The God Who Sees and Hears Us

4He slept with Hagar, and she conceived. When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress. 5Then Sarai said to Abram, “You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering. I put my slave in your arms, and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me. May the LORD judge between you and me.” 6“Your slave is in your hands,” Abram said. “Do with her whatever you think best.” Then Sarai mistreated Hagar; so she fled from her. 7The angel of the LORD found Hagar near a spring in the desert; it was the spring that is beside the road to Shur.

When Hagar, Sarai’s slave girl, becomes pregnant, there were changes in the household and relationships. Things got messy! Hagar becomes proud and begins to look down upon her mistress. We don’t know what is said or the behavior of Hagar, but whatever the attitude of the younger Hagar to the seventy-five-year-old Sarai, it is one of suffering for Sarai:

5Then Sarai said to Abram, “You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering. I put my slave in your arms, and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me. May the LORD judge between you and me” (Verse 5).

Sarai now blames Abram for his lack of leadership in allowing this shortcut to go ahead, and she is right. Abram was the leader of the home, the one who gets direction from God and leads the family accordingly, yet his leadership is reactionary to go with the flow, rather than seeking God for His direction as to the strife that he has now brought upon his family and into his home. When Sarai brings the situation up with Abram, he should have been the one to sort it out, but instead he throws it all back into Sarai’s lap:

6“Your slave is in your hands,” Abram said. “Do with her whatever you think best.” Then Sarai mistreated Hagar; so she fled from her (Verse 6).

Abram should have dealt kindly to Hagar and counseled Sarai to do the same. After all, they were the ones who came up with the plan in the first place! Unfortunately, Abram does not bear responsibility for Hagar. Notice that in his response to Sarai, he does not even call Hagar by her name, but calls her ‘Sarai’s slave’ (Verse 6). It is as if he is distancing himself from the whole situation, and from Hagar herself, along with the child he is responsible for. It is complete abdication. Hagar is not asked how she feels about all that is going on, and Abram takes little care for her soul. Having been used as a commodity, she is now cast aside. Surely she must be, at this point, a visible reminder of the failure of Abram and Sarai in trying to take a shortcut to God’s purposes. How many unwanted feelings did this situation breed for all three involved? I’m sure Hagar was left feeling that this baby she is carrying will be unwanted by the family she has been a part of. Hagar must have felt very insecure at a time in life that a woman needs even more security with a baby on the way. Can you imagine her grief and state of mind as she ran away from home? We are told that she went to a deserted place where she sat down by a spring. A deserted place tells us that she wanted to be alone. It is possible she did not feel safe, having been badly treated by Sarai and not sure of their intentions toward her and the child she was carrying. She is retreating, licking her emotional wounds, so to speak, and seeking solitude when the Angel of the Lord comes to her. Thank God that whenever we are in a dry and desert place, there is always a well of salvation, and our God is always watching over us.

If you have not yet entrusted your life to the God of all comfort, it is time to cast your soul upon Him, for He cares for you. Keith Thomas

 

Who Is the Angel of the Lord?

We are thinking of the fact that God has visited earth in the form of a man several times in the Old Testament, before He was born as the Man, Jesus. In a number of places in the Tenach, the Old Testament, He was called the Angel of the Lord, but make no mistake, this was YHVH in the flesh that visited. For instance, God was the One who was protecting the birth of Ishmael, because He was going to bring about the birth of the Arabic people. We are told that Ishmael’s mother, Hagar, when she was running away from her mistress, Sarah, was protected and cared for by the Angel of YHVH:

The angel of the LORD found Hagar near a spring in the desert; it was the spring that is beside the road to Shur (Genesis 16:7).

This was not a normal angel, He is called the Angel of YHVH in verses 9,10, and 11. But in verse 13, this angel is called YHVH:

Then she called the name of YHVH who spoke to her, “You are the God who sees me.” (Genesis: 16:13).

This was the same angel, the Angel of YHVH, that held Abraham’s arm as he was about to sacrifice Isaac. He spoke to Abraham in the first person, as if He Himself was and is God.

10Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11But the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 12He said, “Do not stretch out your hand against the lad, and do nothing to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me” (Genesis 22:10-12).

Did you miss it? This Angel, the One in the form of a man, was speaking as if He was and is God. Again, further in the conversation between Abraham and the Angel of the Lord, the scriptures tell us:

15Then the angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time from heaven, 16and said, “By Myself I have sworn, declares the LORD, because you have done this thing and have not withheld your son, your only son (Genesis 22:15-16).

