Summary: In Genesis 16 Hagar, the servant girl of Sarai has a personal encounter with God and calls Him "El Roi" "The God who sees me"
Genesis Series # 4 CHCC: February 4, 2007
The God, Who Sees Me
An atheist was out fishing in Scotland, when all of a sudden a huge Dragon type Amphibian began to emerge from the water. With snarling teeth it slithered closer to the atheist. In desperation he cried out, “Dear God, Please save me!”
All of a sudden, the heavens opened and a deep voice said, “I thought you didn’t believe in Me.”
To that the atheist responded, “Give me a break, two minutes ago I didn’t believe in the Loch Ness Monster either!”
That may be how the main character in today’s sermon felt. We’re going to look at a woman named Hagar. She may or may not have believed in God before He spoke to her. But she surely believed in Him afterwards.
The book of Genesis tells about different people who heard directly from God. God spoke face to face with Adam and Eve in the Garden. He spoke to Noah and gave him instructions about building the Ark. Last week we studied about how God spoke with Abram and made a Covenant with him. This week we’re going to look Hagar --- a woman who never thought God would take notice of her.
Hagar was not an important person. She was not wealthy. She was not full of faith. In fact, her only claim to fame was that she ended up in the middle of a big, ugly, complicated, mess. Hagar’s story is not a pretty one. But we can learn some important lessons from her story in Genesis chapter 16. The first thing we can learn is also the first thing Hagar learned. And that is, quite simply, that life is a struggle.
1. Life is a Struggle Genesis 16:1-6
Have you ever watched that old classic Christmas movie, It’s a Wonderful Life? Most of the movie shows how Jimmy Stewart’s life was NOT so wonderful … but then it has a happily ever after ending. Well, the story of Hagar is NOT a story of a Wonderful Life. And it doesn’t have a happy ending. That’s how it is with a lot of stories in the Bible. The Bible doesn’t sugar-coat reality.
Consider these scriptures: Job 5:7 says Man is born into trouble as the sparks fly upward.
Job 14:1 says Man that is born of a woman is of few days and full of trouble.
Jesus said, in John 16:33, “In the world you will have tribulation…”
At its best, life can be a struggle. And no one would say Hagar had life at its best. For one thing, when Hagar was very young, she was sold as a slave to Abraham’s household … far removed from her own country of Egypt. God had promised that Abraham’s descendants would be as numberless as the stars. But years came and went … and Sarah became desperate. She decided to choose a surrogate to have a child for Abraham. Back then, that was a common practice --- but it wasn’t God’s plan.
There’s plenty we could say about the mistake Abraham and Sarah here. But this is Hagar’s story today, so let’s look at it from HER perspective. Hagar had very little control over what happened to her. She was young. She was a slave. She was far away from family and friends. She may have thought her life was going to get better when she conceived a child --- but instead things got much worse.
Hagar evidently decided that … since she was going to have Abraham’s child … she no longer had to show respect to Sarah. As you might expect, Sarah complained to Abraham about Hagar’s attitude. And, as you might expect, Abraham tried to stay out of the middle. Abraham told Sarah to handle it any way she wished. (…then he probably went off on a long hunting trip or something.)
The Bible describes the end result in one short, telling sentence, “Then Sarai mistreated Hagar; so she fled from her.”
If you ever feel like life is out of your control --- if your situation seems hopeless --- if you feel like no one understands, no one can help, and no one even cares --- then look at the story of Hagar. Hagar teaches us that God sees our Struggles.
2. God Sees our Struggles Genesis 16:7
Genesis 16:7 says The angel of the LORD found Hagar near a spring in the desert; it was the spring that is beside the road to Shur. Hagar was homeless, hungry, broke --- all alone and pregnant in a vast wilderness. She was a “nobody” with nothing to offer.
Worst of all, the very people who should have helped her … Abraham and Sarah … the people who knew God … they were the ones who were hurting her. But God did not abandon Hagar. God went to her … right where she was. Notice how specific this verse is. God knew exactly where Hagar was, and He knew just the moment when she would be ready to listen to what He had to say.