Bowshot People – Part Two

Early the next morning Abraham took some food and a skin of water and gave them to Hagar. He set them on her shoulders and then sent her off with the boy. She went on her way and wandered in the desert of Beersheba. When the water in the skin was gone, she put the boy under one of the bushes. Then she went off and sat down nearby, about a bowshot away, for she thought, ‘I cannot watch the boy die.’ And as she sat there nearby, she began to sob. Genesis 21:14-16

A couple of days ago, I shared with you a first installment of a topic called “Bowshot People”. My musing focused on the need to be able to release bad decisions and the need to send the products of those bad decisions away when those products are sinful.

In “Bowshot People – Part One” we focused on Abraham’s sending away of his sin. Now, let’s look at what happened to Hagar after she was sent away.

After Abraham sent her off, Hagar wandered in the desert. Soon, she ran out of water. It was then that she did a curious thing that I still see practiced by people going through confusing or hard times. When events began to take a turn that were out of her control, she placed the boy she loved under a bush and left him! She didn’t stay and comfort him. She didn’t decide to die side by side with the one she had dedicated so much to. Instead, she left him at his point of greatest need!


The answer is somewhat psychological. Hagar said, “I cannot watch the boy die”. Trying to shield herself from pain and possibly remove herself from responsibility, she left what she rightfully should have stayed with. She removed herself a “bowshot” away, believing that would lessen the emotional impact on her and relieve her of the responsibility of what was happening.

The lesson we learn from Bowshot People?

Sometimes, we must send things away as Abraham did. God directs us to get rid of bad decisions, releasing control of the situation to Him so that His plan can come to pass without threat of contamination and attack from the enemy. But, there are other times when things happen which are out of our control and we are tempted to run; to put a distance between us and the potential pain of failure, while freeing ourselves from being associated with the “death” of something we love. Do we only love those things that we can control? Should we leave something we are called to lay down our life for in an effort to protect ourselves and our reputation?

I’m not a sadist, but I also know that leaving something to protect yourself when you are “related” to that “something” and responsible to lay down your life for it is selfish; even when done under the guise of “I can’t stand the pain”.

Shoot things from you that are sinful but don’t shoot “relations” from your life.


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