Summary: 5th message in series. This was preached by associate minister Steve Higgs. Many times we say, “God is watching you.” We often think of him as a proverbial Santa, “he know’s when you are sleeping, he knows when you’re awake, he knows if you’ve been bad
The God Who Sees Me
by Steve Higgs
As many of you may know, my mother passed away when I was a senior in high school. It was the result of a brain aneurysm and happened very quickly, and was very tragic. Over the course of the grieving process a lot of people said a lot of helpful and encouraging things to get our family through a very difficult time.
Probably the number one thing people said to me was, “don’t worry Steve, your mom is watching down on you from heaven.” Now, as a high school student at the time, that comment aroused in me a mixed bag of emotions. One one hand, during my high school and college graduations, I remembered that comment and it brought me a lot of hope. When I preached my first sermon, even though it was 7 ½ minutes long, I liked the idea that my mom was watching that. In 20 some odd days, I’ll be getting married and that comment will once again bring me a lot of hope. On the other side of the coin, when I had to drop out of my math class because I was basically failing…not a very comforting thought that my mom was watching over me, and possibly disappointed. When I’ve failed morally or spiritually, when I’ve humiliated myself in public (which happens several times a year)….it’s not a comforting thought, to think my mom’s up in heaven watching me fall on my face.
Many times we say, “God is watching you.” We often think of him as a proverbial Santa, “he know’s when you are sleeping, he knows when you’re awake, he knows if you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake.” It’s the same thing, at times the thought of God watching over us brings us great hope, and other times it brings us great fear. So different people think about God watching us in different ways:
Telescope: Some people think of God as way up in heaven, and we’re way down here on earth. He surely doesn’t have time to watch us every hour of the day, so every once in a while he goes to the old telescope and checks us out. So, we try to do more good then bad, with the hope that by the laws of averages He’ll catch us feeding the poor or going to church, more then He sees us cheating on our taxes or being a jerk at home.
Microscope: Some people think that God is constantly watching our lives, and He sees every screw up, follow-up, and blemish that can be found. As he looks at us through the microscope and sees us for who we really are, He gets angrier and angrier and angrier by the minute.
Where is the truth? How does God really see us? This phrase El Roi, the God Who sees, only appears one time in the entire Bible…Genesis 16.
Let me give some background. God has told Abraham, Abram at the time, that he is going to build a nation through him and his wife Sarah, Sarai at the time. Time goes on and Abraham and Sarah are getting old, and chapter 16 starts with the phrase that they had no children. So Abraham and Sarah decide to help God along a little bit and ask Hagar to bear a child for them, we usually get hung up on this, because we think that’s creepy and weird, but it was fairly common in those days for a servant to bear the child of a master who couldn’t bear children on her own. A surrogate mother sort of deal. So, Hagar gets pregnant. We don’t know what happens exactly, but Hagar begins to act inappropriately towards Sarah. It comes to a point where Sarah says that she’s suffering because of hagar. Abraham, not wanting to get involved, says “it’s your servant, do what you want.” So Sarah begins to mistreat Hagar to such a degree that it causes Hagar to run away. That’s where our story picks up:
Read Genesis 16: 7-16
I’d like to look at this story from 2 different perspectives (Hagar and Sarah) and keep in mind that there are elements of Hagar in Sarah (Hagar wasn’t completely innocent), and there are elements of Sarah in Hagar (Sarah was also kind of a victim). And, there are parts of us that are in both the characters as well. So, let’s jump into the text.
Some of you may have come to church today and you feel, very much like Hagar. You may have come to church today and you feel very much mistreated, abused, or neglected. You understand that you have made mistakes and you live with those, but what’s confusing is when you have to live with the consequences and mistakes of other people.