Discover the Book - September 12

The Compassionate Eyes of Jesus

Then[Hagar] 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 16:13, emphasis added

In the verse above, we see the compassionate eyes of Christ on a downcast, forsaken, homeless woman with child who had fled to the desert. What happened that caused Hagar to flee? Let's look at God's Genesis 16 account of her plight and find out.

Sarai suffered decades of shame by having no children. Even after God's promise to Abraham, they still had no child; so she took matters into her own hands. Although it was important to have an heir, Sarai calculatingly took it upon herself to try to work out God's will for Him. She thus said to Abram, "See now, the Lord has restrained me from bearing children. Please, go in to my maid; perhaps I shall obtain children by her." And Abram heeded the voice of Sarai. . . . So he went in to Hagar and she conceived (Genesis 16:2, 4).

When Hagar discovered that she was going to have Abram's child, she thought she would now be his favored wife. Hence, a rivalry developed between her and Sarai. To keep peace, Abram gave Sarai permission to do with Hagar as she pleased. After being treated harshly by Sarai, Hagar ran away (Genesis 16:5-6).

The Angel of the Lord (Jesus) found her by a spring of water in the wilderness and 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" (Genesis 16:7-9).

In spite of Hagar's difficulties, Jesus told her, "Return, even if Sarai despises you and treats you wrongly." In other words, He is telling us that we should not run from our problems-He wants to give us His grace to go through them victoriously.

Jesus then said to her, "I will multiply your descendants exceedingly. . . . Behold, you are with child, and you shall bear a son. You shall call his name Ishmael, because the Lord has heard your affliction" (Genesis 16:10-11).

It is interesting that this is very similar to the announcement in Matthew: "Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel" (Matthew 1:23). This is the Lord foretelling someone's name and his or her destiny.

But Ishmael had quite a different destiny than Christ: "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 16:12-13, emphasis added).

Since God paid attention to someone like Hagar, how much more will He diligently pay attention to those who bear the name of Christ? Hagar did not choose Abraham as her husband; she did not want trouble. She was only trying to be a mother and a wife. God understood Hagar's dilemma: right from the beginning, she did not have a choice in Sarai's plan; Hagar was a servant who should never have been purchased in Egypt in the first place. He therefore understands when you are thrust into situations that you did not plan on either. No matter how difficult your life may be, Jesus' compassionate eyes see you in your troubles, and He is waiting for you to look up to Him for help!

To continue reading this message, please click here.

For more from Discover the Book Ministries, please visit

  • Editors' Picks

    Stop Trying to Read the Bible in a Year!
    Stop Trying to Read the Bible in a Year!
  • The God of All Weather
    The God of All Weather
  • Does Islam Promote Violence?
    Does Islam Promote Violence?