God has put me on this path to study His names. I thought I was starting with Jehovah Tsidkenu (The Lord Our Righteousness) but this morning He sent me to Genesis 16:13 - Jehovah Roi (The Lord Sees Me). Initially, I couldn't understand how God could allow Hagar to be the one that gives us this lesson. Often times, she is seen as a villainous woman. One that tried to take the place of another. But God showed me something(s) this morning as I read Genesis 16.
First, Hagar was a slave to Sarai. She was given to Abram in Sarai's stead to breed. While many will say come on now Nakya, take a look at the actions from versus 1- 4. Hagar was enslaved then prostituted. Can we say human trafficking? Is it truly strange to think that when she had something that her capture wanted, that she began to lord it over her (Genesis 16:4)? She went from powerless to powerful. While her actions were wrong, they are not inconceivable. Have you ever felt powerless in a situation only to have it turn around and you recognize that you actually are the one with the power? Hopefully, you knew better than to hold it against another and make their life miserable. Not to long ago, God brought back to my remembrance a time when a supervisor was being extremely evil to me. My struggle wasn't with her but what God wanted me to do. He told me to take my oil, anoint her desk, her chair, and her doorjamb. I had to go into her office and pray for her. I fought against this for weeks, months. What my heart desired was revenge, but what God wanted was compassion. After debating with God in a fight that I was never destined to win, I waited until all had left for the day and went into her office and did what He said. I prayed for this woman, her home, her kids, her finances, her heart, her mind. I prayed for her like I would pray for a friend. I did this for an entire week. While she kept throwing fire and brimstone at me, I prayed. Unfortunately, her heart didn't change immediately and God removed her from the job. That wasn't my prayer. I wanted her to change not be removed.
Secondly, during all of Genesis 16, God had me look at the names of Abram and Sarai. All of this madness with Hagar happened before their transformation. Ishmael was born when Abram was 86 years old. While Genesis 17 is a page away, there are actually 13 years between this situation and God changing Abram to Abraham and Sarai to Sarah. My Pastor, Apostle Hope L. Daniels (Faith Deliverance Healing Ministries, Inc.) preached a couple weeks ago about transition. She spoke of the challenges that come during this transition or the in between process. Sarai knew that God had promised her a child but she didn't know when the child was coming, just that the promise had been made. She did what so many of us would do and took matters into her own hands and created a storm for herself in the process. Often times, we think we have hold of something but it has a hold of us. This is what happened when Hagar began to tease her and mistreat her. Because Hagar was her slave, Sarai believed she had power over her. Not so. How many times have we believed that we had power over a situation, control over our own destiny only for it to blow up in our faces? It wasn't until their transformation came that the blessing that was Isaac came also. I truly believe that Hagar was sent to be Sarai's humility in that if her plan had worked, would she have laid with her husband again and seen God move so that she could birth the promise - Issac?
Third, when Hagar runs, God sends His angel to turn her around and go back and submit to Sarai. Wait. What? Submit to the one who mistreated me? Yep. Submission. Its a dirty word for some of us. The connotation for some of us means that we have to humble ourselves or make ourselves less than. Can I challenge you here that submission is not making yourself less than? Submission unto the will of God is the rainbow at the end of the storm. I hear you. Make that make sense, Nakya. If we agree that obedience is better than sacrifice (1 Samuel 15:22), and God tells us to submit to something or someone, then shouldn't we understand that submitting is being obedient per God's will? If we agree that all things work together for the good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28), then shouldn't we trust that submission is for His purpose and not ours? Hagar's son was born in the tents of his father and raised there until it was time for him to leave (Genesis 21). With her submission there was a promise from God. Hagar's descendants would be too numerous to count. Does this sound familiar? It is the same promise given to Abram (Genesis 17:4).
Fourth, God named Ishmael which means God hears. Hagar, an Egyptian slave, cried out to the God of Abram and He heard her. Why didn't she call out to her Egyptian gods in her time of need? It wasn't any of those imposters that heard her. It was the same God of Moses, of Adam, of Noah, of Abraham that answered her prayer. He's the God that saved her and gave her a promise for her unborn son -
11 The angel of the Lord also said to her:
“You are now pregnant
and you will give birth to a son.
You shall name him Ishmael,
for the Lord has heard of your misery.
Finally, here is where all of this comes to a point of salvation. Through all of this, Hagar finds her own relationship with God. Through the enslavement, forced prostitution, harassment, beatings, abuse, pride where she lashed out at those that lashed out at her, through all of those storms, we come to the essence of what she truly needs and desires. Genesis 16:13: She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.”. After all is said and done. After all hell and high water has come and gone. At the end of the day, God sees me. He hasn't forgotten about me. He knows my name. He knows what has happened to me. He sees my hurt and pain. He knows that I've been mistreated and am lacking. He knows my heart is empty and that my soul is thirsty. He knows that I've been wrong, made mistakes, fell from grace. HE SEES ME!!! He establishes a covenant with me. He makes promises to me. All I have to do is be obedient and submit.
If you ever find yourself in a place where you are doubting God, remember Hagar and call out to Jehovah Roi and you'll soon see that God sees you too.
Be A Blessing and Not Just Blessed