THIS PRESENT WAR on terrorism stands hopeless without the intervention of the grace and power of God’s Kingdom under the rule of His begotten Son. He is the One to Whom all authority has been given (Mt 28:18). Even a few people who know this and who understand the sure principles of spiritual aggression can rise up in Him and break in pieces the oppressor (Psalm 72:4).
ON THE WHOLE, THE ARAB NATIONS, nearly all of whom have embraced the Muslim religion founded by Mohammed, stand firm in their rejection of the Lord Jesus Christ as the Son of God. But they are no less loved by God. In fact, He loves them so much that soon it is expected He will move among them by His Spirit and bring about an awakening that will draw many to repentance and faith.
You remember the Word of Psalm 16 that went with the Lord Jesus into the tomb and proved itself more powerful than death itself. Well, there’s a Word in Psalm 72 that will reach into the tomb of spiritual death that holds the Muslim world and draw them into Christ’s life. This is a call to make intercession for them, that they who dwell in the wilderness (Ps 72:9) may be moved upon to consider that the Lord Jesus is indeed God’s Son and, furthermore, that He is appointed to rule all nations, even theirs.
Ps 72 lays down both precept and principle relating to the Arab people who, like Israel, are the offspring of Abraham—Israel through Sarah, the Arabs through Hagar. This Psalm is about the spreading of Christ’s Kingdom over all nations, an amplification of the Covenant Promise of Ps 2. We see in Ps 72 how particularly it enfolds the descendents of Hagar.
Ps 72:8-14—He (the begotten Son of Ps 2:7) shalI have dominion also from sea to sea, and, from the river unto the ends of the earth. They that dwell in the wilderness (the nomadic tribes of the desert, the Bedouins of the Arab world) shall bow before Him and His enemies shall lick the dust. The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents: the kings of Sheba and Seba (representing the European, Asiatic and Arabian peoples) shall offer gifts. Yea, all kings shall fall down before Him: ALL NATIONS shall serve Him. For He shall deliver the needy when he crieth; the poor also, and him that hath no helper. He shall spare the poor and needy, and shall save the souls of the needy. He shall redeem their soul from deceit and violence: and precious shall their blood be in His sight.
What a tenderness the Lord has toward those caught in deceit and violence and whose blood has run on the ground because of their oppressor’s sword!
Here is a principle of spiritual truth I pray will come over on us who know the Lord and who pray.
Before God moves in the earth, He moves first in the hearts of a few to make intercession for what He wills to do. Based on this Word we see in Ps 72, we can say God wills to move in the Arab nations.
HAGAR, EGYPTIAN MAID OF ABRAHAM’S WIFE, was used, abused and not regarded as a person with rights or feelings. She became mother of Ishmael and, thus, Mother of the Arab World. Her story comes in two brief parts. One is in Gen 16 where she is offered by her mistress Sarai to bear a child for Abram. The other is in Gen 21 where she is cast forth from the household where she was a servant. In both accounts she finds her way into the wilderness.
Sarah, when her name was Sarai, said to Abraham, when his name was Abram, I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her—Gen 16:2.
Sarah, before her name was changed, and if her name was significant in describing her character, was not a pleasant person. Sarai meant "contentious," the description of an emotionally distraught, unpleasant, and self-centered person. She also happened to be barren and to be married to a man to whom the Lord had promised a son with heirs. According to her words in the original language, what Sarah asked of her husband with regard to Hagar was emotionally charged. Twice she used a term that was equivalent to "Please hear me! I plead with you!" Her thoughts were toward herself with no regard for the servant girl except as a surrogate womb for her husband’s child. She cared not for the outrage against the girl.
So, Sarai gave her maid to Abram. And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes—Gen 16:4. Now emotion boiled in Hagar.
It was something like hate, a feeling of deep hurt and bewilderment. It caused her to look with contempt on Sarai who then responded to the girl’s emotion with a harshness that added to her humiliation.
In the course of action, Hagar fled. Her name meant "one who takes flight." Perhaps it was given to her in retrospect of this time. More likely, it was a name given to her early to describe a behavior pattern that frequently made it easier for her to flee from trouble than to face it. In any case, it was prophetic because it came on down over her chief descendent.
In Hagar’s tendency to take flight we have a glimpse of Mohammed, her descendent who became the great "prophet" of the Arab nations. In 622 A.D. he made his Hegira from Mecca to Medina which marked the beginning of the Muslim religion. Hegira means "flight" as does the name Hagar.
With regard to Hagar, let us not judge her too harshly. Her trouble was deep. Her mind could not come up with an answer for her condition, so she ran. She did not know where she was running. She just ran and ran and found her way into the wilderness, the desert land where her descendents would live as Bedouins, drawn there because they were bred there.
