Blog: You are the God who sees (03/26/21)
by Reverend Dr Clark G. Armstrong
Marshall Church of the Nazarene
I know five people since Christmas who have committed suicide. As pandemic restrictions, closures, quarantines, economic side effects, family and personal challenges persisted without any definite relief, depression began to increase dramatically and take its toll. Mental and emotional health is subtly at risk among all of us.
One particular weekend, God printed me the story of Hagar and his son Ishmael from the book of Genesis (16: 1-16 and 21: 8-21). Her situation and the name she gave God were clearly fixed in my thoughts. Maybe this name – “The God Who Sees” – is the reminder you need today!
Hagar was the maid of Sarah, wife of the great patriarch Abraham. Because Sarah could not have children, she gave Hagar to her husband to have a child (Ishmael) for her. But later when Sarah gave birth to a son (Isaac), she rejected Hagar and had them banished to the wilderness to survive on their own. Most of Hagar’s story concerns his fate behind the desert, rejected and alone with his child.
This is where God appeared to her, spoke reassuringly to her, and where she gave God that name. It was the first time that someone had given a name to God. In their culture, a name portrays the character or nature of the person. It is one of the 16 major names of God in the Bible. The most common are:
– El or Elohim (God, Judge, Creator),
– El Elyon (Most High God),
– El Shaddai (Almighty God),
– Adonai (Lord, Master),
– Yahweh (I Am That I Am, LORD, Jehovah),
– Jehovah Jireh (God Will Provide — related to the story of Abraham “sacrificing” Isaac),
– Jehovah-Nissi (God our banner),
– Jehovah Raah (The Lord my Shepherd),
– Jehovah Rapha (The Lord who heals),
– Jehovah Shammah (The Lord is there),
– Jehovah Shalom (The Lord is peace),
– Jehovah Sabaoth (Lord of hosts),
– Jehovah-Zedek or Tsidkenu (The Lord our righteousness).
Key Verse: (16:13)
13 She gave this name to the Lord, who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” because she said: “I have now seen the one who sees me.
That name is El Roi – The God who sees. “Roid” is actually the Hebrew word for “king”, so it is literally “the king who sees” or the king who is aware of what is happening in all parts of his kingdom. He is not out of touch with the most common, poorest, or most injured people in his kingdom. He sees their fate.
1. You are the God who sees.
He not only sees the big picture, but he also sees the smallest details of all of his creation.
God sees and cares for the birds of the air and the lilies of the field. “How much more” he says he cares about humanity.
He sees everything and he notices your situation and your injury today.
2. You are the God who sees me.
It is good enough that he sees everything and everyone. But it means so much more when we realize that He sees me personally, even now, even every specific aspect.
Hagar adds the word “me” because it is the word that means the most to her in her great moment of abandonment.
Hagar named her son Ishmael, which means “God hears.”
3. I have now seen the One who sees me.
It is very amazing that God appeared to him and spoke to him personally.
Never doubt that God speaks to the excluded. In fact, some say that is when he speaks to us best and most.
The original can be translated as “I have now seen the back of Him who sees me.” When Moses wanted to see the glory of God (Exodus 33:23), the LORD also showed him only his buttocks.
In the UK series “Call the Midwife”, government officials were going to shut down Nonnatus House because they didn’t know what a difference it made in London’s East End. Trixie, one of the midwives, gives them an impassioned speech.
They had no idea what was going on in their jurisdiction, but our God is the King who sees – the One who is fully aware of your situation and your struggles – and the God who presents himself when we feel most desperate. or how the world would be better off without us.