“The God Who Sees Me” – Genesis 16:1-15
“Thereafter 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’)….” (Genesis 16:13-14; NLT)
God has promised Abraham a son, but he was in his 80’s and his wife Sarah was in her 70’s. Sarah was still so beautiful that two different kings wanted her as their wife. But, logic would say the time for having babies has come and gone. For the sake of passing on the inheritance, the Code of Hammurabi said, if there was no male heir the oldest head servant would get it all. However, the code also said the wife could give her handmaid to her husband and have a child through her.
It seemed that God needed help with His promise. Sarah gave her Egyptian servant, Hagar to Abraham so they could have children through her, Hagar got pregnant. Now it was blatantly clear to Sarah that she carried the shame of not having children, not Abraham. This fact is not lost on the servant, Hagar, who realizes her son will inherit everything. Instead of this child becoming Sarah’s, he becomes Hagar’s power play and starts treating her mistress with despite. Now Sarah goes to Abraham and blames him. Abraham reminds Sarah that Hagar is her servant and so she should deal with her how she wants.
So Sarah starts abusing Hagar, until she runs away. Now, Hagar is in the desert with her arrogance gone and her spirit broken. She believes she and the baby in her womb are going to die. She believes that she is alone in the world without a friend.
God shows up and speaks to her through the Angel from the Lord, “Don’t be afraid, Hagar, you are going to have a son and name him, Ishmael (which means ‘God hears’). He will be a man of the wild and the father of 12 nations. He and his descendants will be constantly fighting with everyone around them. Now go back and submit to your mistress, Sarah.”
So she went back and was obedient to Sarah. She also came back with a new understanding of Abraham’s God. He saw her. He saw her problem with understanding and he talked to her. She gave God a new name that was more personal, “El Roi” (the God who sees me).
It wasn’t Hagar’s idea to have Abraham’s baby; it was her mistress, Sarah’s. However, when Hagar got pregnant she turned arrogant toward Sarah and needed to be humbled, she found God’s mercy. She gave Abraham, a son.
Lord help us to remember that you are the God who really sees us. You have plans for us if we are obedient.
The Rev. Stephen C. Floyd, First Church of the Nazarene