Simple Faith – Genesis 16

A great injustice was done to Hagar. She didn’t ask to be a slave in Egypt. She didn’t ask to be given to a foreigner and then taken to another land. And after ten years, I doubt if she asked to be given sexually to Abram.

But when she conceived, “She looked with contempt on her mistress.”

And she probably had good reason. Remember Sarai had allowed herself to be given to Pharoah who almost took her sexually. That deceit caused Hagar to lose all she had known. 

And Abram didn’t want to get in the middle of two women. He’d already tried to please his wife by “embracing” Hagar and lost. So he punted again, afraid to lose with Sarai, but knowing he could lose his child, the only heir he might ever have.

Sarai was wrong to treat Hagar harshly. Only God can judge if Hagar was wrong to run.

But what we learn as Hagar weeps at the spring in the wilderness is that God sees EVERYTHING. He saw all of Abram’s sin, Sarai’s sin, and Hagar’s sin. 

He seeks us out and finds us, just as he sought out Adam and Eve, Cain, and so many others. He wants to dialogue with us, not because he doesn’t know the situation, but because it is healing, clarifying, for us to talk out loud. Dialogue builds relationship. And Hagar needs relationship if she is going to have the strength to return.

She also needed a vision, not of the reality that Sarai is really mad, but that she has a purpose before God. She was to have a son, and even though he would cause conflict, he would, and she would, survive.

Her response: “Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.” 

She trusted God would “look after me.” She couldn’t trust that Abram would, even though he slept with her. And she couldn’t trust that Sarai would, even though she was her master.

But she knew God would take care of her.

Simple faith.

What do I need simple faith in that God will take care of me?

Words of Thankfulness – Philemon

 So just how does Paul feel about Philemon? What is their relationship like? This verse lays it out for us…

I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers,
because I hear of your love and the faith that you have
 towards the Lord Jesus and for all the saints,

First, he thanks God for him…always. Not once in awhile, but always. I have great kids, a great husband, but I’m not sure that I have “always” thanked God for them.

But when Paul thinks about Philemon, his heart is overwhelmed with gratefulness. I wish I could crawl into his mind and remember what he was remembering, but whatever it was, it was beautiful. 

And Paul prays for Philemon. Think about it – what would it be like for Paul to pray for you? Would it be prayers of thanksgiving, or prayers for strength, confession, maybe humility? What would his prayers be for me?

And why did Paul thank God for Philemon? He was hearing, even in prison, how Philemon was loving the people around him. He was hearing about Philemon’s faith as he trusted God. And he was hearing how that love and faith were directed not only to God but to those around them.

What a wonderful way to be remembered? Philemon put feet to his faith, and his reputation went before him. Can’t you see Paul writing at his makeshift desk, smiling, musing, remembering what he had heard about Philemon.

Lord, help me put feet to my faith…