March 25, 2024

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Genesis 21:15-20 - When the water in the skin was gone, she put the child under one of the bushes. Then she went and sat down opposite him a good way off, about the distance of a bowshot, for she said, “Let me not look on the death of the child.” And as she sat opposite him, she lifted up her voice and wept. And God heard the voice of the boy, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What troubles you, Hagar? Fear not, for God has heard the voice of the boy where he is. Up! Lift up the boy, and hold him fast with your hand, for I will make him into a great nation.”


This passage from Genesis tells the story of Hagar and Ishmael after they were sent away by Abraham at Sarah's request. With their provisions running out, Hagar despairs and leaves Ishmael under a bush, not wanting to watch him die. She weeps, but God hears Ishmael's voice and sends an angel to comfort Hagar, promising to make Ishmael into a great nation. God then opens Hagar's eyes to see a nearby well, allowing them to drink and survive. The passage closes with a short summary of Ishmael growing up in the wilderness and becoming an archer and his mother finding him an Egyptian wife.


This story powerfully displays God's care and provision for all people, not just those we might expect. Though born out of Abraham and Sarah's unwise attempt to fulfill God's promise on their own, Ishmael was still under God's protection. Even when Hagar had given up hope, God heard Ishmael's voice and rescued them. As Jesus would later teach, God sends rain on the righteous and unrighteous alike. His love extends to all children, whether born in or out of wedlock, whether part of God's covenant plan or not. He cares for the outcast and downtrodden. This should give us great hope that no matter our family background or status in life, we are seen by God. And it should convict us to extend that same compassion to all children, regardless of their circumstances. No child is unwanted or unloved in God’s eyes.


Heavenly Father, thank You for the beautiful picture we see in this story of Your heart for all children, especially those the world considers unimportant or illegitimate. Give us eyes to see each child as precious and made in Your image. Break our hearts for those who feel abandoned and hopeless, and use us to show them Your unfailing love. Remind us that Your grace knows no bounds, and may we reflect that vast love to everyone we meet. In Jesus’ name, amen.