Mankind wants to be understood, known, and seen. I believe each person is wired with a sense of longing to be known by other people. Most people want to be recognized for something. What if someone has already recognized you? What if someone already sees you and recognizes you as the person you were created to be?
The story that we have in front of us today needs a bit of background. This story in particular is one that takes us back to the first book of the Bible, Genesis, where Abram and his wife Sarai are about to put their “destiny” in their own hands. In Genesis 15, God makes a covenant (a promise) with Abram. God promised that even in Abram and Sarai’s old age, their descendants would be vast (Genesis 15: 4-6). God made a promise that Abram’s family would be God’s chosen people and given a land that was not currently theirs (Genesis 15: 13-16). God, the creator of the entire universe made a promise with his creation.
Abram’s whole life changed in one chapter. At his age, he was told by the creator of the universe that somehow, he would have descendants that would reach beyond the numbers of the stars. Being in that position, it would be difficult to understand how that is going to play out. Genesis 16 starts shows how as humans, we want to take things in our own hands and not trust someone else.
Abram and his wife Sarai saw an opportunity to make sure that God’s promise came true. They had a plan to have Abram lay with their servant Hagar so that they can have a child. Hagar was a bondservant from the land of Egypt and served the household of Abram and Sarai. Once Abram had lain with his wife’s servant, Sarai was immediately jealous and treated his servant with harshness (Genesis 16: 5-6). Once Hagar saw an opportunity she fled away from her master! All through this Hagar has been mistreated, used, and uprooted from her homeland. She is most likely confused about the direction of her life and is tired of being mistreated for a plan that she didn’t want to be a part of.
Then…an angel of the Lord shows up and challenges Hagar to go back to her master and submit to her. Soon after that the angel then says in Genesis 16:10, “The angel of the LORD also said to her, ‘I will surely multiply your offspring so that they cannot be numbered for multitude’”. Hagar has to be thinking that she is out of her mind. She is being challenged to listed to an angle of the Lord, that is not of her home religion, and then believe that she will be with child. Also, the child that she is going to have will bring about many decedents. After first glance, I am thinking that she will surely run back to Egypt or go somewhere else. Why would she listen and return to her harsh master Sarai? What benefit does it have for her? How can she trust God during this time?
In Genesis 16:13, Hagar says in response to the angel of the Lord, “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’”. After all that Hagar has gone through and the pains that she will continue to bear, she still looks to the LORD and says that God understands, sees her, and will be there for her through it all.
Hagar’s story is much like our own. Hagar wanted to be seen and known. She spent her entire life submitting, being mistreated, and taken advantage of. Hagar wanted her own life without any restrictions, where people would see her differently. However, God had a different plan, one where He told her how He saw her. God showed Hagar that His plan was far greater than hers. Hagar’s experience is much like ours. We want to be known and understood in our own unique way. We all want to be recognized. However, God has already recognized us. He already has a plan and wants us to know how much He cares and loves for us.
We are recognized and seen by the one that created and died for us when we didn’t deserve it. We constantly seek after our own ways. Every single day we mess up, but God picks us back up and calls us chosen and redeemed. God sacrificed His only Son to die on the cross for us so that we know this eternally. Jesus, God in the flesh (John 1:1), came down to this Earth to die a gruesome death, so that way we can be called redeemed and known by God!
To be seen by God is to be known by Him. For those that believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior are a chosen people who God sees and recognizes all the days of their life!