Two Sides of a Great Truth

Genesis 16:13 – “And she called the name of the LORD that spake unto her, Thou God seest me….”

The exclamation of Hagar “Thou God seest me” is often seen as a striking motto. It serves a double function: providing comfort and encouragement, but also acting as a solemn warning. Hagar spoke these words in gratitude. She found consolation in the assurance that the Lord had watched over her even though her problems were the result of a series of sins. Abraham had shown a lack of faith in marrying her as his second wife. She had been wrong in becoming arrogant when she discovered that she would be the mother of his first child; yet we can’t excuse Sarah’s cruelty either. God, however, showed compassion for Hagar when she ran away from home, guarding and guiding her every step of the way.

The truth that we are never hidden from the Lord’s all-seeing eye is also a strong deterrent to sin. But it should not be used as a raw threat, especially with children. A parent should never say, “Bobby, even though I warned you not to swim in that unsafe place, I understand that you went anyway. I didn’t see you, but God did, and He will punish you for disobeying and lying!” A better and more effective approach would be, “Bobby, I know you went swimming against my orders. God saw you, but He took care of you even though you did wrong. Let’s pray together, confessing that you have sinned, and thanking Him for being so good to you in keeping you from harm.” This method would emphasize both aspects of God’s watchful concern.

No one ever escapes the consequences of sin – that’s the warning; nor can a believer go beyond the reach of the Lord’s protecting care – that’s the encouragement.