The angel of the Lord … said, “Hagar, slave of Sarai, where have you come from, and where are you going?” “I’m running away from my mistress Sarai,” she answered. Then the angel of the Lord told her, “Go back to your mistress and submit to her.” The angel added, “I will increase your descendants so much that they will be too numerous to count.” … She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.”—Genesis 16:7-13, NLT
Although every nation on Earth today has prohibited slavery, that sordid institution continues to exist in all parts of the world. So-called “human trafficking clandestinely forces a daily migration of hundreds of thousands of enslaved souls for purposes of labor and/or sex. existiendo en todas partes del mundo.
Hagar, a foreigner from Egypt, had fallen victim to human trafficking. Abram may have added her to his housefhold during his own time as a refugee from famine (Genesis 12:10-20). If we judge Abram according to today’s standards, his exploitation of slaves in itself constitutes evidence of his moral blindness and hypocrisy. But Abram’s treatment of Hagar particularly accuses him. Like hundreds of thousands of young people today, she suffered sexual abuse as well as labor slavery at Abram’s hand. Pregnant as a result of the unjust maneuverings of Sarai, she received no support from Abram, the father of her unborn child.
Alone, vulnerable, a desperate fugitive, Agar languished in the desert. But even as she faded away, she was not invisible. God saw her. Appearing in an angelic form, God counseled her to return to her mistress. It seems strange that God would return her to slavery, and certainly such counsel should not be taken as law. But in Hagar’s case, God had a plan for her that was better than dying of thirst in the desert. She would have her liberty, and God would vindicate her in a marvelous way.
If you find yourself a victim of human trafficking, enslaved for either sex or labor, God sees you and loves you. Furthermore, in our time many people have become aware of this evil and are fighting to bring freedom to its victims. Your situation of slavery is not permanent, but God’s love for you is permanent. Do not give up on your life.
Copyright©2013 by Joseph L. Castleberry.
Dr. Joseph Castleberry is President of Northwest University in Kirkland Washington. He is the author of Your Deepest Dream: Discovering God’s Vision for Your Life and The Kingdom Net: Learning to Network Like Jesus. Follow him on Twitter at @DrCastleberry and at http://www.facebook.com/Joseph.Castleberry.