Old Testament passage for Monday, January 7, 2012: Genesis 16:1-18:15
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 16:13 (NIV)
Hagar was pregnant, homeless, and alone. She was a casualty of domestic conflict. Sarai, Abraham's wife had concocted the plan for Hagar to bear a child for her husband. But then when conception took place, pride, jeaslousy, and animosity clouded this man-made plan. That's how our "good ideas" often end up. While God has a clear way of leading us, we sometimes manufacture ways to "help Him". It always leads to more pain than we ever counted on.
Now Hagar sat by a little spring of water in the wilderness. She had been cast out of Abraham's house by Sarai. Jealousy had won out, and now she was destitute. How do you think Hagar felt that day? The life she had hoped for now seemed gone.
The Angel of the Lord came to her. Most commentators agree that this was the pre-incarnate Christ. God paid lonely Hagar a visit. He asked her two somewhat surprising questions:
"Where have you come from?"
"Where are you going?"
He asks us the same questions. Even though Hagar felt that her life was at a dead-end, God still had plans for her. He took special interest in her. WHERE HAVE YOU COME FROM? He was interested in her unique story. God never wastes a hurt. The past may be a succession of disappointments and disasters, but God takes our difficult yesterdays and turns them into fantastic tomorrows.
WHERE ARE YOU GOING? Hagar probably had no idea. She had lost her way. She had nowhere to turn. The question was not meant to bait her or embarrass her. God was the only one who knew the answer. He had plans for her.
Her response is historic. She gave God a name. In all other passages of Scripture, God names Himself. But here, a lonely, forsaken, un-wed mother gives God a new name.
You are the God who sees me
When God turns His gaze upon our desparate condition, He always moves to help us, to heal us, to provide for us. Hagar found out that even though life had dealt her some hard hits, God had not forgotten her. With David she could say, "O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off" (Psalm 139:1-2).
This was a two-way relationship. Not only had God seen Hagar, but she also saw the Lord. It is one thing to know that God sees us, it is another for our eyes to behold Him. These moments when we see the Hand of God working in our behalf are the greatest moments of life. Eternity breaks through and we see tangible evidence of the God Who loves us.
Hagar returned to her home and raised her son. God made her the mother of a great people. Life did not end at that lonely stream in the wilderness. It really took a giant leap forward. We serve a God who sees! We serve a God who provides! We serve a God who knows the answers even before the question is asked.