God Who Sees

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!

Indescribable Gift

Christmas has always been one of my favorite times of the year. I enjoy every single part of it! My family decorates the house, puts up Christmas lights, cooks, cleans, etc. Even now that I am out “adulting”, I still find myself waiting in anticipation to come back to my parents’ house with a home that is decorated and filled with Christmas spirit. Christmas has and most likely will always be the time of the year that I am in awe of. There is something else in this life that I have never been able to truly describe. It may sound simple, but the grace of God and his love has always placed me in a loss for words.

I tend to be extremely hard on myself in all aspects of my life. When it comes to work, I want to try to do the best job possible, and when I find myself failing, I blame myself first. In my relationships with my friends and family, I reflect on how I can always be doing a better job. I look at how I need to be doing better always first, that is no different about my relationship with Jesus either.

However, God gives us a gift that is indescribable, even when we don’t deserve it. When we look back to the Old Testament, God chose a people first and he promised to always be there for them no matter what. In Genesis 17:7, God makes a covenant with Abraham, “And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you”. Abraham was a man that did fear the Lord but was in no way perfect to the standards that were set before him. Immediately after the initial covenant made with Abram, Abram claimed that his wife Sarai was his sister to protect his life while traveling to Egypt (Genesis 12:10-20). God promised Abram that he would be protected, but still Abraham gave into his human desire to follow his own plan. Also, while Israel was enslaved in Egypt, their great leader, Moses, that God called to lead His people out of slavery, still out of anger disobeyed God and broke the stone tablets that God gave him (Exodus 32:15-20). King David, described as a man after God’s own heart, committed the sin of adultery and murder(2 Samuel 11). These three men are just examples of the countless others that the Lord used who gave up, disobeyed, and sinned against the Lord. Even though time after time, the Israelites continued to sin against the Lord, God had a plan to always hold fast to His covenant that He made since the first day of creation.

The only way that God could break this cycle of sin was to provide a redeemer. In Jeremiah 33:14-26, God tells Jeremiah of a “branch to spring up for David, and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In those days Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will dwell securely”. Jeremiah is foretelling of a redeemer, a Savior that will bring about a gift that will change everything. The savior that came, Jesus, came humbly to this world to save all of us from our sin and to fulfill all righteousness. Jesus came as an innocent child, from the line of David, and lived as perfectly man/God. He then died a gruesome death on a cross to save us all from physical and eternal death.

In the verse that was presented today, 2 Corinthians 9:15, says “Thanks be to God for inexpressible gift”. Another way I see that is indescribable, unattainable, and unimaginable gift. Jesus died gruesomely on a cross for a people who didn’t deserve it, so that way He could be with us forever. That is exactly what makes His sacrifice an inexpressible gift. There is no exact human way to express how wonderful the saving grace of God is. No matter how much we fail, sin, or give up, Jesus still forgives us of all that. He calls us “a new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

I talked about how Christmas was my favorite time of year. It gave me feelings of awe. However, the grace of God and his love are truly inexpressible, nothing like the feelings of awe I get from Christmas.

Father of the Fatherless

Psalm 68: 5:

“Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation”.

 

When you think of a father, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Many of us would look at our Earthly fathers to try and describe what we think a father is. We take our own personal connections to try and define what a father may be.

A father is supposed to guide, encourage, challenge, and love their children deeply. They lead their family with integrity and attempt to serve their family every step of the way. However, fathers don’t exist in every single family. Not only that, but there are so many parents in general that aren’t able to care for their children and have to give them up.

When I meditate on the beginning of this verse, I can only think of how different my life would’ve been without my Dad. He worked a lot of hours when I was younger to try and provide for the family. I am fortunate to have a Dad that served our family and who truly does love us. However, there are children that grow up without parents.

As seen in this verse, the Psalmist is expanding on the description of God being a Father to the fatherless and a protector to widows. This verse is only beginning to give us a glimpse of God being an eternal Father to all of us.

Orphans and widows both seem like terms that are used for those that are left behind and forgotten. God promises that He will never leave them and will be a Father and protector. John 14: 18 states, “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you”. Countless times in the Old Testament and New, the Word guides all to protect, provide, and comfort the widows.

The lost, fatherless, widows, and hopeless are only saved because of the love of their Father. God will never leave the fatherless and widows without protection. That is exactly why He sent His Son Jesus to die on the cross, for our brokenness. He redeemed us when all of us weren’t worthy. God the FATHER, has made it so that we will eternally be with Him.  No other Father or protector has ever been able to truly be there for all of us like God has and always will.

Despised By Men

Sin is rooted inside each of us. Humanity naturally runs toward sin because of the sinful nature that is in each of us. We despise what is good. It is hard to imagine, but many of us run away from Jesus and reject his teachings. Jesus came to the Earth to fulfill all righteousness and create a deep relationship with each of us, yet we still despise and reject Him.

 

Our theme for today comes from Isiah 53: 3 (ESV), “He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not”. Isaiah starts off the beginning of this chapter with giving prophetic context that these verses reflect the coming Christ and the servant that He will be for us. Isaiah describes the coming Christ as one with “no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him” in verse 2. The coming servant, Jesus, will be despised by the ones that He came to save. Luke 23:20-21 (ESV) states, “Pilate addressed them once more, desiring to release Jesus, but they kept shouting, ‘Crucify, crucify him!’”. Our true comforter and redeemer was despised by those that He came to save.

 

Jesus wasn’t just surrounded by the physical Jewish residents at that time asking for Him to be crucified, but he was surrounded by us. Jesus experienced a death that nobody could ever imagine. He took on all of sin, hatred, and rejection by everyone. However, Jesus did this because He was the only one that could save us from our sin. Looking back toward Isaiah 53, verse 12 states, “yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors”. Jesus took on all of our sins and pardoned us at the moment he was put to death. He took away all of our guilt and shame and became the only servant that could redeem us. Jesus was only able to be our sacrifice because he was the Son of God.

 

When we enter into a relationship with Jesus and believe in all that He did for us, we are made new. There is redemption through Jesus Christ. Our past sin and rejection have been forgiven and we are made new. Jesus has served us by sacrificially giving His life to make you a part of His plan.