ADVERTISING
 
Saturday, December 14   Sign in or Register
 
Evangelical Focus
 

 
 
 
FOLLOW US ON
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google +
  • Instagram
  • Soundcloud
 

Newsletter
Newsletter, sign up to receive all our News by email.
 
 

POLL
Society
Should Christians join social protests?



SEE MORE POLLS
 

 
TOP 10 MOST VIEWED



Michael Gowen
 

Hagar – Powerlessness

Like Hagar, Paul, and Jesus, we may sometimes need to take the way of powerlessness in order to experience the power of God in our lives.

FAITHFUL UNDER PRESSURE AUTHOR Michael Gowen 24 JANUARY 2016 09:10 h GMT+1
Photo: Tiago Muraro (Unsplash, CC)

Have you ever felt that you were in a position of powerlessness? That things were going on around you that affected you deeply, but you had no control over them whatsoever? That you were caught up in the cogs of a large machine, the cogs were turning, but you could do nothing to stop them or change their speed? It’s the most horrible feeling, when you sense that other people are mapping out your life for you and you can do nothing about it.



That was the position of Hagar. You can read her story in Genesis 16 and 21. She was a slave, which meant that she had no power, even over her own life.



Her status is shared today by 30 million people living in conditions which amount to slavery (according to the Borgen Project) – 22% of them are slaves to meet the sexual desires of others. Yet, as personal maidservant to Sarah, the wife of an immensely powerful and influential man, she led a privileged existence in relation to many women of her day.



And that relatively comfortable life would probably have continued until the end of her life, had Sarah not had an idea. Her husband Abraham had come home one day and told her that God had appeared to him and told him that he would have a son and heir, which all seemed a bit far-fetched, given that they had no children and she was over 70 years old.



Time went on and nothing happened, so she figured that maybe God intended Abraham to have a son through another woman in their household, one of child-bearing age – for children born to a slave were the property of the slave's master. So she gave her maidservant Hagar to him and said, “Sleep with her and raise up a family for me.”



Hagar had no say in the matter, though she was probably quite flattered to have intimate relations with such a powerful man. She became pregnant, but that is where Sarah’s script started to unwind.



Instead of being faithful to her mistress, Hagar began to despise her. So Sarah began to mistreat her; and when this became unbearable, and Hagar maybe feared for the safety of her unborn child, she looked for a way out and she ran away.



That is where God comes into the picture again. As an Egyptian, Hagar had probably not given too much thought to him, so it must have been a big surprise when he sent an angel to her while she was sitting by a spring in the desert, wondering what to do next.



She was even more surprised, no doubt, when he told her to go back to her mistress and submit to her, returning to her position of powerlessness; but he qualified this with a promise that she would have a son – and he would be no ordinary man!



So Hagar gave birth to Ishmael. Even though they both ended up being thrown out of Abraham’s household and very nearly died of thirst in the desert, the Lord fulfilled his promise that he would make Ishmael a great nation (Genesis 21:18); and he has indeed become the father of all the Arab nations.



Powerless Hagar has become the mother of millions and millions of people today.



When we feel that we are in a position of powerlessness, our most obvious course of action is either to find some way to assert ourselves, as Hagar did by despising Sarah’s barrenness, or to run away from the situation, as Hagar did too. But neither of these may be God’s way.



I remember one New Year being in a very uncomfortable job situation where I felt powerless and saying to God, I’m getting out of here into another job. Straight away I felt him say – and it hit me with such conviction – “Fine, but it’s not my best for you.” I’m glad I obeyed him in this, for 6 months and a lot of submission later, opportunities for another job opened up that I could not have imagined.



Paul knew what it was to be powerless: flogged, beaten, in prison, shipwrecked, hungry, thirsty, naked, sleepless (read 2 Corinthians 11:21-33). But the Lord said to him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).



And Jesus “was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth” (Isaiah 53:7). And we too “for Christ’s sake are put to death all day long; we have been considered as sheep to be slaughtered” (Romans 8:36).



That sounds pretty powerless! Like Hagar, and Paul, and Jesus, we may sometimes need to take the way of powerlessness in order to experience the power of God in our lives.


 

 


0
COMMENTS

    If you want to comment, or

 



 
 
YOUR ARE AT: - - - Hagar – Powerlessness
 
ADVERTISING
 
 
 
AUDIOS Audios
 
Julia Doxat-Purser: 25 years of EEA office in Brussels Julia Doxat-Purser: 25 years of EEA office in Brussels

An interview with the socio-political representative of the European Evangelical Alliance about how evangelical Christians work at the heart of the European Union.

 
Ruth Valerio: A lifestyle that cares about creation Ruth Valerio: A lifestyle that cares about creation

Are Christians called to make a difference in environmental care? What has creation care to do with "loving our neighbours"? An interview with the Global Advocacy and Influencing Director of Tearfund.

 
Lars Dahle: Nominal Christianity, a mission field for the church Lars Dahle: Nominal Christianity, a mission field for the church

An interview with Lars Dahle, of the Steering Committee of the Lausanne Movement Global Consultation on Nominal Christianity held in Rome.

 
Testimony: Wildfires near Athens Testimony: Wildfires near Athens

Nico Spies, a Christian worker in Athens, gives details about the wildfires in Greece.

 
PICTURES Pictures
 
Min19: Childhood, family and the church Min19: Childhood, family and the church

The first evangelical congress on childhood and family was held in Madrid. Pictures of the event, November 1-2.

 
IFES World Assembly: ‘Messengers of Hope’ IFES World Assembly: ‘Messengers of Hope’

Students, graduates and staff of the global evangelical student movement reflected together on how the books of Luke and Acts apply to today's universities.

 
Christians at work - the missing link in fulfilling the Great Commission Christians at work - the missing link in fulfilling the Great Commission

Photos of the Lausanne Movement Global Workplace Forum, celebrated in Manila.

 
European Freedom Network Bridge 2019 conference European Freedom Network Bridge 2019 conference

Images of the fifth EFN gathering. Experts, activists, counsellors and church leaders met in Pescara, Italy.

 
VIDEO Video
 
World Evangelical Alliance General Assembly highlights World Evangelical Alliance General Assembly highlights

The World Evangelical Alliance's General Assembly 2019 in Jakarta, Indonesia, brought together 800 evangelicals from 92 countries to pray, worship and cast vision for the new decade of holistic discipleship.

 
What defines a godly leader? What defines a godly leader?

Adrian Reynolds, Associate National Director for the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches (FIEC), explains how a godly leader should be.

 
Kanye West sings to Jesus with inmates Kanye West sings to Jesus with inmates

The hip-hop artist and his gospel choir performed ‘Jesus Is King’ songs in a Houston prison. Images of the Harris County Sheriff's Office.

 
How can we encourage believers to serve Jesus with us? How can we encourage believers to serve Jesus with us?

“It is not just pastors who do ministry. When the saints are doing the ministry too, the Body of Christ is build up and grows towards maturity in the faith”, says Greg Ogden, Chairman Global Discipleship Initiative.

 
 
Follow us on Soundcloud
Follow us on YouTube
 
 
WE RECOMMEND
 
PARTNERS
 

 
AEE
EVANGELICAL FOCUS belongs to Areópago Protestante, linked to the Spanish Evangelical Alliance (AEE). AEE is member of the European
Evangelical Alliance and World Evangelical Alliance.
 

Opinions expressed are those of their respective contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of Evangelical Focus.