From Haughty to Humble
Webster’s Dictionary describes haughty as, “having or showing the insulting attitude of people who think that they are better, smarter, or more important than other people.” In Hagar’s story, a slave develops a haughty attitude. Taken against her will from Egypt, used for someone else’s gain and her body not her own, this slave girl becomes pregnant with a patriarch’s son.
Hagar was a slave. Assuming not by choice, and maybe taken from Egypt when Pharaoh gave goods and bounty to Abraham, Hagar was no longer master of her own destiny.
She was property of another, used by a family and then outcast for her obedience. Slave to Sarai, a maybe highly respected by the matriarch, Hagar is given to Abraham to conceive a child. Sarai knew God’s plan for a child, a nation born unto her, but it had yet to transpire. Hurrying the Lord along, she requests her husband to sleep with her handmaid.
Low and behold, a baby is conceived. The slave, this prisoner, this used woman was able to accomplish something her mistress was not, pregnancy. All the years held in captivity, submitting to orders, yielding to another person’s life and their desires finally has taken a turn.
God has blessed this slave with a child, while the mistress of the house has none.
The Bible has several scriptures regarding a “haughty” attitude, but I think Proverbs captures the haughty spirit well; Proverbs 16:18 describing best, “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” Proverbs 6:16-19 reads, “There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to Him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissensions among brothers.”
Hagar was about to experience a fall, though, she had not been the first to “vex” her mistress. Remember Hannah and Penninah? Penninah mercilessly vexed and mistreated Hannah for she had Elkanah’s love, while Penninah had no love, but his children. Rachel experienced the empty womb, while her sister enjoyed ten sons, but no love from Jacob. Hagar did not have Abraham’s heart either, for when Sarai accused him of causing these problems, his reply was, “Do with her whatever you think best.” (Genesis 16:6).
Sarai may have cast Hagar out of camp, but God does not.
She may be mistreated, unloved, and her own behavior inexcusable, but we have a God with a plan. Woman, we have a Savior who will love us unconditionally, gently teach us, and guide us into Truths. Hagar was thrown out by an angry, frustrated and broken hand, but God brought her back with a gentle, loving and purposeful hand. “Go back to your mistress and submit to her. I will so increase your descendants that they will be to numerous to count. You are now with child and you will have a son. You shall name him Ishmael, for the Lord has heard of your misery. He will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he will live in hostility towards all his brothers.” (Genesis 16:9-12). The Lord saw Hagar’s misery, knew the root cause of the haughty attitude, gentle spoke to her and commanded she submit. Our God brought this broken woman back to the very hand that threw her out and Hagar was accepted back in for a time.
I love our Christian faith. We have a God who looks at the root cause of our problems, judges fairly, and gently teaches us Truth. Remember the daughters of Zelophehad? “They approached the test entrance to the Tent of Meeting and stood before Moses, Eleazar the priest, and the leaders and the whole assembly, and said, “Our father died in the desert. He was not among Korah’s followers, who banded together against the Lord, but he died for his own sin and left no sons. Why should our father’s name disappear from his clan because he had no son? Give us property among our father’s relatives.” (Numbers 27:1-4)
The Lord answers Moses who brought their case before him, “What Zelophehad’s daughters are saying is right. You must certainly give them property as an inheritance among their father’s relatives and turn their father’s inheritance over to them.” (Numbers 27:5-7). Woman, we serve a God who will stand up for you, give you Truth and take your case! We have to know Christ is our High Priest allowing us to come boldly to the throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16). The Word of God is sharper than any double-edge sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account (Hebrews 4:12-13).
Believing in the Lord, Hagar willingly goes, submits and gives birth to her son. She experienced something her mistress had not, communion with God. God is willing to forgive a repentant heart. He desires a broken, contrite heart; a broken spirit God will not despise (Psalm 51:16). At times we are going to experience haughty attitudes from others, but that by no means gives us the green light to mistreat them.
Actually, it gives Christians the opportunity to bless! (Matthew 5:11-12)
No matter the situation, we are to love those who are lost. No matter the situation, we are to love those who mistreat us. No matter the situation we are to bring our requests before the Lord, let Him judge righteously. No matter the situation, we are to do unto others as we would have them do unto us (Matthew 7:12, Luke 6:31). Having a haughty attitude is unacceptable to God. We are to treat all as equal, for God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34, James 2:1-13).
I pray this blesses you today and encourages you to think about your own behavior. My prayer every morning is for the Lord to bring people in my path to bless, pray, and encourage. I pray the Lord teach me the Word, guide me in all Truths and confide in me as a friend. I do not want to miss an opportunity to encourage and bless another of my sisters in Christ who needs to know she has a purpose, a plan, and the Lord loves her. I never want the Lord to reveal I had a “haughty” spirit to those around me, but instead a humble spirit to be used as vessel for his Kingdom.
Pray the Prayer for Haughty Attitude on the Prayer Page. The full teaching is available on our Resource Page; One a Day; 30 Days of Prayer with the Women of the Bible, Book 2