A wilderness is a waste land with an occasional watering hole, fit only for a few roaming cattle. It offers little as an answer to human woe. Persons who are blinded by circumstance often cannot come up with a reason for their actions. So Hagar ran until she found a little solace, a little fountain, a little bit of strength, but no lasting help.
This is where mercy took over. And the angel of the LORD found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness by the fountain in the way to Shur— Gen 16:7.
Is not this a picture of what the Lord is ready to do today for Hagar’s children? Cannot a visitation come again in the wilderness? Oh, let intercessors take note!
WE ‘RE NOT TOLD ‘WHO HAGAR’S ANGEL WAS. We know he was a Messenger sent from God, maybe the preincarnate Jesus, making one of His merciful appearances before He came in the flesh. His Name is I AM, so He could have come then as well as nearly two thousand years later when He came to die. He’s not bound to time; He’s bound to love.
The Angel called Hagar by name. How magnificent! She was known in heaven. He identified her as Sarai’s maid. How particular the heavenly Visitor’s knowledge was! He asked two searching questions: Hagar. . . whence camest thou? and whither wilt thou go? (Gen 16:8) She had no clear answer. The rage of her heart suppressed her ability to know who she was or what was happening to her. It clouded her mind so she could not think straight or give precise answers. She said, I flee from the face of my mistress Sarai. We might add, ". . .And right now I don’t know who I am, where I’m coming from or where I’m going. I’m bitter because of my abuse."
Her speech revealed her one underlying and consuming thought: "I’ve been wronged. I am filled with rage and fear. Therefore I am running."
The wrong done to her was known in heaven just as the answer to the wrong came from heaven. And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself under her hands—Gen 6:9. The greatest answers do not come by fleeing; they come by listening to heaven’s solution. Such answers sometimes involve returning and submitting. In doing this, Hagar would find provision. And, she could have grown in character, but she did not. She would not—maybe she could not—enter into faith with regard to the Seed God promised Abraham. Therefore, her inner person remained untouched by the mercy that was so wonderfully available to her.
Anyone, even an outraged servant girl lying pregnant in the wilderness, can turn to God and He will release hope into a bad situation. Even if He is not known as Savior, he is Creator. He was and is the God Who openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth—Rev 3:7. He has more doors to open, and more ways to answer, more solutions to problems than could ever be demanded by all the troubles of all the persons who live, or ever lived, or ever will live.
God’s most clear mercy, however, becomes known to those who find their answer by acknowledging His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. This is what Abraham did when he believed concerning the promised Seed. And he believed in the LORD; and He counted it to him for righteousness—Gen 15:6.
Hagar began to find her relief, but not her final answer, when she stopped her fleeing long enough to listen to the Angel of the Lord in the wilderness. She found Him more than ready to listen. The deep beat of her heart, threatened by a trial she could not bear, had a resonance that reached God in heaven. So His salvation came near. God’s Messenger came to listen to her. Heaven had heard her affliction.
Gen 16:11 says, And the Angel of the LORD said unto her, Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael ("The Lord shall hear"); because the LORD hath heard thy affliction. How merciful! Her affliction became her prayer. For He hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither hath He hid His face from him (or her); but when he (or she) cried unto Him, He heard—Ps 22:24. Is this prophetic?
After that visit, Hagar gave God a special name of her own. It may seem a strange name to us who were not there, but it wasn’t strange to her. She called Him Thou God Seest Me. She meant, "You see me. You know where I am and what I am. You have taken time from running all Your worlds to notice me while I am running blind in my sorrow.
Hagar also gave a special name to the place where all his happened. She named it "The well of the living One who sees me"—Beerlahairoi—Gen 16:14. She set up a memorial there—but sadly she carried her outrage with her as she went back under Sarai’s hand.
THE SECOND PART OF HAGAR’S STORY also begins with Sarah, years later. And the LORD visited Sarah as He had said, and the LORD did unto Sarah as He had spoken. For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him. And Abraham called the name of his son that was born unto him, whom Sarah bare to him, Isaac—Gen 21:1-3.
Isaac was the son of heavenly promise through whose line the Lord Jesus came. He, in a great sense, pointed to Jesus.
Consider what happened one day after Isaac grew to become a little boy, probably around the age of three. And the child grew, and was weaned: and Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned. And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking. Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac—Gen 21:8-10.
Ishmael, instead of sharing in the joy of the family, was seen mocking the son of his father. This was not mere innocent joking, but, rather, insolent rudeness. This contempt which Isaac, Abraham’s son of promise, suffered in word and deed was regarded by Paul as an allegory. It pointed to the persecution which true believers would suffer from those who would live in the bondage of the Law given at Sinai (Gal 4:22-31). But we may conclude that mocking was more. It reveals to us the beginning of the contempt Abraham’s descendents through Hagar would hold for his descendents through Sarah. Thus we see how began the strong disdain so many of Arabic descent hold for those of Jewish descent. This comes all the way through history to this present hour to reveal wherein lies the foundation for the motivation behind many present day terrorist attacks.
