Genesis 16:13 – So she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, “You are a God of seeing,” for she said, “Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.”
Yesterday we started looking at Genesis 16, as Abraham and Sarah tried to take things into their own hands, having Abraham sleep with a maidservant to produce who they thought was the promised son, which created a world of problems. As Hagar, the maidservant flees due to Sarah’s anger with her, “the angel of the Lord” meets her. Just as God came searching for Adam and Eve in the Garden, the angel of the Lord (likely Jesus Christ in a Christophony where He shows up in history before His birth to Mary) came searching for Hagar in the desert. The angel of the Lord spoke to her to inquire of her circumstances and Hagar explained that she was running from the abusive Sarai. The angel of the Lord instructed Hagar to return to Sarai and trust that God would protect her and provide for her and her son like He had Abram.
God also promised that her son would become the father of a great nation because he was a son of Abram, though not the son of the promise as that would eventually be Isaac. God also told Hagar that his name would be Ishmael, which means God hears, because God had heard her weeping and responded with kindness. God then promises that Ishmael would be a “wild donkey of a man” and that he would be a warrior in hostility with his brothers, who would descend from Abram.
In this account, the birth of Hagar’s son is announced by an angel much like the birth of Jesus is proclaimed by the angel Gabriel in Luke 1. Both announcements are given to the mother (Hagar and Mary), both women are greeted, both are told that they will bear a son, both are given God’s favor, both are given their son’s name, the future achievements of each son are promised, and the women both respond with thanks to God.
Ishmael was born to a Hebrew father and Egyptian mother and became the father of the Arab nations that, to this day, are in hostility with Jews and Christians alike as promised. And they are also a very wealthy people as God has blessed them with the wealth of oil.
As mentioned earlier, there is some question as to who the “angel of the Lord” is in Genesis 16. The word for angel generally means messenger and the Old Testament seems to distinguish between “an angel of the Lord”, which refers to one of God’s angels, and “the angel of the Lord”, which seems to refer to God Himself coming down (e.g. Judges 6:11-4, 13:22). In this section “the angel of the Lord” may in fact be Jesus because of Hagar’s response. In Genesis 16:13-14, Hagar named “the angel of the Lord” El Roi, which means “the God who sees me.” Therefore, it seems likely that Jesus Himself came down to comfort and bless Hagar and she recognized that it was God who had appeared to her in love. If so, Jesus may here be sitting with a woman at a well much like He did during his incarnation with the Samaritan woman in John 4, who was likewise not a Hebrew but was a sexually sinful woman.
Lastly, in this we see that God does love the Arabs, who today are more likely to be Muslim than Christian, in part because of this great family feud that began with Sarai and Hagar and continues to this day in great wars and conflicts throughout the world, particularly in the Middle East.
In this chapter, God is called “El-Roi”, which means the “God who sees me”. How does it encourage you that, no matter what you are going through, even when you feel lonely and abandoned, God is still watching you, with you, and caring for you?
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