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  • Monica DuBois

14. Where did you come from and where are you going?

I saw an episode of THE CHOSEN the couple of days ago and was convinced that I should include this question from an angel of the Lord (God) to Hagar. In the episode, one person said this was their favorite story. This chapter was about Hagar, Sarah’s handmaid. She was an Egyptian, so that means she was stolen from her people, or won in a battle, or her parents had decided to join Abram at some point in his journeys. Hagar found herself in a situation that was beyond her control because she was a slave. And then was forced to conceive a child (today we would call this rape), and then hates her owner, Sarai, because it was her decision for Hagar to become pregnant. She decided to run away. But God…verse 7, sent an angel of the Lord to her. The character in THE CHOSEN, liked the story because God was so personal to Hagar, a heathen. He met her where she was.

Genesis 16: 8 “Hagar, Sarai’s maid, whence camest thou? And whither wilt thou go?

God was faithful to Abram and Sarai in their impatience to start their family. He was faithful in His promise to Abram that it would be his seed that mattered, even if it was in Hagar. Hagar had to face God on her decision to run away. And He helped her to see that she was in God’s will, even if she did not believe in Him. He had given her a promise too. God’s grace and providence was visible and available to this foreign slave because God is a God of His Word. He made a way for Hagar where there was no way. She was not part of the promise but was brought into it through the back door. And God covered her! He gave her a plan and a promise just for her. It says in verse 11 “Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael: because the Lord hath heard thy affliction.”

She was incredulous at God’s response to her. She had heard about this God many times in the camp. Abram had spoken of his encounters with Him. She had a sense of fear and of awe now that the God had not only spoken to her but had appeared unto her and she did not die! Now she had something that Sarai did not have, an encounter with God! He sent her back to Sarai to carry out her days as her handmaid. But she went with a promise and a secret motivation to keep her throughout her life.

The Promise: verse 9-12 “Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself under her hands…I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude…Behold thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the Lord hath heard thy affliction…And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.”

We find out that Abraham had been praying for Ishmael all along (in 17:20). An interesting note here, Ishmael was named by God, to Hagar, and then it said that Abram named him Ishmael. God said it, and that was his name. A slave woman would not be allowed to name her son if it belonged to her owner. Somehow Abram knew to name him this. Remarkable!

Abram listened to his wife about this whole matter of not having children yet. After the debacle of Hagar, Sarai wanted to blame Abram in Genesis 16:5, but Abram put all the responsibility back onto Sarai. So, it was Sarai who made Hagar the disagreeable young slave run away. To Sarai’s credit she waited many years before coming up with this plan of having a son through her handmaid (verse 3). We will see in another post, how Abraham takes back the responsibility of this situation.

The angel of the Lord asked, “Hagar, Sarai’s maid, how did you get here? And where will you go?” He wanted Hagar to know her place as Sarai’s maid. She should be there with Sarai. It did not matter if she was mad at Sarai for what she did to her. It did matter that she ran away. And He asked her if she had a plan now that she was away? She obviously didn’t. He asked these questions to help Hagar see her place and her foolishness.

God is so interested in His people and His plans for them that He purposefully reached out to a humiliated and hurt Egyptian girl. She carried Abram’s seed, and God could not let her be to herself, or He would breach His covenant with Abram. God takes His covenants seriously.

Have you found yourself in a situation that someone else put you in; and you don’t know what to do? In your anger and frustration, you run away or “escape” only to have God find you and give you a plan? That was Hagar’s story. God gave her what she needed to return to the family that abused her and she stayed for the next thirteen years.

“How did you get here? And where will you go?”

You should look for God when you get there. He is probably waiting for you! Please leave your story in the comment section or email me at

Thank you for reading!

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