Listen: Britt Nicole, "All This Time" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PXOtq3du_Pg
Thoughts on the Book of Revelation....chapter 4 con’t.
Last night at bible study we had a lively discussion on chapter 4 of the Book of Revelation, particularly with the description of the Four Living Creatures who surround the Throne of God. These four creatures are covered with eyes, inside and out (v.8). Like a lot of symbolism in the book of Revelation, it seems bizarre until we stop and think what it means. God sees. God sees what on the inside of our hearts as well as the outside, what we say and do. God sees the past as well as the future. There is nothing in us or around us that escapes God’s eternal vision.
This is well illustrated by a story in the beginning of the Bible, Genesis 16. Hagar, the slave girl of Sarai, is given to Abram to become a surrogate mother. Hagar conceives and tensions in the household reach such a pitch, Sarai mistreats Hagar to the extent that Hagar runs away. She gets lost in the desert. In her distress an angel of the Lord appears to her, calls her by her actual name, Hagar (Sarai and Abram just called her “slave-girl.”) After instructing her to return to Sarai and submit to her, the angel gave Hagar God’s promise: ‘I will so increase your descendants that they will be too numerous to count’ (Gen 16:10). Hagar is promised a son, to be named “Ishmael” or “God hears.” Ishmael is one of seven people named before their birth in the bible (a list that ends with Jesus)!
God’s promise to Hagar came at a time when she had nothing — no family, no home, no status. Grateful for the Lord’s care and provision, Hagar called Him “El Roi” – the God who sees me. Hagar becomes the first person – the first woman – to name God. “El Roi,” “ The God Who Sees.”
You see, God does not just see a slave girl who gave some lip to her mistress. God does not just see a pregnant servant, a single woman, without hope or a future. God sees Hagar, a young woman in trouble. God gives her a vision for herself and sees to the future of her son, Ishmael, and his descendants.
God’s vision is perfect. However often we suffer from “presbyopia” – a loss of vision, an inability to focus and see what’s near to us. We see the past. Our vision becomes selective. Like Abram and Sarai, we see the “slave girl” and not a young woman with a name, Hagar. We see someone who accommodates our needs (a surrogate mother who has no say in the matter) instead of a woman who God sees also the mother of descendants.
Today, let us reflect on our spiritual vision. One of the most important gifts we can give each other is to see beyond the surface, beyond what we want or what benefits us, and see someone for who they really are. God wants us to see beyond the labels (“slave girl”) to the person who stands before us (“Hagar”). God wants us to focus on seeing that everyone, even each one of us - has a direction and purpose - just as he shared with Hagar. The God Who Sees saved her life. When we let ourselves be seen by El Roi, and in turn see with God’s focus, clarity and love those around us, who knows who we might save. Maybe even ourselves.
Prayer: "El Roi: correct my vision so I may see myself, others and the world through your perfect, loving and righteous vision."