Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, July 13th, 2024
the Week of Proper 9 / Ordinary 14
Tired of seeing ads while studying? Now you can enjoy an "Ads Free" version of the site for as little as 10¢ a day and support a great cause!
Click here to learn more!

Bible Commentaries
Genesis 16

The Church Pulpit CommentaryChurch Pulpit Commentary

Verse 13


‘She called the name of the Lord that spake unto her, Thou God seest me.’

Genesis 16:13

These verses are connected with one of those primitive revelations by which in the early ages of the world waiting souls were led forward in the knowledge of God and in personal faith. Consider the testimony of Divine grace

I. In the name of the Lord in which grace was embodied by Hagar.—Hagar’s seeing God was God’s seeing Hagar. The vision was not merely objective, but subjective. The state of Hagar’s mind was doubtless preparation for some such interposition. Lamenting her sin, weary, desolate, praying for help. Man’s extremity is God’s opportunity.

The higher light of the gospel, dispensing with angelic appearances, reveals the greatness and wonderfulness of all things. Seeing God is the blessed result of a state of heart in which we become possessed with the sense of His presence; when we feel that He sees us, we see Him. The fool says in his heart, There is no God. What he says in his heart he sees with his eyes. Science, falsely so called, discovers nothing but what its own method is prepared to certify. The Apostle Paul takes Hagar the bondmaid, cast out into the wilderness, to represent the fleshly, unspiritual mind. So the world has been suffered to go its own way. It wearied itself with vain searchings. But when the outcast sits down by the fountain and weeps and prays, the angel of revelation and peace is nigh at hand. So in individual experience; we wake up to our real wilderness state. The voice is heard, ‘Whence camest thou, and whither wilt thou go?’ We begin to see that God sees us; then we begin to see God. We open our ear to the voice of covenant love, and find in the presence of God the promise of the future. We see because we are seen; we love because we are first loved. All true religious life is based upon a gracious revelation from God. In His light we see light.

II. In the connection of the revelation with the personal history.—Hagar saw the Lord, received His word of grace into her heart, obeyed His commandment. The faith which initiates practical obedience is a progressive blessedness. A new light was in the heart of the fugitive from the moment that she turned back; for the angel of the Lord did not only command submission, He promised abundant reward. When we know that God has appeared unto us, when we have looked into His countenance in the light of His reconciling love, when we feel assured that our life is under His eye, that it may be in His hand, then bondage is liberty, submission is delight, patience is growing expectation. ‘ Thou God seest me’ is the song of a grateful memory, the cheerful note of a gladdening future already foreseen by the light of hope and experience. Through a life of trial the Egyptian woman was led, but the well ‘ Beer-lahai-roi’ was never out of her thoughts. In the hour of her greatest calamity and distress she was not without faith. The angel of the Lord opened her eyes again to a present succour. Her child became great. Her obedience was rewarded in her descendants. Let us make the nearness of God, His knowledge of us, as His angels round about us, the gracious sunshine of His love about our life, not the threatening storm-cloud overhanging a defenceless creature exposed to to the wrathful righteousness of an offended Creator. Walk in the light. Be children of light.


‘The thought of God’s eye upon us is usually looked upon as a thought to restrain and bridle us in the hour of temptation and carelessness; and so it is. But is this all? Is it fixed on us only to make us feel our infinite distance from Him who is our Father and our God, only to make us shrink and tremble before Him? In our cowardice and with our selfish love of forbidden things we miss what is meant not merely to restrain us, but to be the greatest and most unfailing of our comforts. The thought that God sees us always is His great encouragement and help to His children in doing right. His eye is not the eye of a Judge and Ruler only, but of a Shepherd and Father, the Lover of the souls of men, these poor souls of ours and of our brethren, not sparing even His own Son for them. So in those bitter times, which seem to shut out all remaining hope while we are here, we shall know and feel that we are being watched by an eye of tenderness and sympathy deeper and truer than even that of any man on earth for his suffering friend.’

Bibliographical Information
Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Genesis 16". The Church Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cpc/genesis-16.html. 1876.
Ads FreeProfile