Hagar, the Egyptian servant of Abraham and Sarah, is ill-treated by Sarah following her conception of Ishmael. Running away into the wilderness, Hagar has a most unlikely encounter with the angel of the Lord, recorded in Genesis 16. It is from this encounter that we get one of the names of God. Hagar’s depiction of God is El Roi, which literally means ‘the God who sees’. At this meeting, God blesses Hagar and declares that her offspring will become a great nation. In running away from her pain, God also redirects her back to Abraham and Sarah, and she returns. Through this text we can learn much about ourselves and the character of God.
How much of what we do is motivated to be seen by people? Think of social media, relationships and careers for a start. Yet the truth is that like Hagar, our hope doesn’t lie in being seen by the people who we think are important, but our hope lies in the fact that God sees us. We too, like Hagar, make decisions out of our pain and our limited perspective. Yet instead of reasoning from our limited vantage point, we could live from the truth that God sees us, and that His Word is what ultimately matters.
Perhaps we too would live differently in painful situations, instead of running out the back door. Thousands of years after Hagar’s encounter, God ‘saw us’ while he endured the excruciating pain of the cross. Mercifully, he offered himself as an atoning sacrifice for our sin, the root cause of so much pain. Having done so, God has left us with a clear choice: will we keep running into our own wilderness, or will we finally embrace the God who sees us? God Bless.
Tendai Chitsike, Every Nation Church