In the Old Testament, God Himself has visited earth in the form of a man. The same One who was born into the human race as a man to be a sacrificial Lamb, a holy offering for sin. God Himself came to the human race as a Man in order to take away and purge away sin, for every man that will take His substitutionary sacrificial offering as your own.

Keith Thomas

The God Who Comes to Lunch

I agree, it’s an awesome concept that the God who has created all things—the Lord of heaven and earth, should come down to earth and eat with human beings. But as amazing as it sounds, the great YHVH, the I AM That I AM, has visited earth in a human body. To the Jewish mind, that cannot be. They would remind us of what Moses, under the inspiration of the Spirit of God, said:

19And He said, “I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of the LORD before you; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion on whom I will show compassion.” 20But He said, “You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live!” 21Then the LORD said, “Behold, there is a place by Me, and you shall stand there on the rock (Exodus 33:19-21)

Yes, if we were to see God in the fullness of His power, it would kill us, but when we look at several scriptures in the Tenach, the Old Testament, we see that YHVH did visit in human form. Sounds incredible? God visited Abram, the one whose name was changed to Abraham.He and two angels came together and had lunch with Abram. Here’s what the Word of God says:

Genesis 12:7—Then YHVH appeared to Abram…

Genesis 15:1—And the word—YHVH came to Abram in a vision…

Genesis 17:1—And YHVH appeared to Abram…

Genesis 18:1—Then YHVH appeared to him at the oaks of Mamre

The verses above that have the word appeared in Hebrew is in the passive form of the verb to see. It means that Abraham saw someone—YHVH in human form. This becomes clear in Genesis 18:1-2. Just as a reminder to those of you not familiar with the English translation, when the word LORD appears in the text, the Hebrew word is YHVH—the creator God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob:

1Now the LORD appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre, while he was sitting at the tent door in the heat of the day. 2When he lifted up his eyes and looked, behold, three men were standing opposite him; and when he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them and bowed himself to the earth (Genesis 18:1-2).

Christians believe this to be a pre-incarnate appearance of the Son of God, the One who is YHVH in human form. The text distinctly tells us that the He appeared with two others as men. Two angels were with Him that day that were to go down to Sodom and bring forth Lot from out of the city, while the LORD listened to Abram’s intercession. The three persons are called “men” three times, verse 2, verse 16 and verse 22. One of the three was called YHVH-Man:

Then the men turned away from there and went toward Sodom, while Abraham was still standing before the LORD (Genesis 18:22).

As soon as He had finished speaking to Abraham the LORD departed, and Abraham returned to his place (Genesis 18:33).

This is none other than Yeshua, Jesus, the One who appeared to Abraham, He Himself said that He had met Abraham:

56“Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.” 57So the Jews said to Him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?” 58Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.” 59Therefore they picked up stones to throw at Him, but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple (John 8:56-59).

God has come to us in human form, and His name is: YHVH is salvation—which is the translation of the name Jesus.

Keith Thomas

Unseen Things Can Be Dangerous

imagesFor we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12).

When I glanced down at the water rushing past our fishing trawler in the wrong direction, I knew something was wrong. The net my father and I were towing along the bottom of the seabed was caught on something heavy. We put our winches in gear and slowly pulled the boat back against the tide, toward the object that was stuck in our net. Inch by inch, we heaved the net up, while our two-ton winch strained at the weight. Our fishing boat, the Why Worry, heavily leaned as she creaked and groaned, the derrick and mast taking the strain. When the net had been pulled to the surface, we found in the Cod End, the largest of the Second World War German magnetic mines. A whopping 12-foot-long mine still in pristine condition, with 1,500 pounds of high explosives. Designed to blow ships completely in half, it was now swinging inches above our deck as the waves made us roll. With a heavy clunk, we rested the mine on deck. Made of stainless steel, it looked as though it had just been placed on the bottom of the seabed. It had been buried beneath the mud in a very familiar piece of fishing ground, a place we had fished over and over again. The chains at the front of the net must have just caught it perfectly. Once we cut the mine from our net, we had to get it over the side again without incident. A delicate task, considering that it was still in such good condition, and was possible that it could still explode. Fishermen had heard of such things happening, boats just disappearing and not accounted for. With the whole boat leaning, we gently lowered it back into the sea and carefully cut through the rope strop, releasing it from our boat. Then, to our amazement, the mine stood up in the water, the top part of it still showing! We had not realized how shallow the water was and how little water was under our boat. We called the Coastguard to come and detonate the mine, so that it would not be a danger to any other boats. On the next high tide, they tied it to a long rope, towed it out to deeper water, and blew it up.

