Read: Gen. 16:1–16; 21:8–21
There are nearly 8 billion people on this earth. 8 billion lives, families, situations, issues, pains, sufferings. 8 billion existences simultaneously living. Some are wealthy, some not. Some are poor and some are so impoverished regular meals are non-existent.
Some folks are in bondage, captives, some are prisoners. Some are disabled, mentally, physically, emotionally, or whatever the case may be, and there is damage that lies beneath that is deep. And their impairment is immobilizing and even crippling.
There are many folks among the nearly 8 billion who’ve been abandoned, hurt, rejected, abused, and forgotten. There are many who have stories that would break your heart. 8 billion stories swirling around the world and most of us will only cross paths with maybe just a few. Perhaps we will bear witness or even be called to see and engage in some of these stories on a more intimate level.
I marvel at this. 8 billion lives existing parallel with mine and every single one of those lives matters. Every one of those 8 billion are significant. Every one of those stories are with purpose. 8 billion in existences that matter, who are seen by El Roi, the God who sees.
El Roi is a name for God that is used but one time in the Scripture, but the power behind that name and the deep significance is mind-blowing. God sees.
Hagar was a nobody by world standards. She was someone who could be easily discarded and forgotten. She held no prominent position in society in fact, she was a simple slave girl made maid servant. But she was seen.
Her life was complicated. She didn’t ask to be born in Egypt and she didn’t ask to be a slave. She certainly didn’t ask to be given to Abraham and Sarah and had no say in the matter to be a concubine use to reproduce. But this was her life, and it was messy and not be her design.
Sarah resented Hagar in the worst way. Hagar was able to conceive and give birth while she remained barren. Hagar was able to give her husband the one thing she could not. Sarah’s inability to wait upon the Lord to fulfill His promise, plan and purpose created an environment of strife, pain, and despair. Her decision to accomplish the desire of her heart, her way, damaged lives. Her unwillingness to keep her eyes on the Lord for this area of her life helped to create a nasty version of Sarah.
The deep seeded pain that resided within Sarah worked its way out in anger, hostility, and abuse, so much that Hagar needed to flee. And so, she did. She left. Hagar was pregnant and she fled with nowhere to go, nowhere to stay and nobody to care for her. She was an Egyptian in a foreign land full of people who did not see her or care about her.
Scripture tells us she was in the wilderness on the road through Shur, which was the road to Egypt. She was escaping the pain and suffering. She was fleeing from the abuse. She was on her way home. And then, the Lord appeared to Hagar. Scriptures tells us the Lord found Hagar.
The angel of the LORD found Hagar near a spring in the desert; it was the spring that is beside the road to Shur.
This is the first recorded appearance of the angel of the LORD, the incarnate Jesus Christ and this appearance was to Hagar, a devalued, broken, messed-up slave girl.
Throughout Old Testament Scripture, the angel of the Lord is the incarnate Jesus Christ and He made appearances to very prominent figures of the Bible. Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, Gideon, Samson’s parents, most all listed as heroes of the faith in the Book of Hebrew. Not Hagar. She wasn’t a hero. She was a nobody to everybody, except God.
Let’s face it, not everyone’s life matters to every person and if you are honest with yourself, you’d have to admit that not everyone matters to you. We’d simply be lying if we made that declaration. We are a people who discard one another for the simplest, and most ridiculous reasons. People are rejected based on skin color, political position, appearance, intellect, economic status, and the list goes on. No law or change in legislature will ever change that truth. The innate ugliness of humans can only be changed by the Holy Spirit.
But the reality is, none of us are devalued and discarded by God. He sees us, every broken, messed-up, insignificant, sinful one of us and He sees us with intention, and heart, and purpose. God begins to dialogue with this very woman who has been cast aside as worthless. And He tells her, “ I will greatly multiply your offspring, and they will be too many to count.” Her life and family was being established by the Lord.
God tells her to go back to Sarah and Abraham. Go back. He didn’t promise her that life would be better, or things would change. He didn’t remove her from her suffering. He said go back. God put her right back into the fire she had fled and said I got you. And in obedience, Hagar returns.
God could have easily put Hagar in a less volatile environment. He could have said, “I see how hurtful Sarah has been, let me lead you back to Egypt.” But that wasn’t His plan, or purpose. And it wasn’t where He was most concerned.
God’s priority was Hagar’s heart. God is always more concerned about our heart and will often leave us in painful, circumstances in order to chip away and get to the center of your heart. God sees our life through a very different lens than we do. He’s working deep, and wide to perfect what He has started.
Friend, you may be suffering today. You may be in a season of life that is tormenting your soul. You may be lost and feel as if nobody cares. Yeshua God, El Roi, the God who sees is for you and He sees you and you matter. He not only wants to walk alongside you, He wants to lead you in your journey. Turn your heart to Him.