Open your Eyes 2
There’s water in the desert
Introduction: Last week my husband started a new series titled, ‘OPEN YOUR EYES’. It is a teaching series that is designed to help us discover the great things that God has in store for His children. The subtitle for the first part of the series was, ‘Let the light in’. He shared with us about the importance of what we see and how we see on the way we live our lives. Today, I am continuing with the second part in the series. My subtitle is, ‘There’s water in the desert’. So the full title is, ‘OPEN YOUR EYES – There’s water in the desert’. In this message, we will look at the story of a young woman who found herself in a very difficult and life-threatening situation until God opened her eyes to see the solution to her worries. The young woman’s name is Hagar. She was a foreigner and a maidservant to Abraham and Sarah. Her Madam and Master had been married for many years without a child although they had a promise from God that they will have children. After years of waiting and frustration, Sarah persuaded Hagar to have a child with her husband Abraham. In obedience, Hagar got pregnant with Abraham and later gave birth to a son named, Ishmael. Unfortunately, the pregnancy and childbirth did solve Abraham and Sarah’s problems. It made Hagar arrogant and made Sarah angry.
In the process of time, Sarah herself also got pregnant and gave birth to Isaac. As the two boys grew, a rivalry developed between them which ended in Abraham sending Hagar and her son Ishmael away. They were sent away with very little resources to face the harsh and cruel desert. Now, let’s read the rest of story from…
Opening Text: Genesis 21:14-19 So Abraham rose early in the morning, and took bread and a skin of water; and putting it on her shoulder, he gave it and the boy to Hagar, and sent her away. Then she departed and wandered in the Wilderness of Beersheba. 15And the water in the skin was used up, and she placed the boy under one of the shrubs. 16Then she went and sat down across from him at a distance of about a bowshot; for she said to herself, “Let me not see the death of the boy.” So she sat opposite him, and lifted her voice and wept. 17And God heard the voice of the lad. Then the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said to her, “What ails you, Hagar? Fear not, for God has heard the voice of the lad where he is. 18Arise, lift up the lad and hold him with your hand, for I will make him a great nation.” 19Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. And she went and filled the skin with water, and gave the lad a drink.
· Used and dumped by people she loved: After years of service and loyalty to Abraham and Sarah, Hagar found herself thrown out with no place to stay. Her place of safety and security is gone and she is alone. She might have felt used and abused. It is mostly likely that she is filled with anger and bitterness against her former bosses. There are people like Hagar here this morning who also feel used and dumped. Not only that, Hagar was also…
· A single mother without adequate resources: The man who got her pregnant and had a child with her has abandoned her without any adequate support for her child. The only support that she received from Abraham was, some bread and a skin of water. Just enough to last for a couple of days and nothing else for the days ahead. In addition to that, she was…
· Left to survive in a dangerous world: The desert is a harsh and dangerous place. It is a place of severe sunshine, turbulent wind storms and wild animals. It is a place of death where vultures circle the skies looking for victims to pick on. Hagar was thrown out of her comfortable world into this harsh environment without preparation or an adult companion to help her cope and fight her battles. As she struggled in this wild environment, she realized that she was…
· About to lose her child in the desert: Her child was her dream and hope. That was the only thing she got out of her stay in the house of Abraham. She knew that God had promised that the child would be great in the future so she was determined to give the child a chance. But then, she realized that the harsh conditions of the desert and the scarce resources she had were having a terrible effect on her child. Her precious child was dying right in front of her eyes. Everywhere she looked, all she saw was sand upon sand and no place to go to for help. Let’s now look at…
· She provided safety for her child: The first thing Hagar did when she saw the condition of her child was to find a safe and shady place for her. The scripture says, ‘she placed the boy under one of the shrubs.’ In the face of all her challenges, she was determined to see her child live. That is very important. A lot of people give up on their dreams when the going gets tough and abandon the hope of their future. But we learn form Hagar that when the environment is harsh we must still find a place of hope for our future.
· She stayed close to the child: Hagar did not just provide a place of safety for her child; she also stayed close to the child in the opposite direction so she would not see the child die. She refused to allow the child of promise that God had given her to die before her so she turned her face towards God and…
· She prayed for God to intervene in the life of her child: Hagar was aware that God had plans for her child so she cried to the Lord to intervene on his behalf, and God responded.
Interestingly, although Hagar was the one praying, the scripture says, in verse 17 ‘And God heard the voice of the lad.’ That is strange isn’t it? Hagar is the one who lifted up her voice and prayed but the voice that God heard was the voice of the child. Although Sarah was the one praying, God heard the voice of the child. God did not hear her because of how pitiful her condition was but because of the purpose of the child she was carrying. The same is true for us. God hears us because of what we are carrying - our dreams, vision, purpose. Because God has invested His purposes into our hands, He is committed to our survival so that the dream He has given us will also survive.
God is obliged to respond when we call on Him to provide for the dream He has given us
When you pray for the Lord to provide for the dream He has given you, He will respond.
Note the verse 17 ‘And God heard the voice of the lad. Then the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said to her, “What ails you, Hagar? Fear not, for God has heard the voice of the lad where he is.
God asked Hagar an interesting question considering that her condition seemed desperate. The big question He asked her was…
“What ails you?”
In other words, ‘what is your problem?’ or ‘What is wrong with you?’. When God asks you such a question, it means you are talking about a problem He does not see. Or that you are complaining about a problem when the solution is right there before you.
Then after that He gave Hagar three instructions to help her deal with the thing that was ailing her.
1. Fear not - Fear is the enemy of faith. Do not allow the desert you are in to fill you with fear.
2. Arise - God commanded Hagar to ‘arise’. It is a call of hope for her to look up and and rise from the depression of her condition
3. Lift up the child - God wanted to assure her that her dream was not dead. That in the midst of the desert, she could raise up her child to see a better day. When you are surrounded by wild beasts and uncountable enemies, beconfident to lift up the dream God gave you. Don’t allow the desert to kill your child.
After she had done those three things, then, God opened her eyes. Since the Bible says, God Open her eyes, the implication is that the well was there all along. The well was not created in that instant by God. It was there all the time but Hagar could not see it. Something blinded her eyes to the well of water that was close to her.
Why couldn’t Hagar see the well?
· Blinded by bitterness against those who wronged her: It is likely that as she roamed the desert all that she could think of was how badly she had been treated. Maybe she was planning her revenge. As a result she could see the opportunity that God had offered her.
· Blinded by sight of the vast desert all around her: It could also be that she was so overwhelmed by vast desert around her that she could not see a way round her condition. Everywhere she looked, she just saw sand and rocks with not water in sight. Sometimes we allow the major vision to determine what we see.
· Blinded by the dried up resources she had: It is also possible that Hagar was blinded by her dried up resources. She was so kept her eyes on her empty water bottle and never lifted up her head to see the big well of abundant water ahead of her.
· Blinded by her fear of losing her child: She could also have been so preoccupied what the deteriorating condition of her child that she could not think of anything else.
To see the wells that God has provided for you, you must…