Genesis 21:8-20 by Pastor Dan Walker
Mothers have an awesome responsibility and privilege of raising children for God. In this message, we look at how God gave His promises to a mother named Hagar in a difficult situation. Learn the promises of God that will give you hope and strength in your role as a mother.
Duration:37 mins 21 secs

Happy Mother's Day, what a beautiful day. To start us off today, let’s watch a short video entitled “Mother’s Day Prayer.” In preparing for this message, I did some research on the origins of Mother’s Day. I was surprised to learn that Mother’s Day got it’s start in the US just in this century. Anna Jarvis was born to Ann Marie Jarvis in 1864 in Webster, West Virginia, the 9th of 11 children. Anna’s mother taught Sunday School. One day Anna was in class listening to her mother teach a lesson on the “Mothers of the Bible.” At the end of the lesson Anna’s mother prayed that someone, sometime would found a memorial mother’s day honoring mothers.

Anna never forgot that prayer. When her mother passed away on May 9, 1905 Anna made a vow to establish a Mother’s Day by the grace of God. At each anniversary of her mother’s death, Anna held a local memorial service for her. She passed out a carnation (her mother's favorite flower) to each person who attended. Anna wrote hundreds of letter and spoke at many functions promoting the idea of a Mother’s Day. She wanted to let our mothers “know that we appreciate them, though we do not show it as often as we ought” Within the next few years, the idea of a day to honor mothers gained popularity, and Mother's Day was observed in a number of large cities in the U.S.

On May 9, 1914, by an act of Congress, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the second Sunday in May as Mother's Day. He established the day as a time for "public expression of our love and reverence for the mothers of our country." I think it was a good idea. I think that the dream Anna had was from God. He helped that dream become a reality that we enjoy today.

Everyone here has a mother, no exceptions. We are grateful for our mother's love. A mother's job is immense. In many homes she is the primary caregiver, spending the most time with the children. She cares for physical needs, feeding, changing diapers, giving baths, washing clothes, buying groceries and cooking. She prays for her children, sings and reads to them. She teaches them about life, about family and about God. Raising children is a huge job of great significance.

Sometimes a mother may feel alone in her mothering. The task may seem overwhelming. Sometimes problems happen, where do you turn? Some mothers are alone, some are single, divorced or widowed. Others have husbands who for one reason or another aren't able to help much. Even if your husband is great at helping, sometimes you may still feel alone. In those times God is there.

Today, we’re going to look at the story of a mother who felt all alone and see how God responded to her. My message today is entitled: God’s Promises for Mothers The mother we’re going to be talking about was named Hagar. Let me tell you Hagar’s story which is found in Genesis 21.

Abraham was married to Sarah, but they were childless. Rather than wait for God’s promise to be fulfilled, Sarah followed the customs of the society and gave her maidservant Hagar to her husband to have children. Hagar bore a child who was named Ishmael. 

When Ishmael was 14, Sarah finally became pregnant and had a son Isaac. When Isaac is weaned, Abraham and Isaac hold a great feast. In the midst of the feast, Sarah notices Ishmael mocking. It is more than she can take and she tells Abraham to get rid of Hagar and her son Ishmael. Abraham was distressed over this turn of affairs and asked God what to do. God told him to send Hagar and Ishmael away and He would care for them.

So Abraham sends Hagar and Ishmael off with provisions for the journey. So under these unusual circumstances, Hagar becomes a single mother. She wanders away into the desert with her son. Their provision of food and water was soon exhausted and she put her son under a bush to shade him from the sun. Her situation seemed hopeless, she was alone and afraid. What could she do? Today, we’re going to look at three promises from God for mothers that Hagar learned.

Promise 1: God hears

When you’re all alone, you want someone to notice, you want someone to hear your call for help. The good news is that God is everywhere and God hears your cry.

Genesis 21:16 (ESV)  Then she went and sat down opposite him a good way off, about the distance of a bowshot, for she said, “Let me not look on the death of the child.” And as she sat opposite him, she lifted up her voice and wept.  

God heard the cry of this mother's heart. She wasn't thinking about herself, but about her son. A mother's heart puts her children's needs above her own. She couldn't bear to see him suffer and die. She wanted the best for him. God heard Hagar's cry and He will hear your cry. He will not only hear your cry but God hears your child's cry.

Genesis 21:17 (ESV)  And God heard the voice of the boy, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What troubles you, Hagar? Fear not, for God has heard the voice of the boy where he is.   

Notice that verse 17 tells us that "God heard the boy crying" twice. Sometimes a mother feels it is all up to her care for her children. In this case Ishmael’s father, Abraham was not there to help. Whether an earthly father there or not, God is a Father to your children. He knows their needs and hears their cry. God will make up for the things that you as a mother cannot do. No matter how difficult the circumstances, we can trust the promise that God hears our cries.

