Saturday, August 1, 2009

Hagar Day 2: Why Should I?

When studying Abraham, we encounter a complex relationship between the patriarch, his wife, and a legal concubine. Bear in mind that at this time there was no written Law or Ten Commandments denouncing polygamy....When God gave Moses the law, he forbade adultery. Adultery is defined as any sexual relationship outside marriage.

Trials have a way of bringing out either the best or the worst in us. That's because they have the uncanny ability to expose our hearts. ...What springs out of your mouth when things don't go your way?

1. Compare Sarah's response to unexpected consequences with those of Adam and Eve.

When things didn't go the way she had wished, she started complaining instead of looking at what she'd done wrong. When Adam and Eve did wrong, they hid instead of owning up. Both began blaming others.

2.a. How did Sarah bring God into the equation?

He told Abraham that she wished for the Lord to judge between he and Sarah.

b. Have you ever done the same thing? If so, when?

I can't think of a specific time, though one might come to mind later!

3. Explain how Abraham responded to the conflict.

He pretty much wiped his hands of it and said for Sarah to deal with it. In that way, he also judged Hagar by refusing to help her.

4. What was the outcome of Abraham's approach?

Sarah then treated Hagar abusively, and Hagar ran away.

5.a. Who did Hagar encounter as she "fled"?

An angel of the Lord approached Hagar.

b. Recount their conversation.

The angel asked her why she was there. Hagar explained why she was there, and the angel told her to go back and to submit to Sarah.

6. Describe the internal conflict that Hagar may have felt in response to the Lord's command.

Hagar didn't want to be mistreated by Sarah, but she also knew she needed to do what the angel told her to do. She didn't want to submit since she was bearing Abraham's child, but again, that was what she was told to do.

7. Sin caused Sarah to behave irrationally, from an untamed tongue to an uncontrolled temper. Place a check in the boxes below to note the ways you have behaved irrationally. Then ask God to check your heart and cleanse you from these sins.

CHECK: Gossip and backbiting
CHECK: Outburst of anger
CHECK: Cold shoulder
CHECK: Physical violence
CHECK: Overeating
CHECK: Overspending

8. Hagar bore the brunt of Sarah's wrath. Have you ever come out on the short end of the stick? If so, journal about a situation where you were blamed for something you did not do. How did it make you feel, and what did you do about it?

I don't know that this is exactly the same thing, but at work I once felt as though my 'team' was being punished for actually stating what we desired during the school day. It was very frustrating, and I agonized over how to get my point across. I only wanted the best for the children, but our suggestions weren't always taken as such. Over time and continued dedication, I feel like we all overcame the situation, though it wasn't always easy.

9. Hagar received a difficult request--return to a scornful woman and submit. Do you know somebody in a painful place? Rewrite the following verse into a prayer of comfort on that person's behalf.

Father God, I give you all the praise for the kindness and caring that exist in the world. Please give my friend comfort during this difficult time and help me to also offer comfort to her. Let me give her the love that You have given me, Heavenly Father. Though we feel real pain just as Christ felt, we also feel the comfort He brings. 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 NIV

Here is a fantastic quote by Joni Eareckson Tada:

You don't have to be alone in your hurt! Comfort is yours. Joy is an option. And it's all been made possible by your Savior. He went without comfort so that you might have it. He postponed joy so that you might share in it. He willingly chose isolation so that you might never be alone in your hurt and sorrow.