Old Testament Reading: Genesis 15 & 16
Psalm Reading: Psalm 10
New Testament Reading: Matthew 9
We have a need to be heard.
We have a need to be seen.
In today’s Psalm, the psalmist begins writing about a wicked man who preys on the weak, he doesn’t seek God, “in all his thoughts there is no room for God” (Psalm 10:4), he is haughty and God’s laws “are far from him” (10:5), he is full of lies and threats, and, “He says to himself, ‘God has forgotten; he covers his face and never sees'”(10:11).
There are those who would like to think that God never sees. Don’t be one of them.
In the second part of the Psalm, the psalmist calls out for God to arise and take action, remembering the helpless.
“Why does the wicked man revile God: Why does he say to himself, ‘He won’t call me to account’? But you, O God, do SEE Trouble and grief; you consider it to take it in hand…You HEAR, O LORD, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you LISTEN to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed” (Psalm 10:13, 14a, 17a)
And it just so happens that our reading in Genesis has an excellent example of this. Unfortunately, our very own Sarai and Abram, to whom God had promised a child and descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky, got tired seeking God’s way and waiting on Him. Perhaps Sarai didn’t think God really saw her trouble and grief, or wasn’t able to do anything about it, if He did see. So her solution (and an accepted custom of the time – still not making it right) was to have her husband sleep with her maidservant Hagar and build a family through her. Hagar did become pregnant and jealousy and bitterness mounted within the household leading Hagar to run away.
She had been oppressed, abused and used.
But God heard her cry.
An angel of the LORD tells her it will be safe for her to go back to Sarai and resume her servant’s role, but that won’t be the end of her story. She will have a child and her descendants will be too numerous to count. I love that she was told to name her child Ishmael which means ‘God hears’. What a great life-long reminder she would have every time she said his name. I also love Hagar’s response. After God named her child, this oppressed and helpless Egyptian servant girl who just met God in the wilderness gives a name to God. “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 NIV).
You are the God who sees me.
What a privilege to be seen by God.
In our Matthew reading we see that God has passed along this compassionate, caring, seeing trait to his son Jesus as well. Jesus sees the paralytic in need of forgiveness and healing. Jesus sees (and eats with and calls) the sinners and tax collectors (much to the dismay of the pharisees). Jesus sees the sick, the dead, the blind, the demon-possessed, the crowds that are like sheep without a shepherd. He sees and he has compassion and he gives hope and a new life. I am sure God is proud of His son – seeing these traits passed down.
Jesus says there is still work to be done. The harvest fields are full of the sick, the sinners, the oppressed, the Hagars. They want to be seen. They want to be introduced to the God who sees. Pray for God to show you where He wants you to work in his harvest field.
- Are there times you have resembled the man of Psalm 10:4 – “In his pride the wicked does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.” How will you make room in your thoughts for God and seek Him? What role does pride play?
- When have you known God sees you? How can you introduce others to the God who sees and His Son who gives a new life?
- What did God reveal about Himself to you in your reading of His words today?