Outcast but Not Forsaken
January 1, 2003 - In what way have you, or your loved one, been an "outcast"? Perhaps through divorce? Or division within your church? Or dissension within your family? Or betrayal by a Christian organization or ministry? When God's people reject us, we feel that God has also rejected us. The feeling of isolation and loneliness can be so severe that it may trigger deep depression and even suicidal thoughts.
by Anne Graham Lotz
Read Genesis 21:1-21
God Cares About You
Hagar, a servant to Abraham's wife, Sarah, was rejected by those who called themselves by God's name. When her son, Ishmael, began to persecute Sarah's son, Isaac, Abraham cast Hagar and her son out of his home. But she was not forsaken. God cared about Hagar and came to her in her desert experience.
God Cares About Your Hurt
- From Genesis 16:1-16 and 21:1-16, describe Hagar.
- How was Hagar's attitude in the home reflected in her son? (Compare Genesis 16:1-4 with 21:9 and Galatians 4:29).
- How was Hagar's hurt her own fault? How was it also the fault of others?
- Describe as many modern-day parallels to Hagar and her circumstances as you can. (Example: She was the second wife of a successful man.)
God Cares About Your Helplessness
- After being a servant in Abraham's household for 25 years, describe how Hagar must have felt in Genesis 21:14.
- When have you been treated badly by those who call themselves by God's name? How did you feel?
- As someone who suddenly found herself as a single parent, describe some of the challenges Hagar faced.
- From Genesis 21:15-16, what are some of the reasons for Hagar's hopelessness? Apply these reasons for hopelessness to circumstances today.
- What caused Hagar to reach the breaking point?
- What encouragement from Psalm 72:12-13 could you give to someone who is desperately hopeless for some of the same reasons?
- What one condition for claiming God's promises in Psalm 72 did Hagar meet? Have you met that same condition?
God Comes to You
God Comes With the Healing of His Presence
- According to Genesis 21:17, why did God intervene?
- When have you been blessed by the prayer of your child?
- What hurting person are you praying for?
- If God knew of Hagar's circumstances why do you think He questioned Hagar? Compare Genesis 21:12-13 with 21:17.
- What were some of Hagar's fears? How are they similar to your own?
- How did God provide for Hagar's needs in Genesis 21:19?
- According to Matthew 6:25-26, how will God provide for your needs?
- Have you met the same requirement for receiving God's provision that Hagar did? Describe when and how you did.
- Apply Psalm 147:3 to the story of Hagar—and to your own story.
- From Genesis 21:18, what was God's promise to Hagar? How was the promise fulfilled then? How is it still being fulfilled today?
- From the following verses, give phrases that underscore
God's faithfulness to keep His promises: Genesis 35:3; Genesis 50:24 with Exodus 12:51; Daniel 9:4; Joshua 21:45, 23:14; 2 Chronicles 6:4, 15; Jeremiah 1:12; Ezekiel 12:28; Matthew 5:18.
- What comfort for yourself or your loved one do you receive from each of the following promises: Psalm 27:10, Psalm 118:6-7, Isaiah 43:1-2, Isaiah 65:24, Jeremiah 29:10-13, Matthew 6:25-33, Romans 8:31, Philippians 4:19, Hebrews 13:5-6?