Scripture: Genesis 16:1-14 (focusing on vs 7-14)
Brief Description: The story of Hagar in Genesis 16 helps us take a closer look at what it means that God sees us. Is this a passive glance or something more? If you are in a season of feeling unseen or unsure of God’s care and presence in your life be assured that El Roi, the God who sees, is ever present and active in your life today.
Story background: Genesis 16:7-15
Here we find an Egyptian, slave women in the desert encountering the God who sees.
• Hagar was the first person to be met by the Angel of the Lord.
• She was also the first (and only) person to give God a name in the Old Testament
• She is one of four people who hear a covenant blessing for her life directly from God1. He seeks after you (vs. 7)
The word ‘found’ means; to come forth, appear, meet, be present.
God shows up and finds a way to be ‘present’ in her life. Wherever you are at in this season of your life be assured you are never outside of his gaze and he is always looking for opportunities to be present in your life.Q: When was the last time you remember God showing up and being present in a circumstance in your life?
You are never outside his gaze. Nowhere is hidden or too far away for God, Jeremiah 23:24, Psalm 33:13 and Proverbs 15:3, and he constantly is looking for ways to be present and active in your life.2. He knows your name (vs. 8)
God takes this one step further; he doesn’t only know our names as it is mentioned in John 10:3 where it says he knows each and every ‘sheep’ by name. In Isaiah 49:16 it tells us our names are ‘engraved’ on the palm of his hand. Being engraved carries a deeper implication then being written. Being engraved means it is “cut, carved” into God’s palm, implying permanence, something that cannot be erased.
Be assured, he is not only showing up in your life, but he is here to stay
.3. He is for you (vs 13-14)
At this very moment by the spring God elevates Hagar. She is no longer a nameless servant, she is a promise-bearer
but what floors Hagar is not the promised son, or the blessing, or even the suffering. What captures her attention in this exchange is that God sees her. “You are El Roi. The God who sees me.”
And we find her no longer near a ‘spring in the desert’ but next to a ‘well between Kadesh and Bered’.The difference between a spring and well
A spring was known as the ‘eye of the landscape’ and could flow all year round or drying up at certain seasons; turned into a well (v. 14) which in contrast to a spring is dug by man, a labour of love, to ensure there was an ever flowing stream of “water” and in this case “living water’ to which Jesus links this with the grace of the Holy Spirit in John 7:38.
Beer Lahai Roi literally means “the well of him that lives and sees me” or “the well of the vision of life.”The between place of Kadesh and Bered
Observe, if (the God who sees) is between Kadesh (which means holy) and Bered (which means judgment). Nothing escapes God’s notice. He sees everything between what is holy and what has to be judged. And between these two characteristics of God, sits grace. Hagar was now sitting at a place of grace.
The Apostle Paul shows us that grace comes in two forms;
• Grace as undeserved favour, which we may be familiar with. Paul speaks a lot about grace in this form. In Romans 3:24, 5:15, 11:5-6, all these verses speak about the gift of grace from God that is free and undeserved.
• There is also another group of passages, where Paul, comes at grace differently. 2 Corinthians 9:8; 12;9 and 1 Corinthians 15:10. In all three of these texts grace is not only a character of God but it is an acting of God that works in us to change our capacities for work, suffering and obedience. Grace can produce real and practical outcomes in our lives, like being sufficient for good deeds or enduring the thorn in the flesh or working hard, which are all things Paul say about his own personal experiences of grace.
In verse 8 we see God asked Hagar two of the most wonderful questions that I think when they are asked of us, we are truly felt seen. The questions were;
1. Where have you come from? (or What is your story)
2. Where are you going? (or what are your hopes and dreams for the future?)
These two questions aren’t just about her situation at that moment, they are about her past and future.
Everyone has a story! Why not take some time now as a life group and ask each other these two questions; “Where have you come from?” and “Where are you going?”