Abraham sends Hagar away along with their son. Abraham is extremely wealthy and obviously cares for his firstborn son because he is very displeased when his wife, Sarah, demands that he send them away (for they will not share in Isaac’s inheritance); however, God tells Abraham to do as his wife says (Genesis 21.11).
What is surprising is how little Abraham is allowed to give Hagar and his son for their journey. The Bible reads that Abraham 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” (Genesis 21.14 ESV).
Abraham gives Hagar some bread and a single skin of water. This meager supply of resources doesn’t even get the son and mom duo across the wilderness. And notice everything was put on Hagar’s shoulders. She has to bear the burden of trying to survive with no one to help her.
Hagar comes to the end of herself and places her son down to die. Even though she sits a distance away, she never leaves him. She has carried her promise as far as she humanly can. Though all seems lost and death is imminent, she does not try to save herself by abandoning him. It is interesting to note that when Hagar cries out, God is recorded to hearing the voice of the boy and not hers (Genesis 21.17). It was God’s promise to Hagar that moved Him, not the effort she put forth.
Finally, Hagar is included with the Patriarchs and receives a blessing for her son and offspring: “Up! Lift up the boy, and hold him fast with your hand, for I will make him into a great nation.” Hagar opens her eyes and before her is a wellspring, and she takes her withered, dried skin and fills it with water and gives it to her son. God beautifully transforms desolation into abundance.
1. The world will not give us the full resources we need to see our promise fulfilled.
2. God will bring us to the end of our resources before He blesses us with His abundance.
3. The test is not whether we work hard enough for our promise. The test is whether we will not abandon our promise in the wilderness.
4. God fulfills his promises to us not because of our faithfulness but because of His faithfulness to His promises. All of our efforts fall short of God’s glory, so He relies on His perfection, extending love, mercy and grace to us.
5. God will provide a wellspring of life in the middle of our wilderness if we do not give up.
6. God loves to make something out of nothing in order to magnify His love, glory and faithfulness in our lives as a demonstration to an unbelieving world.
7. We must not rely on our strength or the strength of others. Only God’s mighty hand can redeem our promises and bring them to pass against all odds.
“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” (Genesis 21.19 ESV).