Saturday, October 15, 2011

God's Goodness in Answered Prayer

Genesis 21:17 God heard the lad crying; and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What is the matter with you, Hagar? Do not fear, for God has heard the voice of the lad where he is.

When Impatience Accompanies the Christian walk
Not all was peaceful in Abraham's house when Isaac, the child of promise, the long awaited fulfillment, had finally been born.  Years earlier Abraham and Sarah grew impatient with God, and so Sarah gave her slave Hagar to Abraham to be his wife.  Much was done wrong in the whole decision, but chiefest of the issues was that Abraham and Sarah and Hagar all assumed God had forgotten His promises.  Hagar got pregnant and gave birth to Ishmael.  Now Abraham had an heir - but it was not God's chosen heir. 

Is God Good no matter what?
The above event occured in Genesis 16, and now it is 13 years later in Genesis 21.  After Isaac, the son of promise is born, Ishmael, now 13, taunts Isaac.  Sarah tells Abraham to get rid of Hagar and her son, and so they are sent packing into the desert.  It is a hostile environment, and soon Hagar and her son run out of water.  Life was draining  from the both of them - and all seemed lost.  The text of Genesis 21 tells us that Hagar set her boy at a distance, under a bush. He is crying because he is hungry, scared and dreading his pending demise.  However Hagar is weeping, not only for herself and her boy, but crying out to God.  Will He hear?  Is He listening?  In Genesis 16, some 13 years earlier, this same situation had occured.  She cried out to God, and He came as the Angel of the Lord.  She evidenced a heart of faith.

God's Goodness is seen in answered prayer
But now would He hear her again?  Is he still the God who sees?  He is!  The Angel of the Lord appears to her once again - most likely an Old Testament appearance of Jesus Christ.  God permits what he hates in order to accomplish the good He intends.  He knew this was going to happen, yet He used the circumstance to reveal His goodness.  He preserved both Hagar and her son, He answered prayer.  Psalm 102:17 reminds us - "He has regarded the prayer of the destitute and has not despised their prayer." 

God dealt personally with Hagar in a redemptive way - He heard her prayer.  His immediate plan for her was situated in His ultimate plan for her son and the situation in which she found herself.  Paul in Galatians 4:21-31 points back to Hagar's expulsion from Abraham's household as a picture of how the Law of God points to the need for the Grace of God.  More could be said on this point, however for our purposes here today, we will move on to understanding how we know God is good all the time.   

How we know God is Good all the time
God's purposes for His people and His answers to prayer never conflict with the motives pertaining to what He permits to enter into their lives.  As Romans 8:28 reminds us - All things work together for the good, to those who love God, who are thee called according to His purpose.  God's goodness is seen in answered prayer.  As you pray, not only fix your eyes on God's goodness, but remember that while waiting for your answer, God can even reveal His goodness in the process of your waiting - you and I just need to ask Him to help us see it. 

No comments:

Post a Comment