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Thursday, July 18th, 2024
the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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Bible Commentaries
Genesis 16

Sermon Bible CommentarySermon Bible Commentary

Verse 13

Genesis 16:13

When Hagar fled into the wilderness from the face of her mistress she was visited by an angel, who sent her back; but together with this implied reproof of her impatience, he gave her a word to strengthen and console her. In this mixture of humbling and cheering thoughts she recognised the presence of her Lord, and hence "she called the name of the Lord that spake unto her, Thou God seest me." Such was the condition of men before Christ came: favoured with some occasional notices of God's regard for individuals, but for the most part instructed merely in His general providence. But under the New Covenant this distinct regard of Almighty God for every one of us is clearly revealed. When the Eternal Son came on earth in our flesh, God began to speak to us as individuals. There was a revelation face to face.

I. It is very difficult, in spite of the revelation made in the Gospel, to master the idea of this particular providence of God. We conceive that God works on a large plan, but we cannot realise that He sees and thinks of individuals. In trouble, especially when the world fails us, we often despair, because we do not realise the loving-kindness and presence of God.

II. In order that we may understand that in spite of His mysterious perfections He has a separate knowledge and regard for individuals, God has taken upon Him the thoughts and feelings of our own nature, which we all understand is capable of such personal attachments. The most winning property of our Saviour's mercy is its dependence on time and place, person and circumstance in other words, its tender discrimination. Even Judas was followed and encompassed by His serene though grave regard till the very hour he betrayed Him.

III. Consider our Lord's behaviour to the strangers who came before Him. Judas was His friend, but we have never seen Him. Let His manner toward the multitude of men in the Gospels assure us how He will look on us. Almighty as He is, He could display a tender interest in all who approached Him.

IV. God beholds thee individually, whoever thou art, He calls thee by thy name. Thou wast one of those for whom Christ offered up His last prayer, and sealed it with His precious blood. What a thought is this! a thought almost too great for our faith. What am I, that God the Holy Ghost should enter into me and draw up my thoughts heavenward "with plaints innumerable"?

J. H. Newman, Selection from Parochial and Plain Sermons, p. 204.

Advent brings with it the thought that we shall one day, every one of us, stand before our Judge, the All-seeing, the All-knowing. There are some things in religion which are among its plainest and most familiar teachings, which yet, when we come to think of what they really mean, seem almost too tremendous to bear. Among them is this truth that the eye of God is always upon us. The Bible everywhere takes it for granted, and appeals to it.

I. We all know that if there is anything true in the world, it is that God, who made us, must see and know all that we are and all that we do. What is the good, then, of fighting against what is inevitable, what is so certain? We ought to live and learn to live all day long with the thought that God's eye is upon us, if no other reason, for this one alone that this is the truth, that this is the real condition under which we must live.

II. 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. And so may we prepare ourselves for that day when our eyes shall be unsealed and we shall meet and behold each other.

R. W. Church, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xx., p. 345.

References: Genesis 16:13 . Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. ii., No. 85, and vol. xxxi., No. 1869. Genesis 17:0 R. S. Candlish, Book of Genesis , vol. i., p. 279.

Bibliographical Information
Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Genesis 16". "Sermon Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/sbc/genesis-16.html.
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