Hagar – Genesis 16
Genesis 16:13 – 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.”
To find hope in times of discouragement and in those moments when we feel forgotten or alone, reminding ourselves that even in that desert place we are loved by El Roi, the God who sees us.
Use a desert theme—tan tablecloths, cacti succulents and mirrors as centerpieces. Place large mirrors around the room with “El Roi—God Sees You” written in glass paint on the mirror.
Opening Activity: “Do You See Me?”
Ask the women to answer three questions on a sheet of paper, making sure no one sees their answers. Let the women know that their answers will be read aloud, so they don’t write anything they may feel uncomfortable sharing.
- Name one thing that makes you feel discouraged.
- Name one thing that brings you hope.
- What is one thing you wish others could see about you?
Place the papers in a basket. As their answers are read, the woman who wrote them will stand. The reader will share something good that they see in that woman. The process proceeds until everyone has had a turn.
Program Element Ideas
- Worship element – Invite one of the women to perform a creative dance to the song, “The Truth About Me” by Mandisa. If the women are not dancers, show the video instead. This can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qj5fMIKe47w This can also be used after the devotion for a time of reflection, if desired.
- Craft Ideas
- “Broken but Beautiful”—This craft uses broken mirror pieces and cardboard to create a mosaic heart. The instructions and pictures can be found at: https://craftingagreenworld.com/articles/diy-crafts-turn-broken-mirror-cardboard-mosaic-art/
- “God Sees Me” Mirror Craft—Invite the women to decorate mirrors (square or handheld, which can often be found at a dollar store) with beads, costume jewelry, buttons, using hot glue guns. Use glass paint pens to write on the mirror, “El Roi” or “God Sees Me.”
El Roi— Hope For The Discouraged
Read Genesis 16.
The first line to the song we heard earlier by Mandisa says, “If only I could see me as you see me and understand the way that I am loved.” I wonder how many times we have felt that way ourselves? We know what God’s word says about who we are and how He loves us. But when we get into desert places, discouraged and maybe facing what can feel like a hard time after a hard time, we often don’t see ourselves the way God sees us.
I would guess that Hagar was in that same place. Being a slave, her body was given over to her mistress’ husband. She must have felt used, despised and mistreated. She probably felt disposable and unwanted, pregnant, alone and facing the reality that she had nowhere to go and no one to turn to. She found herself in the desert, running from her pain, completely discouraged and doubtful that her life had any purpose or value at all.
The scripture says the Lord found her sitting by a spring in the desert. I imagine her looking into the water, seeing her own reflection, hating what she saw and telling herself all those lies we often tell ourselves when we are deeply discouraged. You’re nothing. No one cares about you. You have nothing to offer. You’re worthless. You are all alone. No one sees you.
In her deepest pain, there in that desert place, Hagar was given hope in her discouragement. She was found by God, she was no longer alone. God called her by her name as though no longer just the slave. He showed Hagar a love she likely never had known. For the first time ever she was seen, and her pain was heard by her heavenly Father. God told her to name her son Ishmael, which means “God hears.” He reminded her in that moment that He heard her. That He saw her. I think back to the song from Mandisa. Hagar was broken, but God saw someone lovely. Hagar saw guilty, but God saw forgiven. Hagar felt lonely, but God said I am with you. I’m sure this moment changed everything for Hagar. Filled with hope, Hagar proclaimed … El Roi, “You are the God who sees me.”
It’s important to realize, however, that Hagar’s circumstances didn’t change. God sent her back to her mistress and told her to bear Abram’s son … and eventually she was sent away, but even then God was with her. The difference in Hagar’s life is not that God made everything better in the physical sense, but that she now knew she was not alone and that she mattered deeply to God, that He would never leave her. When no one in this world knew her pain, God knew, and He cared. That is our hope as well. Not that we may see our current situations change, but that even when no one else sees us, God sees us. Knowing that changes our world completely, and we can push forward in the world seeing ourselves through our Father’s eyes as women who are loved, valued, worthy, capable, beautiful, heard and seen by God. There is hope for the discouraged. That hope comes from El Roi—the God who sees us.