She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.” Genesis 16:13
The Experience Project, one of the largest online communities of the twenty-first century, was once a site where tens of millions shared deeply painful firsthand experiences. As I read through the heartbreaking stories, I reflected on how desperately our hearts long for someone to see—to understand—our pain.
In Genesis, the story of a young handmaid reveals just how life-giving this gift can be. Hagar was a slave girl likely given to Abram by a pharaoh of Egypt (see Genesis 12:16; 16:1). When Abram’s wife Sarai was unable to conceive, she urged Abram to conceive a child with Hagar—a disturbing yet familiar practice of that day. But when Hagar became pregnant, tensions flared, until Hagar fled into the wilderness to escape Sarai’s abuse (16:1–6).
But Hagar’s predicament—pregnant and alone in a harsh, unforgiving desert—didn’t escape divine eyes. After a heavenly messenger encouraged Hagar (vv. 7–12), she declared, “You are the God who sees me” (v. 13). Hagar was praising One who sees more than the bare facts. The same God was revealed in Jesus, who, “when he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless” (Matthew 9:36). Hagar encountered a God who understood.
The One who saw and understood Hagar’s pain sees ours as well (Hebrews 4:15–16). Experiencing heaven’s empathy can help the unbearable become a bit more bearable.
How does it reassure you to know God understands the challenges you face? How can you be a channel of His empathy and compassion to others?
One way God expresses His Fatherhood is in His desire for an intimate relationship with us. Notice how the first line of the Lord’s Prayer—“Our Father who is heaven, hallowed be Your name” (Matt. 6:9)—moves from His fatherhood to His holiness. In one sentence, Jesus shows us that we can have a personal relationship with God even though He is holy and perfect. This prayer has a sense of transparency, which indicates a close, trusting relationship. We can ask our Father to provide our daily needs and completely forgive our sins; we can also ask Him to give us the power to forgive others who sin against us.
Quieting ourselves before God enables us to sense His presence, and the more we’re attuned to Him, the more He will reveal who He is. We’ll also better understand His desire to communicate with us and show His love. And we can trust that He hears us. If He weren’t listening, why would Jesus have said, “Ask, and it will be given to you” (Luke 11:9)?
God’s unconditional love, the greatest expression of His fatherhood, is the same for those who accept Him as it is for those who reject Him. But unfortunately, those who reject the Lord position themselves in such a way that they cannot enjoy His divine love. Yet we who follow Christ remain in God’s unconditional care and protection, which is fully accessible (John 15:9-11).
The Lord promises to be with us forever (John 14:16-18). How awesome to have a Father who knows us intimately, speaks to us, and offers us unconditional love that will never end.
“Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding . . . When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” (Job 38:4-7)
It is significant that there was singing at the very time of creation. The “morning stars” of this verse are, by Hebrew poetic parallelism, the same as the “sons of God” who were present when God “laid the foundations of the earth.” Similarly, “sang together” is parallel with “shouted for joy.”
It is thus beautifully appropriate to sing of the glories of God’s creation, for angels were doing this even before Adam and Eve were created! The first actual human song mentioned in the Bible, however, was the thanksgiving song of Moses (Exodus 15:1-21), composed and sung by Moses and the children of Israel after their deliverance from Pharaoh and the waters of the sea.
Finally, it is significant that the last song mentioned in the Bible is “the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb” (Revelation 15:3), sung in heaven by “them that had gotten the victory over the beast” (v. 2). This presumably refers back to the original song of Moses, since the deliverance from Pharaoh was, spiritually, a type of their triumph over the beast, the great world ruler in the end times. However, it must now be combined with the song of the Lamb, probably the “new song” of the saints at the Lamb’s throne in Revelation 5:8-10, praising the Lord for their redemption through His blood, shed in substitution for their sins.
These should surely be the three major themes of Christian music, for these are the main themes of the Bible’s songs. It is fitting that they should refer to the past, present, and future works of Christ—His mighty work of creation in the beginning, His gracious work of sustenance in the present, and His glorious work of full redemption in the future. HMM
Truly my soul waiteth upon God: from him cometh my salvation.
I think we are the busiest bunch of eager beavers ever seen in the religious world. The idea seems to be that if we are not running in a circle, breathing down the back of our own neck, we are not pleasing God!
When Jesus said, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15), Peter probably leaped to his feet and, no doubt, scooped up his hat on the way out. He was going to go right then!
But the Lord said, “Peter, come back, and ‘tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high’ (Luke 24:49).”
I heard a Christian leader warn recently that we are suffering from a rash of amateurism in Christian circles. Christianity has leveled down and down and down. We are as light as butterflies—though we flit, flit, flit around in the sunshine and imagine that we are eagles flapping our broad wings.
Sometimes I think the Church would be better off if we would call a moratorium on activity for about six weeks and just wait on God to see what He is waiting to do for us. That’s what they did before Pentecost. COU095
Lord, this morning I’ll stop for a while at least to “just wait on God.” I know You’re wanting to work, and I for one am willing to wait this morning to hear Your voice and discover what You want to do for me today. Amen.
We know not what we should pray for, as we ought.—Romans 8:26.
O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do.—Daniel 9:19.
Grant us not the ill
We blindly ask; in very love refuse
Whatever Thou know’st our weakness would abuse.
We know not precisely what is best for us. We know not what will make us truly happy, We know not what will help us best in our struggle against temptations. And if we were to try to make a distinction between our mere passing wishes and that which our souls really needed, we should utterly fail. But we need not try. Let us take all our wishes, all our longings, all the promptings of our consciences, to the feet of our Father. He will hear and He will do. He will hear all we say. He will know what parts of our prayer are best for us to have, and what are not. And He will give us what His fatherly love will choose. And therefore to all our prayers we will add, “Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.”
“And the Lord shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one Lord, and his name one.” Zech. 14:9
Blessed prospect! This is no dream of an enthusiast, but the declaration of the infallible Word. Jehovah shall be known among all people, and His gracious sway shall be acknowledged by every tribe of man. Today, it is far from being so. Where do any bow before the Great King? How much there is of rebellion! What lords many, and gods many, there are on the earth! Even among professed Christians what diversities of ideas there are about Him and His gospel! One day there shall be one King, one Jehovah, and one name for the living God. O Lord, hasten it! We daily cry, Thy kingdom come.
We will not discuss the question as to when this shall be, lest we lose the comfort of the certainty that it shall be. So surely as the Holy Ghost spake by His prophets, so surely shall the whole earth be filled with the glory of the Lord. Jesus did not die in vain. The Spirit of God worketh not in vain. The Father’s eternal purposes shall not be frustrated. Here, where Satan triumphed, Jesus shall be crowned, and the Lord God Omnipotent shall reign. Let us go our way to our daily work and warfare made strong in faith.