Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The God Who Sees

I was wondering, "Is God as observant as I think He is?" Here's a scripture I read today.

“For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Heb. 4:12 NIV So God sees and God judges as we let His Word in.

Here's another question. Is that the only reason God watches and sees? So He can judge us? Is that the only reason He's watching - to know if we've been good or bad?

I went looking for "God sees" in Bible Gateway. Here's a story.

Once upon a time God promised a man and his wife that He would give them a baby. They tried for years, maybe decades, and no baby. An immigrant lady worked for the man and his wife. She probably didn't share their faith. She traveled with them serving the lady of the house.

One day the lady of the house thought that perhaps her housemaid was God's answer to their having children. The maid's child would be her husband's child. Her husband would have an heir, she would have a family. She would help God keep His promise.

When the maid got pregnant, she began to feel pretty good about her place in the family. (She must not have had morning sickness.) She was carrying the heir of a very wealthy man. She held it over the wife's head. The wife complained to her husband and the man told her to do whatever she wanted with the maid. So she did.

The lady of the house treated the maid so badly that the maid ran away, still pregnant with the man's child.

An angel found the maid and asked her what she was doing. The maid told the "angel" about all that was going on but instead of feeling sorry for her, the angel told her to go back and he would give her descendants of her own.

Apparently, the angel (who turned out to be God Himself?) said something or gave the woman something that she needed. Even though He told her to go back into a bad situation she worshipped Him. Hagar said to the Lord, "You are the God who sees me . . . I have now seen the One who sees me." (Gen 16:13 NIV) Apparently God gave her enough affirmation to cause her to go back into a potentially abusive situation. She went back.

Interesting? Another time, another culture, lots of language/cultural info we don't have. True. There are things about this story that make no sense to me. I have alot more questions than I have answers but the way I read this, God was watching Hagar and all that happened to her and it wasn't just to judge her. He was compassionate but He asked her to do something very very difficult. And Hagar came away from her encounter with God saying, "You are the God who sees."

If we imagine ourselves playing any role in this story there are far more details to ponder than most of us have ever been taught to consider, even if it is another time, place, and culture. This is Abraham the father of our faith and his wife that we're talking about. This is Hagar, an Egyptian slave. Who is God paying attention to?

Who is this God who sees? What else do the scriptures* tell us about God seeing?

*No matter how old you are, don't take the stories of scripture for granted. Go back and read them and read them again. They're alive - "the living word of God". All that God says about His Word is true. I promise you that, if you're looking, each time you look God will show you something you didn't see before.

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