Hagar, Ishmael's Mother

Annaliese Raynak

Who was Hagar in the Bible?

The story of Hagar is an example of God’s heart towards our struggles. She was an Egyptian slave living in the household of Abraham and Sarah. Sarah was unable to have children, so she decided to take matters into her own hands.

She gave Hagar to Abraham so that through her he might be able to continue his line and have a child. Hagar became pregnant, but soon after she grew to resent Sarah. As a result, Sarah treated her harshly and she ran away into the desert.

An angel of the Lord came to Hagar and told her that she should go back to her mistress. He stated that her descendants would be numerous. The angel told her to name the child Ishmael, which means “whom God hears”.

She realized that God was with her, and stated, “You are the God who sees me” and returned home. Soon afterward, she gave birth to a son. However, after Sarah had a son, Isaac, the tension between the two sons of Abraham grew.

After witnessing Ishmael mock her child, Sarah asked Abraham to cast out Hagar and her son, which he did. Hagar wandered in the wilderness with only a little food and water. Once the water ran out, she put her son in the shade of a bush and turned away, for she could not bear to look at him as he died.

However, God spoke to her and told her not to be afraid, for He heard the boy’s cries. God stated that He would make a great nation from Ishmael’s descendants. He opened Hagar’s eyes, and she saw a well full of water to help save her and her son from their plight.

The God who sees

God knows every detail of our lives. Hagar and Ishmael discovered this beautiful aspect of God through terrible circumstances. Ishmael was born out of man’s efforts to bring about God’s plans.

There was a deep lack of trust in God and His ability to bring about His promises. However, when God makes a promise, He is faithful to see it through to completion. Even though Hagar endured mistreatment and dealt with resentment and bitterness, God addressed her fear and restored her.

The first mention of God as El Roi occurs in Genesis 16:13 and is spoken by Hagar. In fact, she was the first individual in the Bible to recognize and describe one of God’s many qualities. El Roi translates to “the God who sees me”.

Amidst the mundane everyday tasks of driving the kids to soccer practice or having dinner with the in-laws we might want to avoid; God sees and values us. During the unexpected phone calls, the sleepless nights, the hospital visits, or even the distressing circumstances that we created ourselves, God sees us and values us.

God witnesses our joys and trials through every step of the constant juggling act that is motherhood. We can rest knowing that when we feel small, insignificant, and unworthy, God calls us his beloved daughters. He has equipped us for such a time as this.


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“The angel of the LORD said to her further, 'Behold, you are pregnant, And you will give birth to a son; And you shall name him Ishmael, Because the LORD has heard your affliction.'" – Genesis 16:11 (NASB)

God's plans are perfect

Today, God’s plans are not deterred by our thoughts, insecurities, or even the conditions that other people have caused in our lives. Like Hagar, even when we wander in the desert, God provides a well of water to restore us. He gently reminds us that He sees every tear and is faithful to complete His good plans for our lives.

Our slavery to sin and our focus on human efforts can be broken when we run to Him for forgiveness and trust in His grace. When we struggle with pride in our circumstances or fight the bitterness of resentment and fear, we can be vulnerable and honest in our pain. He is not surprised by anything that happens in our lives. His heart beats with love and faithfulness towards us.

Turn your eyes to meet the gaze of Christ and come to Him as you are, knowing that He sees and sympathizes with your pain.



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Annaliese Raynak

Annaliese is a storyteller whose passion and purpose is to help others connect their stories to the grand narrative God planned for all creation. Weaving a tapestry of words, she aims to highlight the ultimate source of Truth and help individuals discover their God-given value.

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