Scripture Text (click to open in a new window):
1. When forced to do what you don’t want to do (like saying “good-bye” or breaking up with someone), what motivates you to do it anyway?
2. According to the apostle Paul, what truth about God’s covenant is illustrated by Sarah and Hagar, Isaac and Ishmael (see Galatians 4:21 – 31; Romans 9:6 – 9)?
3. What family relationship causes you the most stress? Why? How do you handle the pressure?
4. If you are a single person (with or without children), how can you relate to Hagar? How do you need God’s provision or support?
5. How much conflict do you suppose Abraham and Sarah’s marriage experienced because of Hagar and Ishmael? What part did God play in resolving that conflict?
6. If you are married, how does (or could) God and your faith help you deal with conflict in your marriage?
7. If you are a parent, in what way can you identify with Sarah? With Abraham? With Hagar? What would you like God to say or do for you in your parenting role?
8. If you are divorced, what effect has your divorce had on your child (or children)? What can you do to help them not feel like Ishmael – rejected and dejected?
9. Comparing yourself to Hagar, what are your feelings about God?
- I feel bitter toward God because people like Abraham and Sarah have really let me down
- I feel like God has forgotten about me and I ‘m out in the desert on my own
- I’m hurting right now, but I do believe God hears me
- God gives me what I need when I need it; I’m learning to trust
- God has provided for me but I’m still concerned about the future
One of my pet peeves is the perpetuation of false assumptions about certain Bible personalities (especially a person’s age or level of maturity). Timothy (in the New Testament) and David (in the Old Testament) readily come to mind. Today’s example – Ishmael. He was 17 years old when he and Hagar were kicked to the curb. Although he was evidently still immature and very much dependent on his mother, he was not an infant or a toddler when God heard him crying.