Where did Ishmael learn this mocking? From his mother. He bore the bitterness of her cause. She had imparted it to him. He picked it up from her, fed on the breast of it, listened to the tone of it, watched the shadow of it, and took it into his own bosom. Eventually, the expression of it began to come from his own heart, as it was bound to come sooner or later. Then it caused more grief to their little family.
Until now Hagar had been safe. She was restored as Sarah’s maid and Ishmael had favor in the family. But, because of her character weakness, which she never allowed to be touched by God’s mercy, she failed in two points. .She allowed bitterness to remain and .she did not see to the proper development of her son’s character. We know she failed in these two areas because of what we see in the boy.
The outrage of a mother’s heart may easily be imparted to a son, or to a daughter. A mother who has been used and abused, and who then fails to forgive, leads her child to pick up her cause. Only in the child it becomes deep seated and void of clear reasoning, and often without restraint. What is second nature to the mother becomes first nature to the child. The process goes on from generation to generation. Physical, mental and emotional abuse may carry an indignation that settles in a soul and manifests itself in expressions of the face, in tones of the voice, and in the forming of ideas. All of these go far in the physical, mental and emotional development of a child who is brought up by a mother holding on to her rage. The outrage of Hagar followed on into Ishmael, and thus, on and on in their descendents.
Hagar passed bitterness to Ishmael. Even though she knew the child born late in life to Sarah was God’s gift, she could not hide the insult that had come to her own soul. So she taught her boy, without being aware of teaching him, to insult Isaac.
THE BITTERNESS OF ISHMAEL, and the mocking of the son God promised Abraham, followed on into succeeding generations who today make up the Arab nations. These nations have largely embraced Islam, the religion of Mohammed. One of Islam’s strongest tenets is that God can have no son. Jesus is mocked as an imposter, as Ishmael mocked Isaac.
Then came the consequence of Ishmael’s act. And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread, and a bottle of water, and gave it unto Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and the child, and sent her away: and she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba—Gen 21:14.
Again it is the wilderness for Hagar, only this time she was sent there. The old man Abraham did it after consulting with the Lord, but that did not relieve the grief of it for the maid. Her faith was not strong enough to reach through the repeated insults and touch the invisible ways of God. Instead, she saw only the miserable provision which could never ward off the death of her child. Her heart became filled with hopelessness.
It was Hagar’s despondency that enhanced her bitterness. It welcomed the blues and drove away faith. And the water was spent in the bottle, and she cast the child under one of the shrubs. And she went, and sat her down over against him a good way off, as it were a bowshot: for she said, Let me not see the death of the child. And she sat over against him, and lift up her voice, and wept—Gen 21:15,16.
And God heard the voice of the lad—Gen 21:17a.
Again we see the intervention of God. He heard, not Hagar’s voice, but the voice of the lad. She cried, but it was not directed toward heaven. The voice of the boy was what reached God. Was he praying? Possibly he was, but probably he was not. His voice gave expression to the plight, the gloom, the forlorn and dim hope for their future. But God heard. Again the best, and perhaps the only, explanation for this is mercy. For He shall deliver the needy when he crieth; the poor also, and him that hath no helper—Ps 72:12.
Sometimes the plea that reaches the heart of God is not according to the formula of a right way to pray.
We remember, This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles—Ps 34:6.
The word cried means just that, to send up a loud wail. That is not a proper way to address the Throne of God, but it can get the attention of God and bring deliverance. So, the lamenting cry of Ishmael brought a visitation from the Lord.
There are two things remaining with us after considering the servant girl in the house of Abraham. One is that the bitter frame of mind that developed in her, and was passed on to her son, has come over on their descendents. It has opened the greater number of them to a religion generated in the mind of a man who was also bitter. He had picked up the outrage of his "mother" and the mocking of his "elder brother." Mohammed wove outrage into a system that has laid hold on the spirits of well over a billion people. Many who embrace Islam are Arabs. Several of their nations are under a bitter Muslim government.
But there is another thing to see. The two visitations of mercy that came to Hagar in the wilderness, though they were born out of wrong concepts of God and out of wrong praying, give a foreview of what will happen to her children in the latter day. They that dwell in the wilderness, the nomads of the desert, shall bow before Him—Ps 72:9.
In reality, the Arab people and Islam do not go together. Islam is a religion of no mercy; Hagar’s children were fashioned for God’s mercy. Our intercession is that they will open themselves to it and acknowledge His Son. As we pray, we can loose them to this.
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