Athlete, God Sees You

*This devotional series was written by the AIA staff team at the University of Virginia

Read Genesis 16

What a mess!  Again, we see Abram and Sarai's faith tottering.  Even the giants of the faith are still mixed bags.  They are waiting and waiting on God to provide the promised child, but they do not see God moving, so they take matters into their own hands.  The Bible does not always explicitly condemn sexuality that deviates from the complete union described in Genesis 2, but it's always a disaster.  Such is the case here.  Abram and Sarai got the son they thought they wanted by using Hagar and committing polygamy (16:3), but it only leads them into more sin as Sarai becomes jealous of Hagar and they mistreat her.  When she flees, we see the tenderness of God toward the downcast Hagar as He reveals himself to her at a spring in the desert.  She says, "You are the God who sees me."  

In the New Testament book of Galatians, the apostle Paul takes this situation figuratively (as well as literally).  The child born through Hagar is symbolic of attempts to earn God's blessing through human efforts, credentials, or traditions.  Of course, that is exactly what Abram and Sarai were doing when they stopped trusting in God to provide a son and came up with their own plan.

 Questions for Reflection and Prayer

1. We may not have a very specific promise like Abram did, but every believer has the related promise of abundant, eternal life.  We have good, God-given longings for relational fullness, for physical health and fulfillment, for purpose and satisfaction in our work and other activities, and for closer fellowship with God.  All of these are promised to us when God remakes the world, and sometimes we experience them (imperfectly) now.  What have you been waiting on for a long time?  Where are you tempted to take a "short-cut," as Abram and Sarai did, because you do not see God providing?  

2. It is comforting to know that God was still with Hagar when everything was against her.  How does the name "the God who sees me" speak to you?

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