Get Rid of That Slave Woman
The story of Hagar offers many a lesson. The first being that ostracism can be from God.
In defense of her child and in a long-begotten jealousy against Hagar, Sarah says to Abraham in Genesis 21:10 that he should “get rid of that slave woman and her son…” meaning Hagar and her son with Abraham, Ishmael.
The thought of his son Ishmael no longer in the household coupled with whatever else Abraham had going on brought him so much stress that God interrupted his anxieties in the next few verses saying, “[dont be so] distressed about the boy and your slave woman. Listen to whatever Sarah tells you…”.
Now, from Hagar’s point of view Sarah has just ostracized her and Ishmael, God has okayed it, and Abraham shows them where the door is — ouch.
It’s hard to think about a God that’s okay with family, friends, and organizations excluding you. Even blessing those that blatantly don’t like you and have no problem showing or saying just that. Psalm 91 describes only seeing the reproof of the wicked with our eyes, but from a certain vantage point it seems we see only their benefit — their weddings, the birth of their children, their finances increasing, and their business booming while we remain outside the loop of blessings.
Only, God will allow people to exclude you, shun you, exile you because He has not. In fact, He has something for us in our exclusions that require a specific level of attention paid, time alone, and silence that He invades with action, companionship, and His voice. Lesson here: don’t take it personally, search for where and what He is providing.
Yahweh allows Hagar and Ishmael’s exclusion because He has something for Hagar to see and for Ishmael to receive within their deserted places.
This doesn’t change the fact that ostracism and isolation hurt. They invite loneliness, thoughts of depression, questions of worthiness and more, but just as God cares for the ninety-nine He similarly cares for us as individuals. His care including purpose, provision, and for the purposes of alliteration — a plan for our alone-ness.
God speaks to Moses via the burning bush alone. Jesus speaks to the Woman at the well alone. Joseph spends two years in prison waiting on God alone. The Woman with the issue of blood pushes through the crowd to Jesus alone. Jesus himself spends forty days…