Learning to recognize the voice of God is critical not only to living a life pleasing to Him, but also to developing a personal relationship with Him. Yet how can we be sure the voice we hear is His? Jesus uses the illustration of the relationship between the shepherd and his sheep to answer that question.
I. GOD CARES Genesis 21:1-16
A. 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 she hurt by herself? By others?
- Describe a modern-day parallel to Hagar and her circumstances. Example: She was the second wife of a successful man.
B. ABOUT YOUR HELPLESSNESS
- After being a servant in Abraham’s household for twenty-five years, describe how Hagar must have felt in v. 14.
- When have you been treated badly by those who call themselves by God’s name?
- As someone who suddenly found herself as a single parent, describe some of the challenges Hagar faced.
C. ABOUT YOUR HOPELESSNESS
- From v. 15-16, what are some reasons for Hagar’s hopelessness? Apply them to modern-day circumstances.
- What caused her to reach the breaking point?
- What encouragement from Psalm 72:12-13 could you give to someone who is desperate for some of the same reasons? What one condition in Psalm 72 for claiming God’s promises did Hagar meet? Have you met that same condition?
II. GOD COMES Genesis 21:17-21
- Apply Psalm 147:3 to the story of Hagar.
A. WITH THE HEALING OF HIS PRESENCE
- According to v.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 v. 12-13 with v. 17.
- What were some of Hagar’s fears? How are they similar to yours?
- Did God forsake Ishmael? Why do you think He will forsake you or your children?
B. WITH THE HEALING OF HIS PROVISION
- How did God provide for Hagar’s needs in v. 19? According to Matthew 6:25-26, how will God provide for yours?
- What did Hagar have to do in order to experience God’s provision? Have you met that same requirement?
C. WITH THE HEALING OF HIS PROMISE
- 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: Daniel 9:4; Joshua 21:45, 23:14; 2 Chronicles 6:4, 15; Jeremiah 1:12; Ezekiel 12:28; Matthew 5:18.
- What comfort do you receive from each of the following promises: Psalm 27:10, Psalm 118:6-7, Isaiah 43:1-2, Jeremiah 29:11-13, Matthew 6:25-33, Romans 8:31, Philippians 4:19?