Hagar

A reminder for you, that you are seen, that you are heard:

Genesis 16 (NLT)

Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had not been able to bear children for him. But she had an Egyptian servant named Hagar. So Sarai said to Abram, “The Lord has prevented me from having children. Go and sleep with my servant. Perhaps I can have children through her.” And Abram agreed with Sarai’s proposal. So Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar the Egyptian servant and gave her to Abram as a wife. (This happened ten years after Abram had settled in the land of Canaan.)

So Abram had sexual relations with Hagar, and she became pregnant. But when Hagar knew she was pregnant, she began to treat her mistress, Sarai, with contempt. Then Sarai said to Abram, “This is all your fault! I put my servant into your arms, but now that she’s pregnant she treats me with contempt. The Lord will show who’s wrong—you or me!” Abram replied, “Look, she is your servant, so deal with her as you see fit.” Then Sarai treated Hagar so harshly that she finally ran away.

The angel of the Lord found Hagar beside a spring of water in the wilderness, along the road to Shur. The angel said to her, “Hagar, Sarai’s servant, where have you come from, and where are you going?” “I’m running away from my mistress, Sarai,” she replied. The angel of the Lord said to her, “Return to your mistress, and submit to her authority.” Then he added, “I will give you more descendants than you can count.” And the angel also said, “You are now pregnant and will give birth to a son. You are to name him Ishmael (which means ‘God hears’), for the Lord has heard your cry of distressThis son of yours will be a wild man, as untamed as a wild donkey! He will raise his fist against everyone, and everyone will be against him. Yes, he will live in open hostility against all his relatives.” 

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”). It can still be found between Kadesh and Bered. So Hagar gave Abram a son, and Abram named him Ishmael. Abram was eighty-six years old when Ishmael was born.


Hagar. Her name means “one who flees”, “one who seeks refuge”, and in her moment of fleeing, she is met by One who gives refuge. As she wanders in the desert, Living Water finds her there.

She lacked the sociological, economical and political power to have her plight noticed by men, and yet – He saw her. Her situation was not hidden nor ignored by the Lord, and she marvels at this encounter.

Let us remember how the Lord treats those who the world is quick to discard.

Do you recall, whether from a distance or from painfully up close, what it feels like to be unseen? It is a helpless place.

If we feel unseen in matters of justice, it is an uphill battle.

If we feel unseen in relationships, we find that we cannot pry sight from others. Even when we make a fuss to demand attention, we still feel unseen, because the attention that comes in the aftermath of acting out is not enough to fill our hearts.

But do you know the sweetness of being seen by the One who sees? The flood that follows the realization that there is One who has fixed his eyes on you all your days, and that those eyes are brimming with a loving gaze?

Perhaps, like Hagar, you have been mistreated. He sees.
Perhaps, like Hagar, you have acted in contempt of others. He still seeks you in the desert.
Perhaps, like Hagar, the Lord has found you in the wilderness. Is this not a marvel?

Hagar and her unborn son return home. Later on, in chapter 21, her master Sarah now has a son as well.
Sarah again becomes jealous and threatened by Hagar and the son she bore, Ishmael.
Hagar again finds herself wandering in the desert with her son.


 

When the water was gone, she put the boy in the shade of a bush. Then she went and sat down by herself about a hundred yards away. “I don’t want to watch the boy die,” she said, as she burst into tears.

But God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven, “Hagar, what’s wrong? Do not be afraid! God has heard the boy crying as he lies there. Go to him and comfort him, for I will make a great nation from his descendants.” Then God opened Hagar’s eyes, and she saw a well full of water. She quickly filled her water container and gave the boy a drink.


He sees, and He hears.

This is true today, for me, for you.

There is an easy road to cynicism, an easy path to assuming that God either does not care or does not notice our hurt, our need. But this train of thought is broken to bits by the reality of His love. Your weariness may lead you to believe that he does not hear, does not see. But this falls far, far from the truth.

We are Zacchaeus, and he sees us hiding in the tree (Luke 19).
We are Nathanael, and he sees us under the fig tree (John 1).
We are the blind man, and he sees us, giving us sight as well (John 9).
We are the crowd, sheep without a shepherd, and he sees us with a compassionate gaze (Mark 6).
We are the widow at Nain, and he sees us in our mourning (Luke 7).
We are the woman, bent with infirmity and disease, and he sees us and sets us free (Luke 13).
We are his weeping mother at the foot of the cross, and he sees us there even as he pays the greatest price (John 19).
We are the cripple by the pool, and he sees and has compassion on us (John 5).

He is El Roi – the God who sees. He stands ready to open our eyes to the wells of water all around us. Let him, and find that you are found.

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