Raising children today with both spouses present is a challenge. How much more challenging for a single mother or for those whose husbands are not believers. God hears the cry of a mother who is trying to be a godly mother, but whose husband is absent physically or spiritually. God hears the cry of those children without a godly father at home. Whatever the situation, know that God is aware. He’s not aloof, He hears when you call.

As a mother, what difficult situation do you find yourself in? Perhaps your child has some type of disability, may be a physical, learning, emotional or spiritual difficulty. Cry out to God. God will hear your cry. Trust him. You are not alone. Here is a verse of promise for mothers.

Psalm 34:17 (ESV)  When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.

Trust in this promise. God hears your cry. Not only does God hear, but God is not silent

Promise 2: God speaks

It’s good to know that God is listening, that God hears when you call to Him. But as a mother, you need more than that. You need to hear from God. And the wonderful truth is that God speaks, God speaks direction. In challenging circumstances, you often don't know what to do. God gives direction. He wants to show you what step we are to take next. He wants to show you the right direction.

Genesis 21:18a (ESV)  Up! Lift up the boy, and hold him fast with your hand, …

When Hagar didn’t  know what to do, God gave her direction to get moving in the right direction. But direction is not enough, God speaks hope.

Genesis 21:18b (ESV)  .. for I will make him into a great nation.”

Hagar’s son Ishmael was not going to die. God was going to make him into a great nation. God gave Hagar hope for the future. So for mothers today, God speaks hope. Hope that there is a great future for your children. Hope that all your work not in vain. Hope beyond today's difficulties. Hope that gives strength as you follow God's direction. For every mother that trusts in God, God speaks direction and hope.

 Every mother wants a good future for her children, things like education, marriage and career. Most importantly, every godly mother wants her children to know the Lord, to be saved and follow the Lord all their lives. As you cry out to God, God will give direction and hope for the salvation and future of your children.

When I was four my mother told me about Jesus. She told me that he loved me and died to take away my sins. She told me to just say sorry for my wrong and ask Jesus to be the Captain of my life and I did.  I have never regretted that decision. It was the  most important day of my life.

The most important thing in life for my mother was to see her children walking with God. God has different times for different children to come to Him, some very young, others older. As you ask God, He will give you direction and show you how to teach children about Him, whether they are young, teens or gone from home. God gives hope that your prayers will be answered and your children will walk with God. Here’s a second promise of God for mothers

Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV)  For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

God has plans for you and your children, plans to give you great hope with a great future in store. Open up your heart to hear God speaking, giving direction and hope. Not only does God hear and speak, but ...

 Promise 3: God provides

It’s not enough just to know that God hears or to even hear God speak to you about the future. The good news is that God provides your needs.

Genesis 21:19 (ESV)  Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. And she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink.  

Was the well right there and she hadn't seen it or did God create it? We don't know. We do know that the well met her and her boy's need of the moment. Bible records Hagar first went met her boy's need before her own. That’s the love of a mother's heart. In the process of serving, her needs were met as well.

Not only does God provides our needs, but God provides His presence. We don't just have needs once, we have ongoing needs, so we need God with us.

Genesis 21:20 (ESV)  And God was with the boy, and he grew up. He lived in the wilderness and became an expert with the bow..

God was with the boy and God was with his mother. Doesn't it give your heart comfort as a mother to know that God is with your child? His presence goes with them, protects them, guides them and provides their needs. God's presence is with you as well. You can trust in God's promise to provide.

Most often you’re not dealing with major calamities on a day to day basis. You have the daily grind of all your responsibilities. Seems like too much to do and too little time. No one seems to notice all you've done. Sometimes, everything seems to go wrong. God is there in those times. Offer up a silent prayer "Help."

God's presence will be with you and He will provide our needs. Don't be discouraged. When your best doesn’t seem to be getting the job done, open your eyes to see God’s provision. He is there with you. Trust in God's promise to provide.

Isaiah 41:10 (ESV)  fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

God is there right with you. Don't be afraid, don't be discouraged, don't feel defeated. God is saying to you this morning, “I will strengthen you, I will help you and I will uphold you. Trust in God's promise to provide.

We've learned from the story of Hagar this morning about trusting in God's promises. Moms never forget - God hears, God speaks and God provides. He is always with you and your children. These promises don't just apply to mothers but to all of us.

Are you trusting in God's promises? Are you choosing to trust and not be afraid?  To trust and not be discouraged? God can help us open up our hearts to his presence to his voice. If you have committed your life to Jesus you can hear his voice.