He Sees Me
Read – Genesis 16:1-16
Key Verse – Then she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees; for she said, “Have I also here seen Him who sees me?” (Genesis 16:13)
Key Thought – No matter where you are, or what you’re going through, God sees you.
How about we start this morning with a scene from Star Trek?
In one episode we see Lieutenant Commander Data conversing with Doctor Katherine Pulaski. Each time she speaks to him, she mispronounces his name, calling him “Data” (short “a”) rather than “DAYta” (long “a”). He corrects her several times. Finally she asks, “What is the difference?” He replies, “One is my name… the other is not.”
Names are important, aren’t they?
“Paul Dickson has written a book entitled, What’s In A Name? In that book he shares some of the most unusual names he’s come across. How would you like to have any of these for your name? Cletus Clodfelter, Rotten Earp, Jinglebells Kaplan, and Boomfa Umfumpa. Can you imagine? “Hey Boomfa!” Dickson, also writes that some people seem to be destined to certain occupations by their names. Joe Bunt became a baseball coach. Dan Druff became a barber. Two men with the last names of Goforth and Ketchum actually became partners in a police force. Would you feel secure hiring a plaster contractor by the name of Will Crumble?”
There are a lot of names in the Bible. There are a lot of names for our God.
– He is Elohim, El-shaddai, Jehovah-Jireh (the Lord will provide), Jehovah-Nissi (the Lord my banner), Jehovah-Shalom (the Lord send peace), Jehovah-Shammah (the Lord is there), and Jehovah-Tsidkenu (the Lord our righteousness).
– He is God the Father, Eternal God, Father of Lights, Heavenly Father, the Holy One of Israel.
– He is the Lord, Lord of Hosts, Lord of Lords, Lord of Sabaoth, and the Most High.
– He is I AM.
Here in our text we have a name for God that I want to consider for just a few minutes this morning – El-roi (pronounced EL ROH-EE). He is the God who sees.
First, let’s notice:
The Back Story
There are five main characters in this story – Abram, Sarai his wife, Hagar, Sarai’s maid or servant, Ishmael, the child born to Abram by Hagar, and the Angel of the Lord.
God had made a covenant with Abram. Now the LORD had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, From your family And from your father’s house, To a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 12:1-3 NKJV).
God had told Abram he would make him into a great nation. In Genesis 13:16 He had promised him, I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if a man could number the dust of the earth, then your descendants also could be numbered.
Abram heard these promises and no doubt had a couple reactions. First, he no doubt worshipped and praised God for the promise. Second, he no doubt wondered how his descendents would be so innumerable when Sarai, his beloved wife, was unable to have even one child.
Sarai heard these promises and took another tack. She proposed they help God out a bit and move things along. Unable or unwilling to wait for Him to fulfill His promise in His own time, she suggested that since she was barren and unable to conceive, Abram should sleep with her servant Hagar, who would then bear a child in her stead… a surrogate mother.
Now it was customary in that culture to do this sort of thing, but nothing in the Bible condones this process… it merely reports that it took place. Nothing in this account indicates God wanted Abram and Hagar to have such a relationship… it merely reports that they did, and tells what God did then as a result. Too often we assume that because the Bible reports a thing, it condones that thing. That’s like saying that because the editor of a newspaper reports a mass murder, he or she condones mass murder.
In any case, the relationship occurred, and Hagar conceived a child. Apparently she thought herself superior, then, to Sarai, and looked down on her as a result (vs. 4). Sarai didn’t think much of that and she asked Abram to give Hagar the boot, and he told her to do what she thought best with her (vs. 6). Sarai was hard on Hagar, then (vs. 6), and Hagar ran away.
As she fled, Hagar met someone… she met the Angel of the Lord (vs. 7). This phrase is one we’re looking into in our studies on Angels and Demons during the Sunday School hour. Some believe it simply refers to one of many angels in Scripture, but most (myself included), believe that when the definite article is used (THE Angel of the Lord), rather than the indefinite (AN angel), it is referring to an appearance of Jesus Christ, Himself… a preincarnate appearance of Christ.
Hagar met Jesus, the Angel of the Lord, by a spring of water in the wilderness, by the spring on the way to Shur (vs. 7). In the description of that meeting, I see some things that are interesting. The scripture says that:
– He found her (vs. 7). She wasn’t seeking Him, but He was seeking her. She wasn’t looking for Him, but He was looking for her. He went looking and found her… He knew right where she was, and found her.
