ISSL Reflections January 9 2022 Genesis 21:8–20 Post 2

I asked in the last post to notice how you “regard” the folks you encounter here. What impression do they make on you? Look at them again and notice the strengths or lack of strength they bring.

Genesis 21:8-20 (NRSV)

The child grew, and was weaned; and Abraham made a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned. But Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, playing with her son Isaac. So she said to Abraham, “Cast out this slave woman with her son; for the son of this slave woman shall not inherit along with my son Isaac.” The matter was very distressing to Abraham on account of his son. But God said to Abraham, “Do not be distressed because of the boy and because of your slave woman; whatever Sarah says to you, do as she tells you, for it is through Isaac that offspring shall be named for you. As for the son of the slave woman, I will make a nation of him also, because he is your offspring.” So Abraham rose early in the morning, and took bread and a skin of water, and gave it to Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, along with the child, and sent her away. And she departed, and wandered about in the wilderness of Beer-sheba.

When the water in the skin was gone, she cast the child under one of the bushes. Then she went and sat down opposite him a good way off, about the distance of a bowshot; for she said, “Do not let me look on the death of the child.” And as she sat opposite him, she lifted up her voice and wept. And God heard the voice of the boy; and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven, and said to her, “What troubles you, Hagar? Do not be afraid; for God has heard the voice of the boy where he is. Come, lift up the boy and hold him fast with your hand, for I will make a great nation of him.” Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water. She went, and filled the skin with water, and gave the boy a drink.

What do you think of Abraham and Sarah?

Who does each “love” and how do they demonstrate that “love”?

Or maybe I should ask, do you think they show love for any others in this account?

Given who they show any “love” for, how does that lead them to act towards others in this account?

We’re told Hagar “wandered about in the wilderness of Beer-sheba.”

I assume we are to take it that Hagar physically wandered in an area that one way or another was barren and uninviting.

But, that leads me to wonder if “wilderness” might also be a metaphor for where others in this account “wandered” about. How would you describe the barren places they lived in? Were they aimless in their wanderings in these barren places? What hope did they have of exiting these barren places and finding hope and life?

{ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est}

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