What’s Going On
I usually cite verses from the New King James Version of the Bible, but today I singled out verse 13 in the King James Version because I believe it better maintains the flow of the story and makes God’s message for the church clearer. Here is the entire passage I wanted to focus on—note the subtle difference (in verse 13) and how the Kings James Version makes the account more personal.
Now the Angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, by the spring on the way to Shur. And He said, “Hagar, Sarai’s maid, where have you come from, and where are you going?” She said, “I am fleeing from the presence of my mistress Sarai.” The Angel of the Lord said to her, “Return to your mistress, and submit yourself under her hand.” Then the Angel of the Lord said to her, “I will multiply your descendants exceedingly, so that they shall not be counted for multitude.” 1 And the Angel of the Lord said to her: “Behold, you are with child, And you shall bear a son. You shall call his name Ishmael, Because the Lord has heard your affliction. He shall be a wild man; His hand shall be against every man, And every man’s hand against him. And he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.” Then she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, *You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees; for she said, “Have I also here seen Him who sees me?” Genesis 16:7-13
What Does it Matter
In the grand theme of things, it may not matter, but when we consider the private-ness and individuality of the episode taking place, it has a great significance. The most noteworthy event is that we see for the very first time the term, ‘Angel of the Lord, ’ which designates an appearance of Jesus Christ. While most [but not all] scholars believe that Melchizedek the king of Salem (in Genesis 14) was a Christophany (an appearance of Jesus the Christ), there can be no doubt [here] that this is Him.
What’s curious about Christ’s emergence is that He makes Himself first known to a fugitive (a woman fugitive at that) and not the spiritual forefather of our faith, Abraham. In every sense of the word Hagar is a criminal, fleeing from her owners, having stolen their property in the form of an unborn child. In so doing Hagar is a picture and a type of the unsaved soul fleeing from the very presence of God. The sequence of events is evocative of the story told by Jesus in Matthew 18
What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying? And if he should find it, assuredly, I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray. Matthew 18:12-13
It is a similar circumstance that so many of us once found ourselves in or perhaps one we find ourselves mired in today–the mistaken notion that we are of no value and unworthy to approach the throne of God; fleeing from His very presence. In actuality, while we have stumbled upon a truth, we have likely drawn an incorrect conclusion. The reality is identified in the Book of Romans.
“There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. Romans 3:10-11
Who Are You Going to Listen to?
It might not seem like it to us, but Hagar’s position was a glorious one. She had found herself not at a crossroad; not a fork in the road where she had to choose to go left or to go right, but rather on a singular lonesome road where the choice was to keep going or to turn around. Until this point satan had been her guide, his condemning words directing her escape. But then she heard Jesus’ voice. His words were not condemning, but convicting, for Jesus can only speak the truth. “Believe, repent and obey, ” Jesus essentially told her, and Hagar listened. Hagar’s response is our model.
…That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9