And He said, “Hagar, Sarai’s maid, where have you come from, and where are you going?” She said, “I am fleeing from the presence of my mistress Sarai.” the angel of the Lord said to her, “Return to your mistress, and submit yourself under her hand.” – Genesis 16:8-9
This is perhaps one of the greatest questions God has ever asked of anyone in Scripture. It is fatherly in nature and although it was spoken to Hagar so long ago, it still speaks volumes to us today. Even more, it speaks to our hearts every moment.
Our past and future are both important. Through the selfless sacrifice of Christ dying on the cross, we can find forgiveness of sin in our past. But forgiveness does not mean each of us are without a past and it also does not mean that do not act responsibly for what took place in the past. What has taken place in the past has a lot to say about who we are today. And the decisions we make today greatly determine what will become of us in the future. We all have a past and we all have a future. In Jesus today, we are free to make wiser choices.
Once pregnant, Hagar no longer wanted to serve her master Sarai. Her attitude became proud and her behavior showed that she despised Sarai. Her loss of submission created unnecessary grief. Her situation was difficult and complicated, even sinful, but her attitude made it impossible to plan proper actions. When she departed from Sarai, Hagar suddenly realized that she did not know where she was going. Her life became disoriented and lost. Without submitting to Sarai, she no longer knew who she was nor where she was going.
When a person does not know who they are, they also lose purpose and direction. God never made someone because He was bored or had nothing for you to do. He never made you out of nothing for you to do nothing. The great preacher Charles Spurgeon once said that “before we had a being in the world we had a being in his heart.” God has never made anyone without a name.
There was no need for shame. Only for repentance and submission. That is what God spoke to Hagar and also to us. Repent and submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. We belong with Christ and we are made to go on with Him.
God has given you one life to start living now. “Where do you come from and where are you going?”
Your life and His plans are both in His hands.
Jason is founder and evangelist for The Nations Hope and lead pastor of Life Tree Church in San Jose, California. He talks a lot.
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