Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Genesis 16:13-14

Genesis 16:13-14: Then she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, “Thou art a God who sees”; for she said, “Have I even remained alive here after seeing Him?” Therefore the well was called Beer-lahai-roi; behold, it is between Kadesh and Bered.

Hagar recognizes the angel as being from God. In the earlier passage the angel indicated he was not to be confused with the Lord as he said, “Because the Lord has given heed to your affliction.” Yet, here, Hagar, speaks directly to God who sent the messenger and says, “You are a God who sees.” He sees individuals; He sees needs; He sees our sins and weaknesses; He sees the future. Like Hagar, we can call out to Him and acknowledge, “He is a God who sees.” Not to do so, we miss out on His omnipotence that can be applied to our lives and in our times of distress.

Now Hagar asks herself the following question, “Is it possible that who I just saw was not an angel, but God Himself? And if so, is it possible that I did that and am still alive?” Two things are of interest here. We see no reference in the passage (from vs. 7 forward) that the angel actually “appeared” to Hagar. It is possible therefore, that the angel was always behind her or, because she indicated seeing something, that she only saw the angel’s back. If so, she may have seen God to that extent. Secondly, it is interesting that Hagar becomes the first one as far as scripture is concerned to recognize somehow that seeing the face of God could mean death. Nothing in Genesis so far implies that idea.

Hagar there and then decides to somehow eternalize the fact that God sees us, and her in particular, as she names the well where she was visited by an angel. She calls it Beer-lahai-roi, which in Hebrew means “well of the Living One seeing me.” What historical element do we have in our own experience – some great event, perhaps some treasured artifact that brings back a memory of a time in our lives when we knew without a doubt that the all-seeing God was and is, and that He sees us?

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