God Cares for Me – Part One

A number of years ago, I was telling stories in Sunday School and used a puppet to tell them. I called the puppet Stanley. I also pretended that he was the younger brother of a character Susie in my Susie and Johnnie series of stories. I have posted a lot of those stories here and now I have decided to post a series of the puppet scripts as well. They are some of my earliest attempts at writing, so I hope you enjoy them. Each one is based on some subject or story in scripture.

God Cares for Me

 Mr. Mathisen: Boys and girls, this morning we are going to talk about the fact that God cares for you. And no matter what, He is going to be there to take care of you.

Stanley:           I thought my parents were going to do that.

Mr. Mathisen: They will, but they can’t do it for you all the time or for your whole life, God will be there for all of us as long as we are alive.

Stanley:           Are you sure?

Mr. Mathisen: Yes, it’s kind of like we are a bunch of sheep and He is our shepherd. That reminds me of a story.

Stanley:           Everything reminds you of a story.

Mr. Mathisen: That’s because there are so many good stories to tell. A lot of them are in the Bible, but this one isn’t. This is a story about a time when your sister Susie and her friend Johnnie were out on a hike with their Sunday school class and their teacher, Mr. Christopherson.

Psa 23:1  A psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd; I have all that I need.

“Alright you guys, quiet down and listen up. I have all of our supplies in my backpack. You are free to look around at the scenery all you want. But…remember that this is an overnight hike, so stay together and don’t lose your gear. Also remember that, as your shepherd on this hike, if you wander off from the group, I may have to tie you up and carry you around. I don’t want to do that. So stay together.”

Psa 23:2  He lets me rest in green meadows; He leads me beside peaceful streams.

After about 20 minutes of hiking steadily uphill in thick trees and bushes, the path the class was following came to the top of a small hill. Johnny, Susie and Andrea stopped and stood at the top of the hill and looked down ahead of them. Through an opening in the trees, they saw a beautiful small valley.

Susie saw it first and grabbed each of her friends by the arm, “Hey guys, look at that. Have you ever seen anything more beautiful in your whole life?”

Andrea could only say, “Wow!”

Johnny stood thoughtfully for a moment, his chubby body still breathing heavy from the climb and said, “I dunno, a heaping plate of oatmeal raisin cookies and a tall glass of cold milk at your house would look awfully pretty to me.”

“Johnny!” Chorused the two girls together. Susie gave Johnny a quick jab in the ribs with her elbow and off the three friends went following the path down into the small valley.

As they came out of the trees on the valley floor, they discovered the greenest grass they had ever seen. Still following the path they discovered a bubbling stream flowing alongside. Johnny stopped for a moment to see if there were fish in it.

“Let’s keep moving Johnny, we have a long way to go,” Mr. Christopherson called out.

Psa 23:3  He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to His name.

Kenan and Hagar – Conclusion

After the Angel of the Lord left Hagar, she sat down to think for a few minutes. Then she began to weep and pray, “Lord God of my master Abram, I am so sorry. I have felt so alone and angry. But, now I know that you are with me and watching over me. I will go back to my master Abram and my mistress Sarai and do as they bid me to do. Please forgive such a small one as me and help me to do better. Thank you for the promises you made to me here today. Thank you for seeing me.”

With that Hagar stood up and was just turning to head back to Abram’s camp, Kenan came along with a hunting party. They were also returning to the camp and with their catch.

“Hagar? Is that you”, came the voice from the top of a small rise.

Hagar turned in the direction of the voice and saw Kenan and two other men leading pack animals loaded with dressed meat for the camp.

“Kenan, wha…what…what are you doing out here?”

“We are returning from a hunt. May we escort you back to the camp?”

Hagar’s eyes looked toward the ground, “Yes, I would appreciate that very much. How…how are you? I have not seen you for awhile?”

“I am doing well. Master Abram has been keeping me busy hunting and guarding the borders of our camp. We have been having trouble with raiders from the East.”

He leaned down and looked into her eyes. Once he looked her in the eyes, she couldn’t look away from him.

He continued, “I have heard of the strife between you and Mistress Sarai. Is that why you were out here? Were you running away?”

She blushed and smiled at him, “You always could tell what was on my mind, even when we were younger. Yes, I kept finding myself jealous and angry with her. She finally stopped putting up with my antics and started being mean back to me, so I ran away. I was going to try to find my way back to my family in Egypt, but the Lord, the God of Master Abram found me in the desert and told me to return.”

She then told him the whole story of her encounter with God in the desert.

“It sounds to me like the Lord has a plan for your life, Hagar,” said Kenan who continued to look her in the eyes. Then he began shuffling his feet on the ground and kicking at a rock. “Look, Hagar, in spite of everything that has happened, I still want to be your friend. I meant it when I said I wouldn’t stop caring about you. So, can we still be friends?”

Hagar’s heart leaped within her; she blushed slightly and then smiled, “Oh, I would like that very much.”

