January 10, 2020
“And you shall call his name Ishmael (God hears), because the LORD has heard your affliction.” (Genesis 17)
The history of Ishmael’s birth is a soapbox drama. Abram and Sarai had not had a child and were past childbearing. Sarai devises an “alternate plan” to give her handmaid, Hagar, to Abram to bear a child.
When the child was born, Sarai became furiously jealous and began to treat Hagar harshly. So Hagar fled into the wilderness. It is there the “angel of the LORD” (which was Jesus Christ Himself) appeared to her and gave her a promise that it was alright and that God would use her son to build a nation also.
She cried out to God (which is called “prayer”) and God heard and answered her prayer. We have no record of her spoken prayer, but merely the heart cry of her affliction.
THE ENGAGEMENT OF GOD
God made us and loves His creation. When we are in distress, in our sinfulness we turn to ourselves or others as the solution to our problem, with disastrous results.
But when, in humility, we cry out to God—regardless of how we got into the mess we’re in—God will hear our cry. And, He will answer the faith that looks to Him.
OBEYING HIS RESPONSE
God’s hearing is impeccable. Perfect in fact. He will hear you if you will cry to Him. And, He will answer. God heard Hagar’s affliction and told her to return to her home (which was the opposite direction). He promised to take care of her in the midst of her persecution and to bless her son.
When God responds to our affliction and answers, it may not be the answer we desire, but His directions in the midst of the problem are always right. That is why, when He speaks, we must instantly obey the promptings of His Spirit and the illumination of His Word.
If you are in affliction, cry out to Him. Look to Him as the only answer for your problem. Expect Him to hear, because He will. Do not put predictions or expectations on what He might say to you. Just listen in humble faith to the Master and instantly follow His leading.
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