God’s Pursuit of a Runaway
Finding Hagar probes the relentless pursuit by the living God of a fugitive woman who falls outside the line of his chosen people. This pursuit ensures Hagar’s destiny by giving her an identity as one who is seen and known by God himself.
Hagar’s story centers around a deeply personal dialogue with God concerning her past and her future, her story and her dreams; and while his promises are rooted in her reality, they also carry her forward to a new horizon of hope. Often recognized as one of the Bible’s most powerful stories of God’s love, which is always undeserved and unmerited, this book is a reminder of God’s abundant grace towards all people at a time when there is much division and animosity towards the descendants of Hagar. As we witness major displacement of peoples around the world, the story of Hagar – of God’s encounter with a displaced and oppressed woman – inspires hope and purpose for today’s fractured global community.
Every time I see a positive work on Hagar and Ishmael from an evangelical Christian pen, I rejoice and feel encouraged that the gracious story of God’s redeeming love outside the line of Promise is being retold. Mike Kuhn’s work Finding Hagar mixes in a beautiful way both serious scholarship and deep life applications. The corporate effort behind this work involving nice and vivid pictures drawn by his daughter points to the cordiality and passion with which this work was done. I wholeheartedly recommend this beautiful, serious and yet simple, work by Kuhn to every student of the Bible and especially to every Christian worker in the Arab World.
Tony Maalouf, PhD
Distinguished Professor of World Christianity and Middle Eastern Studies,
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas, USA
Jordan Evangelical Theological Seminary, Amman, Jordan
Finding Hagar takes on itself the task of gently – and persuasively! – adjusting any misconceptions we might have on the place of Ishmael in God’s larger scheme. By dovetailing the biblical narratives in Genesis with Jewish and Islamic traditions, Kuhn provides a panoramic timeline on which readers can travel up and down, revisiting familiar places and people and meeting new pieces of information. The encounters require that we rethink our presuppositions. And they challenge us to take our place in the continuing story of Hagar and her children.
Havilah Dharamraj, PhD
Academic Dean and Head, Department of Old Testament,
South Asia Institute of Advanced Christian Studies, Bangalore, India
Mike Kuhn’s book on Hagar and Ishmael will open your eyes to what has been hidden in the shadows and has been overlooked. In this book, the spotlight is shed on Hagar as one of the best supporting actors in God’s drama of redemptive history. Does Hagar speak to us today? In this book you will see how she speaks to us and to our burning issues. I wish every Christian would read this book as it brings grace to two irritant and misunderstood figures, Hagar and Ishmael. Once I started reading this book, I could not stop until I finished it.
Nabeel T. Jabbour, ThD
Author, The Crescent through the Eyes of the Cross
As one who has had the Middle East as his assignment from the heart of God for over fifty years, I was captivated by this page-turning entrance into the Patriarch Abraham’s country in the light of Mike Kuhn’s artistic insights. This amazingly accomplished Arabist and scholar, with his wife, Stephanie, have absorbed a depth of understanding of the nuances of Middle East culture, with historical biblical insights, so that the reader is transported into Hagar’s life . . . brought to life as you’ve never known it before! The bonus is that you’ll want to read your Old Testament with fresh depth and enjoyment.
Hagar, the first female theologian, and her firstborn son, Ishmael, circumcised under the Abraham covenant, is the story retold born out of Kuhn’s decades of living in Middle Eastern society. He brings a wider vision and biblical scholarship to this story that has been misunderstood by Christians throughout history. A blessing at the time, now interpreted in the modern mind as a curse with tragic repercussions for millions of people. By retelling this ancient saga, we are having our own prejudices revealed. A must-read.
Christine A. Mallouhi
Author, Waging Peace on Islam and Miniskirts, Mothers and Muslims
Few Christians understand the depth of emotional feelings that Muslims attach to their perceived lineage through Hagar and Ishmael. Mike Kuhn expertly weaves his personal experiences with Arabs along with significant research to break new ground for the reader seeking to plumb the mindset, not only of Arabs, but also of Muslims worldwide. Particularly helpful are Kuhn’s extrapolations from Hagar to oppressed migrants in our contemporary settings. Kudos on a job well done.
Phil Parshall, DMiss
Author, Lifting the Veil and The Cross and the Crescent
Retired, SIM USA
Table of Contents
- Preface: Reconsidering an Old Story
- 1 – Shifha Sarai
- 2 – Barren
- 3 – Wedding Day
- 4 – Rivals
- 5 – Finding Hagar
- 6 – Questions
- 7 – The Promise
- 8 – Donkey Man
- 9 – El Ro’i
- 10 – Oh That Ishmael Might Live!
- 11 – Laughter
- 12 – God Hears
- 13 – Son of the Slave
- 14 – Progeny
- 15 – Considering Hagar and Moses
- 16 – Hagar and Ishmael through the Centuries
- 17 – Hagar Speaks Today
- Appendix: Ishmael: Father of the Arabs?