Seeing Beyond the Physical Realm

Like trawling a net in waters where two world wars have been fought, there are some things in life that can be unseen, but deadly. Just because you may be unaware of something dangerous, it doesn’t mean it cannot affect you. Electricity in a light plug is unseen, but stick your finger in a live socket, and you will soon realize there are powerful things that are unseen, but dangerous. Natural gas is odorless, but if there is a lot in your house, it can totally destroy your home. So, gas companies added a horrible smell, so that if we have a leak, we’ll smell it. The unexploded mine shed light on the truth: even though we had gone over that familiar fishing ground again and again without problem; there are some things in life that cannot be seen, but still affect our lives in ways we don’t realize.

The Bible is very clear that there is more to this world than can be seen with the naked eye. There is a spiritual realm that is just as real as the world we live in; I believe it to be more real than what is seen. This world is temporary and passing, a shadow of things to come. There are things unseen that are happening around us all the time which are of a spiritual nature, and have eternal value. The majority of Christians have no room for the supernatural; for the most part, they are oblivious to angelic beings and demonic spirits. How many times do we miss seeing God’s power displayed and Satan’s kingdom displaced because we don’t reach out to God in prayer for supernatural resources and His intervention?

If you would like to study the topic of spiritual warfare, demons and angels, scroll down the middle column until you get to the series called, “If God is For Us…” click the first study called The Unseen Realm, the PDF or the doc.

Keith Thomas

For He will give His angels charge concerning you, to guard you in all your ways (Psalm 91:11).

8714Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation? (Hebrews 1:14).

The writer of the Book of Hebrews in the Bible states that God knows ahead of time just who will take up God’s free offer of the gift of Salvation, and that He assigns an Angel to us, even before we actually commit ourselves to Christ. The creator God, the Lord of all the Earth, lives outside of time and acts inside of time on the basis of what He knows you will do with the gift of God—the gift of eternal life in Christ Jesus. If you are a believer, or will be in the future, an angel of God has been assigned to you. You might have noticed that the passage above says that the angels are sent to those who will inherit salvation—future tense. This angel sent to you is a ministering (serving) spirit sent to serve you. The Bible has many instances of Angels serving God and His people down through the ages. We don’t talk to the angels or reach out to them—we talk to God about whatever we are going through, and He instructs His angels as to what to do. Of course, there are evil angels as well, Satan is an evil angel that heads up an army of evil angels that are opposing God and seeking to corrupt and destroy God’s greatest creation—Man. Most of the time the angelic beings are not seen, but occasionally God has let men see just how many are on our side

In the Old Testament book of 2 Kings there is a story of a king reigning in Aram who was angry because his actions and intentions were somehow being made known to the armies of Israel. He could not understand how Israel knew everything he was doing, and everything he plotted (2 Kings 6:8-10). He thought that he had a spy among his leaders. His problem was that Israel had a man of God, Elisha, who lived his life in such a way that he was able, by the Spirit of God, to know the very words that the King of Aram spoke in secret to his generals (2 Kings 6:11-12). God was revealing these things to Elisha, who was very aware of the unseen realm, and who had an intimate and powerful prayer life, which gave him this special insight.  When the King of Aram found out about Elisha’s gift, he was so enraged that he sent his army to the town where Elisha lived, hoping to kill or capture him:

14Then he sent horses and chariots and a strong force there. They went by night and surrounded the city. 15When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh, my lord, what shall we do?” the servant asked. 16“Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them” 17And Elisha prayed, “O LORD, open his eyes so he may see.” Then the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. 18As the enemy came down toward him, Elisha prayed to the LORD, “Strike these people with blindness.” So he struck them with blindness, as Elisha had asked (2 Kings 6:14-18).

When Elisha’s servant looked at the size of the army of Aram around and about the city, he began to lose heart. Things looked hopeless when seen only from an earthly perspective. But all was not as it seemed. There were spiritual forces around Elisha and Gehazi, his servant, which the young novice to the things of God was unaware of. Elisha prayed for his servant’s eyes to be opened to the unseen angels in the spiritual realm around them. All of a sudden, at the prayer of Elisha, he saw beyond this physical world to the reality of the spiritual forces of God that were previously hidden from him, angelic beings that were much more powerful than the army of Aram. He saw the armies of heaven protecting and surrounding the prophet of God, available to serve him in whatever way the prophet prayed. The enemies of Israel were defeated with one display of God’s power at the prayer of Elisha. We too, as servants of the Living God, have angelic hosts that protect us. It’s about time you called upon the Lord to help you in what you are going through. Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved (delivered) (Joel 2:32).

Keith Thomas