Kenan smiled back and said, “Then I had better get you back to camp, my little friend. You have some bridges to mend.”

And off they went back to the camp.

So Hagar gave Abram a son, and Abram named him Ishmael.  (Gen 16:15)

Abram was eighty-six years old when Ishmael was born.  (Gen 16:16)

Kenan and Hagar – Part 4

Over the next few weeks, she felt less and less joyous.

“Here I am pregnant with my master Abram’s first and only child and I am still scrubbing and cleaning like a slave. Am I not his wife as much as my mistress Sarai? No, I am still a slave!” Hagar thinks to herself as she sees Sarai sitting with Abram on a bench in the shade of a tree one hot afternoon.

“Why am I still working while she is sitting under a tree? No, I am still a slave!”

“Am I not carrying his child?”

“I am better than her; I can produce a child while she cannot!”

“She is old and I am young.”

“She may have been some legendary beauty, but I am far prettier.”

“Why, Kenan once told me that my dark skin, lovely hair and flashing eyes outshone any woman he had ever seen! Hmmph!”

From that moment on, Hagar began to refuse to do all of her work.

She spoke ill of her mistress to the other slaves.

She laughed and called Sarai ‘childless one’ to her face one day when she was feeling particularly nasty.

Then Sarai, who had tried to be understanding about the whole issue, went to Abram with an ultimatum.

Sarai said to Abram, “This is all your fault! I put my servant into your arms, but now that she is pregnant she treats me with contempt. The LORD will show who’s wrong—you or me!”

Abram replied, “Look, she is your servant, so deal with her as you see fit.”

Then Sarai treated Hagar so harshly that she finally ran away.

Hagar, carrying a light bag, was trudging along through the territory to the south-west of the camp. Seeing a spring of water, she stopped to refresh herself. Sitting on the ground and laying back against her bag, she began to wonder if she was going to be able to make it all the way back to Egypt. Suddenly someone else was there with her. She stood up quickly and turned to face the stranger.

The angel of the LORD found Hagar beside a spring of water in the wilderness, along the road to Shur.

The angel said to her, “Hagar, Sarai’s servant, where have you come from, and where are you going?”

“I’m running away from my mistress, Sarai,” she replied.

The angel of the LORD said to her, “Return to your mistress, and submit to her authority.”

Then he added, “I will give you more descendants than you can count.”

And the angel also said, “You are now pregnant and will give birth to a son. You are to name him Ishmael (which means ‘God hears’), for the LORD has heard your cry of distress.

This son of yours will be a wild man, as untamed as a wild donkey! He will raise his fist against everyone, and everyone will be against him. Yes, he will live in open hostility against all his relatives.”

After that, Hagar used another name to refer to the LORD, who had spoken to her. She said, “You are the God, who sees me.” She also said, “Have I truly seen the One who sees me?”

So that well was named Beer-lahai-roi (which means “well of the Living One who sees me”). It can still be found between Kadesh and Bered.

Kenan and Hagar – Part 3

Resentment took root and began to grow in her young heart.

At the marriage feast the following week, Hagar stood, dressed in finer clothing than she had ever worn before, in the midst of all of the guests feeling honored, but oddly out of place.

There was a line of people each waiting their turn to wish her well. After that was the meal. She was ushered to the head table and seated next to Abram. Sarai sat on the other side.

She saw Kenan eating with the other warriors and hunters. She even caught his eye briefly once, but he immediately looked away. She began to feel very lonesome and alone. She had lost her best friend.

A couple of weeks after the wedding feast, Hagar woke up feeling sick to her stomach. She wanted to throw up and, at first, she didn’t know why.

“Arpa, would you please tell my mistress Sarai that I am ill and will not be able to attend her today?” Hagar asked her friend and fellow slave. Arpa was an older woman that had always treated Hagar as if she were her daughter.

“What is wrong, my child? Are you feeling chilled or achy?” Arpa asked.

“No, it’s something wrong with my stomach. I feel like I want to vomit.”

Arpa walked over to where Hagar slept, knelt down and looked intently at her. Then with a knowing, thoughtful look in her eyes asked, “How many weeks since you were given to Master Abram as his wife?”

Hagar looked up into Arpa’s eyes, “almost three weeks now”.

Arpa rocked back on her heels, touched Hagar’s forehead and said, “I believe that you are fulfilling the role set out for you by your mistress Sarai.” Arpa suppressed a little giggle, “I believe that you are with child, little one.”

Hagar’s heart seemed to both stop and to beat out of her chest. She looked into Arpa’s eyes and said, “Pregnant? But… but… so soon? Oh!”

Hagar rolled back onto her bed holding her stomach first and quickly to her mouth.

“Ummph!”

Arpa stood and smiled, “Do not worry, my child. We will all be here with you during this blessed time. I will go and tell your mistress the joyous news.”

“Oh no, here it comes!” Hagar jumped up and ran out of the tent in a big rush to find someplace to vomit.

