God’s call for Hagar to submit to Sarah is a reminder that our submission leads to God’s seeing. When we obey God, even when obedience is counterintuitive, costly and uncomfortable, he will find us, listen to us, meet our need and restore us to his best plan for our lives. Thank God for submission to his will—a costly conduit of the manifold wisdom and provision of God through the difficult places in life!
The Journey // Focus: Genesis 16:9-10
Then the angel of the Lord told Hagar, “Go back to your mistress and submit to her.” The angel added, “I will increase your descendants so much that they will be too numerous to count.”
The challenges and complexities of life are often well beyond our intellectual and spiritual capacities. Many times we find ourselves in situations that require the wisdom and experience of a person who is well above our pay grade.
In this story, Hagar was at wits end. She was a servant girl, and had been moved across the chessboard like a pawn in Sarah and Abraham’s grand scheme. Her mistress had loaned her to sleep with Abraham in order to produce an heir, and Abraham had “all too gladly” accepted Sarah’s “generous” offer. When Hagar found out the encounter had resulted in her pregnancy, understandably, this girl who had nothing and was treated like nothing, became a bit uppity. Finally, she had something in her life to cheer about. As a result of her sudden status, however, her mistress mistreated her—most likely verbally and physically—until Hagar felt there was no other option than to run away.
But in running away, Hagar was running on empty. She had nothing: no means of support, no prospects for the future, and no plans for how to right her listing life. She was in a situation that required wisdom, experience and resources well above her pay grade.
That’s where God stepped in. Talk about Someone well above your pay grade! But God’s plan to right her life was probably not what she was hoping for. He instructed her, “Go back and submit to your mistress.” Yet in that difficult set of instruction was a promise—I will bless your obedience beyond your wildest imaginations (Genesis 16:10), and a guiding principle that would keep the ship of her life from helplessly listing ever again—the Lord had found her in her distress (Genesis 16:7), he had heard her complaint (Genesis 16:11, the son she would birth, was to be named Ishmael, which means, “God hears”), and he had granted her heart’s desire (Genesis 16:12, unlike Hagar, Ishmael would be a person to be reckoned with, and Genesis 16: 10, his descendants would multiple beyond numbering) had restored her dignity (Genesis 16:13-14).
The life lesson that God was teaching Hagar, a principal that he wants us to learn, is that our submission leads to his seeing. When we obey God, even when obedience is counterintuitive, costly and uncomfortable, he will find us, listen to us, meet our need and restore us to his best plan for our lives.
When God calls us to submit, he is simply asking us to surrender to a higher principle and a better plan than our own. When we truly understand what godly submission is, we will gladly embrace it, for there is great security in knowing that we have just turned our life’s challenges over to Someone well above our pay grade.
Thank God for submission to his will—a costly conduit of the manifold wisdom and provision of God through the difficult places in life!