As I study the scriptures, God sometimes uses very familiar stories to illustrate new TRUTH to my heart. He can take something that I have known for many years and completely revolutionize my understanding of it to open my eyes and my heart to something new.
Looking back in the Old Testament this week, I have read and reread the story of Hagar in Genesis chapter 16. We all know that her story is in two parts and the second time she finds herself alone in the wilderness, we see a beautiful illustration of the grace of God. She has an encounter with the God who sees.
As I was reading the first part of Hagar's story, my eyes kept going to verse 8 where the Angel of the LORD said this to her, "Hagar, Sarai's maid, where have you come from and where are you going?"
I don't know why I became fixated on those words, but they just kept going over and over in my head. It was like the Spirit of the Lord was asking me that same question. 'Beth, where have you come from and where are you going?"
Hagar knew where she had come from, but she certainly didn't know where she was going. She was leaving one place but really had no where to run to. She had no destination in mind. She was just going.
I fear that a lot of us are in that same place. We are just going. We don't really have a destination in mind. We don't really have a place to go. We are simply leaving something behind and just going.
No place that we have come from can prevent us from the journey of where we are going. If we have left a place of uncertainty and a place of unrest, we can be assured that there is a better place ahead of us. A place where Christ is waiting with open arms to welcome us back into fellowship. If we have left a place of sin and shame, we can head to the loving arms of Jesus who wants to forgive and redeem and restore. There is a better place!
We have all come from somewhere and God certainly knows that place. There is no place too bad. No place too far away. No place that is unseen by our heavenly Father.
One reason I think so many of us are wandering in the wilderness is because we have let the world come in and snatch away our time and attention. There are so many things vying for our time and so many things that occupy our minds when we should be spending time in the Word of God letting Him fill us up with holiness and righteousness!
We need to be filling our selves up with the Bread of Life. We need to be devouring His Word and allowing it to penetrate deeply so it can change us. His Word will transform us. His Word will give us a destination.
I came across something online this week that just blew my mind. It was an article about a young Jewish woman with a crazy Jewish mother and she has started a website where she posts all of the texts that her mother sends her every day. The texts have absolutely nothing to do with Christ. They aren't encouraging or uplifting. They have no scripture in them and they don't glorify God in any way. Yet, this young woman has over 300,000 people following this account. I don't know about you, but that saddens me greatly. If she were posting scripture, I doubt if she would have 300 followers. I don't have that many followers on this blog and I try to glorify God in each post.
Do you see the problem? We don't know where we are going. We are wandering in the wilderness and we have lost our focus and lost our sense of priority. We must get God back into our lives. We must allow Him to be our guide and we must purpose to follow Him and obey Him and do those things that glorify Him. We need to look up! This life is short and we are wasting our time on things that are not kingdom minded. We are wasting our time being voyeurs into the lives of other people instead of being investors into those same peoples lives to win them for Christ!
It's time to go to a new place of Grace. It's time to leave the past behind and look to a future that is focused on our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
"Restore us, O God;
Cause Your face to shine
and we shall be saved"