As I have posted about before, I am reading through the Old Testament. Most of it is a re-read. But this go-around, I am starting at the beginning and reading through all the way. No excuses. If I find myself getting confused or bored between the long lists of names and places I cannot pronounce, I will pray for divine intervention.
This morning, my reading picked up with Abram. I remember learning about Abram in Sunday school, his white beard down to his chest, and his poor plumpy wife, Sarai, who was barren. Here's a funny... when you're a kid, and you don't quite understand what certain words (like barren) mean anyway, you immediately equate them to something you do know. My grandparents had a dog named Barron, different spelling, of course, but in 2nd grade, I can't say that I knew that. I knew hearing the word and the story that barren was negative, and it meant she couldn't have children, which was so sad. To this day, I think about that dog when I see the term in the Bible, because we all know it's not a term used anymore. Anywho... that was completely off the subject, but I felt the need to share what I was thinking about in Sunday school when the teachers were adding Sarai to the felt board. I was thinking about that dog at my grandparent's lake cabin.
So I got to the point in the story when Sarai became anxious and impatient. I assume that's what she was... the Lord had promised Abram that he would be the father of many nations, that his descendants would be like the number of stars in the sky. Yet Sarai still had no baby to hold. Wow... how many women today feel like that as well. They pray and wait and pray and wait, and yet still no baby. So, Sarai went to her husband and said she'd give her maidservant, Hagar, over to him in hopes of yielding a descendant.
See... here's where I think the Old Testament is hard to take sometimes. These folks lived a wee bit differently than this Crazy Mama. I won't be handing over any women of any kind to my husband! But I know that in Old Testament Times, it was not uncommon for men to have multiple wives. So I just have to weed through all the uncivilized, barbaric types of behavior of gleam from it any tidbit of wisdom that I can. And in the midst of this odd tale of wife handing over another woman to sleep with her husband in order to rush the fulfillment of God's promise comes one of the most beautiful descriptions of God I have ever read in my life.
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
Wow. Here's what happened to make her say that, though. So Hagar became pregnant, and when it was known that she carried Abram's child, it created hostility between the two women. In fact, Sarai was so ugly to Hagar that she ran away. The angel of the Lord found Hagar, questioned her, and told her to go back to her mistress and submit to her. The angel also promised that her descendants would be too numerous to count. The angel's proclamation brings about Hagar's description of God.
The One who sees me. Don't we all want to be seen? And really seen, for who we are, for what we are inside. For how far we've come, not where we've been. For our heart, not for our mistakes. For our promise and identity in the Lord, not for the lies of Evil One of which we've fallen prey. God is the One who sees me. And that, my friends, is one of the most beautiful names of the Lord I've heard.