which the living God would do within and upon the earth.

WHEN BARRENNESS FOLLOWS THE CALL OF GOD! WHEN BARRENNESS TAKES THE JOURNEY OF OBEDIENCE! WHEN BARRENNESS COMMITS AND DEDICATES ITSELF TO THE PURPOSES OF GOD WITHIN THE EARTH! What I absolutely love about Sarai is that although she was barren and unable to conceive children in the natural, she was still willing to support the call of God which was upon the life of her husband Abram. Although Sarai was barren and unable to conceive and bring forth children she was still willing to remain committed and dedicated to her husband and to that which he had been called to. Sarai was barren and unable to bring forth children, however—despite that barrenness she was still willing to join and accompany Abram in the journey of faith and obedience in this life and upon the earth. Sarai was barren and unable to conceive and bring forth children, and yet despite that barrenness and inability to conceive and bring forth children, she would follow her husband wherever the living God would take him. What an incredibly wonderful and powerful truth it is to think about and consider the fact that Sarai was barren and initially unable to conceive and bring forth children, and yet even in that barrenness she was still willing to follow and pursue the call of God with her husband Abram in this life and within and upon the earth. Sarai was barren and had not been able to bring forth children, and yet the journey that would begin in barrenness would ultimately and eventually result in bringing forth a child in the earth. Pause for a moment and think about the fact that had Sarai not chosen to support and devote herself to her husband, she might never have conceived and brought forth a child in the earth. Consider the fact that Sarai could very well and very easily have said no to walking with Abram in this journey of faith, and she could very well have said no to joining Abram in this journey of obedience and calling, and had she chosen to do so she might never have conceived and brought forth a child into the earth. It would be her barrenness that would be joined together with the journey of faith, it would be her barrenness that would be joined together with the promise of God, and it would be her barrenness that would be joined together with obedience that would ultimately bring forth the promise of God and that which would symbolize what is born of the Spirit in this life and within and upon the earth. It would be because Sarai was willing to follow her husband, and to join him on this journey of faith and obedience that she would ultimately find herself being able to conceive and bring forth a child into the earth. Not only this, but the child she would bring forth in the earth would began to be the fulfillment of the promise which the Lord had spoken unto Abram when He declared unto him that he would conceive and bring forth a son into the earth. Oh how absolutely wonderful and astonishing this truly is when you take the time to think about it, for it was when barrenness decided to join itself to obedience and faithfulness that barrenness would conceive and bring forth life in the earth.

Upon coming to the sixteenth chapter of the Old Testament book of Genesis you will again find the barrenness of Sarai mentioned by Moses, for Moses would begin the sixteenth chapter by describing how Sarai Abram’s wife bore him no children. What’s more, is that Moses didn’t merely write that Sarai had not born Abram any children, but that it was in that place of not bearing him any children that she had a handmaid, an Egyptian whose name was Hagar. Because Sarai had not born unto Abram any children—despite the fact that she had joined and accompanied him on this journey of faith and obedience—she advised Abram to go into her handmaid since the Lord had restrained her from bearing and bringing forth children. Scripture reveals and recounts how Abram heartened unto the voice of his wife Sarai, and how he took Hagar unto him as his wife with the blessing and approval. What’s more, is that Abram would go in unto Hagar and as a result of his going in unto her she would conceive and would prepare to bring forth a child into the earth. What is so interesting about the account of Abram, Hagar and Sarai is that as soon as Hagar conceived after Abram had known her, she immediately began to be despised by her mistress. The account within Scripture describes how Sarai said unto Abram that she was wrong in giving Hagar unto him to be his wife, for as soon as Hagar realized she had conceived, Sarai was despised in her eyes. Sarai would even go so far as to declaring unto Abram that the Lord be a judge between the two of them concerning this matter of Hagar and the child that was growing within her womb. As a result of the words of Sarai Abram declared unto her that Hagar was in her hands, and she could do with her whatever she pleased and whatever she saw fit. As a result of these words spoken by Abram, scripture describes how Sarai treated and dealt harshly with Hagar, and so much so that Hagar would not only flee from Abram and Sarai, but would also flee from the place of promise, the place of blessing, and the place of inheritance. Hagar would be pregnant and with child by Abram who was on this journey of faith and obedience, and yet because she was treated harshly by Sarai after having conceived, she felt her only option was to flee from the presence of Abram and Sarai. Moses writes and describes how when Hagar saw and recognized that she was treated harshly by Sarai after having conceived by Abram, she fled from her face into the wilderness. It’s interesting and worth noting that when Hagar fled from the face of Sarai she fled into the wilderness—a reality which seems to be one that is found within and throughout scripture. More often than not when you find and read accounts of those who fled, you will find them fleeing into the wilderness and into that place of solitude, silence and seclusion. Within Scripture you will find example after example of those who fled from the face of one who threatened their lives and their existence, and how more often than those who fled did in fact flee into the wilderness. Scripture is replete with example after example of those who fled from the face and presence of another—examples being Jacob fleeing from Esau, Moses fleeing from Pharaoh, David fleeing from Saul, and Elijah fleeing from Jezebel. Please don’t miss this incredibly intriguing and captivating reality, for there are countless examples found within Scripture of those who not only fled from the face of another, but those who fled into the wilderness as a result.

