Almost everyone I know has been wounded to one degree or another. It doesn’t matter if a person is young or old, rich or poor, intelligent or ignorant, healthy or infirm, educated or illiterate. We’ve all experienced wounds. While some are superficial and others are destructively deep, all wounds hurt. The ones that have hurt me the most are the wounds inflicted by God’s people—people I had come to love and trust. People who profess faith. People who say they have a relationship with God. People within my extended family or my church family. If those wounds are left to their natural course, they can fester into deep bitterness, resentment and anger that infect my relationship with God.
Maybe that’s one reason the Bible has so much to say about wounds. And the wounded. And the wounders. Throughout Scripture, we feel the pain, we hear the cries, we see the revenge. Often we observe the wounded becoming wounders with the cycle being repeated from person to person and generation to generation. But throughout the gripping narratives, God’s love is contrasted with the pain like sunlight emerging in silver streaks from behind a blackened cloud.
The Old Testament story of Hagar is a story of God’s love, which is broad enough, deep enough, high enough and long enough to embrace the wounded … and the wounders … and bind up the hurting heart.
READ GENESIS 16:1-16
The Cycle 16:1-6
Who was Sarah, according to Genesis 11:31?
What were some of Sarah’s wounds that had been inflicted before she became a wounder? See Genesis 11:27-32; 12:1, 4-5; 12:10-13:1; and 16:1.
Who was Hagar? See Genesis 16:1.
How do you think Hagar came to be in Abraham’s household?
How did Sarah wound Hagar?
How did Hagar wound Sarah in Genesis 16:3-4?
Using your imagination, what do you think were some of Hagar’s wounds that she experienced before she became a wounder? Consider Genesis 12:10-16, 12:20-13:1, 16:1 and 16:2-4.
Putting the answers above together with Genesis 16:5-6, describe the cycle of pain.
Who has wounded you? Who in turn have you wounded?
In order to break the cycle of pain, how should you and I respond when wounded? See Matthew 5:11-12, 43-48; and 1 Peter 2:21-22.
The Choice 16:6
When Sarah was wounded by Hagar, what choice did she make? See Genesis 16:6.
Describe similar choices you have observed in others … or in your own life.
When Hagar was wounded by Sarah, what choice did she make?
How do people run from God, and/or His people, today?
Describe the wounds, and the choices made, in the following passages: Genesis 27:1-45; 37:23-28, 36; 38:1-29; 45:3-11; 1 Samuel 1:1-20; Ruth 1:1-17; and Daniel 1:1-21.
How was Jesus wounded? Give phrases from Isaiah 53.
What choice did Jesus make when wounded? Read Luke 23:33-34 and 1 Peter 2:22-25.
What choices have you made when wounded? Be honest. Which ones worked for you, and which ones did not?
The Comfort 16:7
Give phrases from Genesis 16:7, 10 and 13 that reveal the identity of the angel of the Lord who found Hagar.
How does David describe this divine pursuit of wounded runaways? See Psalm 139:7-12.
Where did the angel find Hagar? What similarities do you see between her story and that of the woman in John 4:4-30?
What evidence can you cite that God still pursues people today?
What comfort could you give a wounded person from the following verses? Job 5:17-18; Psalm 147:3; Jeremiah 30:17; and Psalm 109:22, 26 and 31.
What did Jesus invite Thomas to do in John 20:24-28? Do you think, besides affirming Thomas’ faith, one reason Jesus issued the invitation was to show His disciples that wounds can heal quickly?
The Challenge 16:8-16
What did the Lord ask Hagar in Genesis 16:8? Put His questions into your own words.
Do you think the Lord needed information? If not, what other reason could He have for asking Hagar these two questions? Consider 1 John 1:8-9.
What did the Lord tell Hagar to do in Genesis 16:9? Put His command into your own words.
What did Hagar do? Do you think her obedience was easy? Or hard?
What was the outcome of Hagar’s obedience? See Genesis 16:10-16.
How is this principle repeated in Ezekiel 18:30-32? Hosea 14:1-2, 4-6? Luke 3:3? Luke 15:7, 10? Acts 3:19? 2 Corinthians 7:8-12? ?2 Timothy 2:24-25? 2 Peter 3:8-9?
What blessing could you be missing because you have been unwilling to answer His hard questions, confess your sin, and turn around … repent … change your mind, your ways, your direction and your attitude?
What blessing have you received because, like Hagar, you have allowed the angel of the Lord to lead you on a healing journey?
What will you do to help another wounded person begin a healing journey, so they, too, can receive the fullness of God’s blessing?
God loves the wounded—and the wounders. I know.
©2013 ANNE GRAHAM LOTZ