Kenan and Hagar – Part 2

Kenan left Hagar’s tent confused and a little angry. He walked quickly to his tent, tossed his cloak down on the floor and slumped down onto his bed. He lay in the dark, staring out the door of his tent at the stars, listening to the wind and tried to figure out what was going on.

“What’s wrong with her? Did I say something to make her mad at me?”

He thought about that for a minute and decided, “No, she didn’t sound mad, she sounded more like she was sad and confused by something. What could it be?”

Kenan lay down on his bed but only slept fitfully, dreaming about Hagar.

The next morning, Abram sent for Kenan. “Kenan, my boy, I want you to take a party of hunters over to the mountain sides in the south and bring us back some wild game meat. I want to have a huge feast to celebrate my new wife, Hagar.”

Kenan’s heart felt like it was going to burst out of his chest when he heard this, but he only said, “Yes master. I’ll take my hunters and bring back a lot of game for the feast.”

“Thank you, Kenan. I know that I can count on you.” Abram smiled and put his hand on Kenan’s shoulder and gave it a squeeze.

“I’ll get started right away,” Kenan said. He then smiled weakly, turned and walked away quickly. Within an hour, he and a party of three other hunters were loaded and headed south.

Hagar came out of her tent in time to see the hunting party head off. She thought she saw Kenan turn and look back at her briefly.

She thought back to when they first met. He was a striking young warrior that had survived the massacre of the five king alliance that included the king of Sodom where Abram’s nephew Lot and his family lived. Kenan had been one of Lot’s servants and had seen Lot and his family carried off by the victorious kings. He had arrived wounded, bloody and dirty from his journey to tell Abram the news. He had survived the attack of a wild boar and ended up eating it.

How her young heart thrilled at the sight of him then.

They become fast friends and, as they both grew up, something more was emerging from their friendship.

“But—that was then, and this is now,” she thought to herself. “That something is now lost forever.”

Her heart sank and then she headed off to her duties for the day. Being Abram’s new wife did not make her any less Sarai’s slave.

Resentment took root and began to grow in her young heart.

“So Abram had sexual relations with Hagar, and…”

Since the new story covers Hagar. I thought this post from my other blog might be of interest to some of you.

Journeys Through The Word

Journeys Through the Word

“So Abram had sexual relations with Hagar, and…”

Verse(s) considered:

Genesis 16:3-5

(3)  So Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar the Egyptian servant and gave her to Abram as a wife. (This happened ten years after Abram had settled in the land of Canaan.)

(4)  So Abram had sexual relations with Hagar, and she became pregnant. But when Hagar knew she was pregnant, she began to treat her mistress, Sarai, with contempt.

(5)  Then Sarai said to Abram, “This is all your fault! I put my servant into your arms, but now that she’s pregnant she treats me with contempt. The LORD will show who’s wrong—you or me!”

Thoughts along the road:

Abram and Sarai thought they had a solution for God’s slowness. When they tried it, things got—complicated. I am going to go with a slightly different angle on the obvious complications. I want to view…

View original post 390 more words

Kenan and Hagar – Part 1

The character of Hagar has always intrigued me. She seems to have been a tragic figure that played an important role in the life of Abram and Sarai. Here is my take on it. It is in draft form. But, that’s ok. You’ll get the idea. You may also remember the boy Kenan from the Abram goes to War story. He shows up again here, a bit older and smitten with a certain Egyptian servant.

“Hagar!” came the sound of a whispered voice.

Hagar awoke with a start and looked around her. She was still in her bed in the servant’s tent. She thought she had heard a voice while she was dreaming but, now, she could hear nothing except the rustling of the tent in the breeze. She lay her head back down on her pillow and closed her eyes.

Just as she was beginning to drift off to sleep again, the sound came again.

“Hagar!” came the whispered voice again.

She propped herself up on her elbow and looked around trying to decide what she heard and where it was coming from.

“Hagar!”

She heard it clearly this time, and it was coming from outside the tent near her head.

“Who are you and what do you want?”, she whispered back, annoyed that someone would do this while she was trying to sleep.

“Hagar! It’s me, Kenan.”

“Kenan!?! What do you want? It’s the middle of the night!”

“We were supposed to go for a walk last evening. I couldn’t find you. Where did you go?”

“That’s none of your business. Now, go away, I’m trying to sleep!”

“Selvi said she saw you coming out of Master Abram’s tent, very late.”

Hagar paused and then said, “I was doing something for my mistress Sarai.”

There was another long pause and then Kenan said. “What?”

“That’s none of your business! Now go away!”

“Hagar! Selvi said she saw you crying when you came out of their tent. I want to know what’s wrong. Listen, Hagar, I care about you. If something is wrong, I want to help.”

“Kenan…go away. I…just…can’t see you anymore. Now, please leave me alone. I’m tired and want to sleep.”

“Well, all right. If that’s the way you want it. I’ll go. But, Hagar, I won’t stop caring.”

Hagar could hear Kenan’s footsteps moving away. She buried her face in her pillow and sobbed “Oh, Kenan…”.