– He asked her about her situation (vs. 8). He didn’t ask because He was unaware. If this was Jesus, He knew all there was to know about her, just like He knows all there is to know about you. The Angel of the Lord is omniscient, and didn’t need her to explain anything to Him. Rather, He wanted her to admit it… and to articulate her problem and need to Him, just like He wants you and I to admit our need for Him and say so… to confess our sin… to repent of our sin… to call upon Him and seek His salvation.
– He instructed her to stay the course (vs. 9). Interestingly, He didn’t remove the hardship from her, but told her instead to turn to it and keep walking through it.
– Finally, He promised her that everything would turn out all right for her and her unborn child, in the end (vss. 10-12).
Hagar’s response to these things is fascinating (vs. 13)*:
– She recognized she was speaking with God.
– She understood God had seen her need and met it.
– She referred to God by a name – *You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees.
The Moral of the Story
I want to make a bit of an application from all this… especially from the last thought – the name she gave to God – You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees. I mentioned earlier that it is the Hebrew El-roi, and means exactly what your Bible says it means – He is the God who sees. He is the God who sees me. He is the God who sees you.
No matter where you are, or what you’re going through, God sees you. And the fact is, we all have things we are going through.
There is a tremendous amount of trouble and hurt in our church right now. Some of you are going through some pretty hard stuff right now. And while some of it might seem understandable… the result of poor choices, some of it might seem completely undeserved and unexplainable. Regardless of WHY, though, the valley stretches before us… the mountain rises above us… the pit yawns beneath us… we face trouble. Sometimes we feel like Paul – troubled on every side (2 Corinthians 7:5)… Sometimes we feel like Jacob – all these things are against me….
Have you ever been there? Have you ever felt like Hagar here… felt like fleeing the situation and running away from it?
If so, read this account again and notice a couple of truths. Just like He found her in her flight, so too He will find you. Christian (and I’m talking to Christians right now… to those who are born again… to the redeemed… to the children of God) – He will find you. You cannot run away far enough that He can’t find you. Jonah tried that… ran as far as he could… to the farthest point on earth he knew about, and yet God found Him there and brought him back. The psalmist said, Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me. If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,” Even the night shall be light about me; Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You, But the night shines as the day; The darkness and the light are both alike to You (Psalm 139:7-12 NKJV).
Where ever you run, He’ll find you. And He’ll ask you what you’re doing there… not because He doesn’t know… but because you’ll need to admit your running and repent of it. He found her. And He’ll find you.
You might have thought His answer to Hagar was harsh – Go back to Sarai and submit to her (vs. 9). Oftentimes God’s answer to us is the same, and feels similarly heartless – whatever you’re running from, go back and submit to it.
– Keep on climbing the mountain,
– or sliding into the pit,
– or crossing the valley.
– Go back and submit.
The fact is, there are many trials and troubles God wants and needs us to experience. We need to go THROUGH those troubles. He doesn’t want to take us out of them… He wants us to go THROUGH them.
I’m reminded of the Gaither song –
When I saw what laid before me
“Lord, ” I cried, “what will You do?”
I thought He would just remove it
But He gently led me through.
Without fire there’s no refining
Without pain no relief
Without flood there’s no rescue
Without testing no belief
Through the Fire
Through the Flood
Through the Water
Through the Blood
Through the dry and barren places
Through life’s dense and maddening mazes
Through the pain and through the glory
Through will always tell the story
Of the God whose power and mercy
Will not fail to take us through.(Gaither, Gloria and Gaither, William, “Through”)
– God could have saved Noah from the flood any number of ways, but chose to have him labor in public ridicule for 100 years to build an ark.
– God could have used Joseph to rescued His people from famine any number of ways, but He chose to have him suffer betrayal, kidnapping, false accusation, and imprisonment along the way.
– God could have kept Daniel from the lions den, or Shadrach, Meshack and Abednego from the fire, but He didn’t.
– He could have given Jeremiah a much more fulfilling ministry than to preach to a people who would never listen, and watch his people sin themselves into captivity, but he didn’t.
– God could have healed Joni Eareckson Tada of her paralysis, but instead for the many years since her accident in 1967, He has used her from a wheelchair. No doubt she prayed many times that God would heal her, and no doubt, God’s response to her was the same as to Hagar – go back and submit.