As you read the account of Hagar fleeing from the face of Sarai you will find that not only did she flee into the wilderness, but it would be there in the wilderness she would find a fountain of water where she would rest. The account o0f Hagar goes on to describe how the angel of the Lord found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness, and it was by the fountain in the way to Shur. What’s more, is that when the angel of the Lord found Hagar there in the wilderness by a fountain of water he asked her two very important and two very specific questions. The first question the angel of the Lord asked Hagar was where she had come from, while the second question the angel of the Lord asked her was where will she go. WHERE HAVE YOU COME FROM? WHERE ARE YOU GOING? WHERE DID YOU COME FROM? WHERE WILL YOU GO? I find this to be absolutely remarkable when you take the time to think about and consider it, for not only do we find and read how the angel of the Lord found Hagar in the wilderness, but also that the angel of the Lord found Hagar by a fountain of water. When the angel of the Lord found Hagar in the wilderness by the fountain of water, the angel asked her two very important, and to very direct questions which were designed and intended on striking straight to the heart of the matter. The angel of the Lord asked Hagar where she had come from, but also where she would go. In other words, it wasn’t merely about Hagar fleeing, but it was about Hagar coming face to face with where she had run from, and what she was running from. When the angel of the Lord asked Hagar where she had come from, I am convinced that he wasn’t merely asking her where she had come from geographically speaking, but he was asking her where she was running from and what she was running from emotionally, mentally, and perhaps even spiritually. When the angel of the Lord asked Hagar where she had come from the angel of the Lord was really asking her what it was she was running from and what it was that happened and took place within her life that brought her to this place. A similar reality is found in the nineteenth chapter of the Old Testament book of First Kings when we find and read the account of Elijah fleeing from the face of Jezebel who had threatened to bring and end to his life. When the word of the Lord came unto Elijah there in the wilderness and there at the cave, the word of the Lord asked Elijah a very important and very specific question—What are you doing here Elijah. What makes this question so incredibly unique is that the Lord didn’t merely ask this question once, but twice. If you read and study this passage in its entirety you will find that after the Lord had spoken unto Elijah in a still small voice after an earthquake, after a wind, and after a fire had manifested were manifested, he asked him what he was doing in the wilderness. Essentially that which the Lord was asking Elijah was why he was in the wilderness and why he had fled into the wilderness. What makes this question so incredible intriguing is the fact that the Lord wasn’t ignorant to what brought and what drove Elijah into the wilderness, for the Lord knew exactly what had happened and what had taken place and why Elijah was in the wilderness as opposed to being in the northern kingdom of Israel.

WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE? WHERE DID YOU COME FROM? WHERE WILL YOU GO? As I sit here this morning I can’t help but consider the questions which the angel of the Lord asked Hagar, for the questions the angel of the Lord asked her weren’t merely designed to speak of a geographical existence and location, but rather they were designed to speak with her concerning her mental and emotional state. Pregnant, desperate, lonely, broken, discouraged, frightened, fearful, and afraid Hagar had fled from the face of her mistress Sarai unsure of her future and what it would hold for her. The only thing Hagar knew for certain was that she could not remain in the house of her mistress and in the house of the man who had gotten her pregnant. Imagine what it must have been like for Hagar to be pregnant and with child and feeling her only option was to flee and run. Oh, I can’t help but wonder how many women find themselves in this place right now in this generation—pregnant, alone, frightened, terrified, confused, confused, and so much more. I can’t help but wonder how many women in this generation and in this life are in this very same situation, for they feel the only option they have is to flee from the face and place of trouble which they felt would completely and utterly destroy them. There is no indication in Scripture of abortion, nor any woman who had made the decision to abort the life that was growing inside and within her womb, however, if the account of Hagar had taken place on a modern stage and in our culture and society today, I can’t help but wonder if she would not have thought about and considered possibly aborting the life that was growing inside her. We don’t know how far along Hagar was, but we do know that she knew she was pregnant. What’s more, is that not only was she pregnant, but she was also pregnant and despised by Sarai because Sarai could not conceive and bear children herself. The questions which the angel of the Lord asked Hagar were not meant to speak unto her of where she had come from in terms of the household of Abram, and even from that specific place within the land of Canaan, but rather what she was running from and what she was attempting to hide from. What’s more, is the question the angel of the Lord asked her regarding where would go was meant to ask her what she would do having fled from the face and presence of her mistress. How absolutely incredible and challenging these questions truly are when you think about and consider them, for these questions were meant to strike at the very heart of what was going on inside Hagar—emotionally and mentally. We knew what was going on inside her physically for there was a life growing inside of her, but this question was meant to strike at the very heart of what Hagar was running from, why Hagar ran in the first place, and where Hagar would run to. Oh I can’t help but get the strong sense that there are men and women right now who have run, and who are currently running from their problems, running from their struggles, running from the conflicts they have faced in this life, and they are seeking some type of solitude away from the struggle, away from the chaos and away from the pain.

WHAT ARE YOU RUNNING FROM? WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO ESCAPE? WHAT ARE YOUR TRYING TO HIDE FROM? The account of Hagar fleeing from her mistress Sarai is an incredible account that speaks to countless men and women in this life and in this generation who have run or are in the process or running from their struggle, running from their conflict, running from their problems, and from the trials and troubles they have faced. The interesting and underlying truth of the matter is that if you do happen to find yourself running or having run from the conflict and struggle you faced int his life, you are not alone, for Scripture is replete with examples of those who have fled and run from their problems, their struggles, their conflicts, and that which has caused them great pain and anguish within their hearts and souls. There are countless men and women who are right now running from their struggles, and who need to hear the voice of the Lord and experience the presence of the Lord as He speaks to them concerning where they are running from and what they are running from. If you are reading these words right now and you find yourself running in this life I would dare present you with the question regarding who you’re running from, and perhaps even what you are running from. This isn’t to say that what you faced is not difficult and was not incredibly trying and taxing, but the Spirit of the Sovereign Lord seeks to underscore and highlight what your re running from and where you are running from. Not only this, but the Spirit of the Lord also seeks to highlight where you think you will go having run from the struggle and conflict which has taken place within your life. Oh, it is always easy to run and it is always easy to hide—just ask Jonah who ran from the call of God; just ask Jacob, Moses, David and Elijah who all fled from murderous threats of others; just ask Adam and Eve who hid from the face and presence of the Lord. Oh I firmly believe the Holy Spirit is speaking to those who are and those who have been hiding, as well as those who have run and those who are running, and is not only calling them out of hiding, but also calling unto them in that place they have run to. It’s interesting and worth noting that when the angel of the Lord spoke unto Hagar he instructed her to return unto her mistress and to submit—a pill which is incredibly difficult to swallow. RETURN TO THE CONFLICT! RETURN TO THE STRUGGLE! THE WORK IS NOT DONE YET! YOUR TIME THERE IS NOT YET FINISHED! Perhaps the single great question we must ask ourselves is whether or not we would be willing to return to the place of conflict and return to the place of struggle considering we made an attempt to flee and run away from it. The question you and I must ask ourselves is not only what we might be running from, and not only where we would go, but also would we be willing to return and submit in that place of conflict and struggle.

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