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Ishmael? - That's a good name!

Growing up in the Western church I always heard about Ishmael in a negative light. He was "Abraham's mistake." It's not Ishmael's fault he was born! I've met a few people named Ishmael over the years and wondered why anyone would choose the name of a "banished vagabond" as a name for their child. Even though I understand the prophecies the Lord gave Hagar about Ishmael, I see it a little differently today.

As I awakened to start my crazy day at 5 AM like I do every day of the week, I was already tired. It's difficult to start out the day tired, but caregivers understand that things just have to be done, tired or not. My early morning thoughts were about Hagar at the well and how she was elated that God could see her and her unborn son. So I opened up my Bible to Genesis 16 and scanned through the chapter.

Hagar ended up in this position because of an injustice. Her master was Abraham and his wife, Sarah. Hagar was given to Abraham for the purpose of bearing a child to begin with. That was the goal. This was due to Sarah's impatience while waiting on the promised of God. We know two women in one house are not going to get along. Verse 4 says that Hagar looked down on Sarah because she had conceived but I have a suspicion that Sarah might have had a little jealousy herself. Anyway the two parted ways under not-so-pleasant circumstances.

Pregnant Hagar is driven away after being "treated harshly." Could it get any worse for her? Here's where it gets good. Verse 7 says now the angel of the Lord found her  by a spring of water in the wilderness. If he found her, he was looking for her! The angle sent her back (never quite understood that) but before he did, he told her to name the child Ishmael - God hears. Then in verse 13, Hagar realized that God saw her there at the well. She said, You are the God who sees.

There are three points that brought me comfort this weary morning. One was that God found Hagar - He was seeking her out. The second thing is that God hears - even though there was no mention of prayer. And the third thing is that God sees. He has found me! He hears the deepest unspoken cries of my heart! And He sees exactly where I am!

Today I will meditate on the truth that He does know me, He sees me and He hears me. Call me Ishmael!

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