When I was going through the darkest moments of my life, when the Lord took my dear wife Beth home, I was encouraged by a brother’s words – “Never doubt in the darkness what God has shown you in the light.” (Joel Cochran)
Years later, I read something similar – “Never give up in the desert. You don’t know how wide it is, and you may be almost across.” (Donald S. Whitney)
Here, then, is the moral of the story – no matter what He asks you to go through, it’s best. God always always always always always has your best in mind. He does not seek what is good for you, but rather what is best. And if He has you going through something it’s because He knows what’s best for you, and what will lead you to His best for you.
Elizabeth Elliot said, “To love God is to love His will. It is to be content with His timing and wise appointment.” She said, “I am not a theologian or a scholar, but I am very aware of the fact that pain is necessary to all of us. In my own life, I think I can honestly say that out of the deepest pain has come the strongest conviction of the presence of God and the love of God.”
Spurgeon wrote, “We have been in many trials, but we have never yet been cast where we could not find in our God all that we needed.”
Oh hear me this morning, my brothers and sisters – there is so much pain in this church right now.
– Our sister Marilyn Molnar has just been placed on hospice. Her cancer did not respond to the months of painful chemo, and now her days are few, and her daughter Heather is heartbroken.
– Our sister Eleanor Jones is in a similar situation, and her husband Don is heartbroken.
– My mother has been diagnosed with cancer and given just a few more months to live.
– In recent days we’ve seen divorce run it’s painful course through our church.
There is pain – lots of it – all around us here. Perhaps you are in the midst of some of it? But KNOW THIS my brothers… my sisters – He sees you. HE SEES YOU! I love that Hagar understood that. Her take away from all this was that God had SEEN her. He saw where she was and found her there – He saw her. He knew her situation and knew she needed to go through it – He saw her. And He had a plan for her that was wonderful and glorious… He promised her a future that was filled with hope and joy, once she got through the trial… and He told her as much.
John Newton, who we mostly remember as the author of “Amazing Grace” said, “Everything is necessary that God sends our way; nothing can be necessary that he withholds … When you get to heaven, you will not complain of the way by which the Lord brought you.”
Christians – and that’s who I’ve been talking to this morning so far – my brothers and sisters in Christ… those who are saved – believe afresh this morning that the God who saved you, is the God who sees you. You, like Hagar, need to call Him by name – You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees (vs. 13) and trust Him to get your through.
There is, of course, another application, and that is to those of you who may NOT be in that first group.
I wonder, have you never yet trusted Christ? Are you still wandering in the wilderness not knowing whether you’ll go to heaven someday? Have you heard the gospel but not yet responded? Do you wonder whether or not what Jesus did on the cross applies to you… whether or not He really cares about your soul… about you?
There’s a wonderful gospel song that says:
I’m not on an ego trip
I’m nothing on my own
I make mistakes
I often slip
I’m just common flesh and bone
But I’ll prove someday just why I say
That I’m of a special kind
For when He was on the Cross
I was on His mind.
Oh… look of love was on His face
And thorns were on His head
Blood was on His scarlet robe
Stained with crimson red
Though His eyes were on the crowd that day
He looked ahead in time
For when He was on that Cross
You see, I was on His mind.
He knew me
Yet He loved me
He whose glory makes the heavens shine
So unworthy of such mercy
Yet when He was on the Cross
I was on His mind
When He was on the Cross
I was on His mind(Ronny Hinson / Ronald Michael Payne)
He sees you, my lost friend. He has always seen you. Turn to Him. Trust Him. Receive Him.
I just finished watching a very interesting series of programs entitled “The Chosen.” It is a crowd-funded series about the life of Christ. Like any such endeavor we’ve seen in the past, there is some literary license taken with the events depicted, but they are very thought provoking. One episode depicts Jesus’ encounter with the woman at the well from John 4. The conversation basically followed what was contained in that chapter from your Bible, but there were a few other things said that filled out the narrative. At one point, the woman was broken by her sinful lifestyle, and was tearfully suggesting that the Messiah could not possibly care about someone like her. Jesus, leaned in toward her, looked deeply into her eyes, and simply said, “I see you.”
Oh my friend do you get it? He sees you.
– If you’re saved and going through trials, He sees you.
– If you’re lost, He sees you. Tozer said, “Jesus Christ knows the worst about you. Nonetheless, He is the one who loves you most.”
– You are NEVER out of His sight. Nor are you ever away from His care.
He sees you.