Because in these instances we are not talking about analogies or archetypes in the Old Testament, -but possible appearances of Jesus.

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1 Title: Hagar and the Angel of the LORD! Text: Genesis 16:1-16 I d like to introduce you to the Angel of the LORD today! -And I m not just talking about any old angel, -or a little cherub with wings. -I am talking about THE Angel of THE LORD. This passage in Genesis 16 about Hagar, Sarah s maidservant, is the first place in the Bible -where the Angel of the LORD makes an appearance. But there are 50 more times that the Angel of the LORD is specifically mentioned as appearing to someone in the Bible. And here s the thing about these appearances: -many Christian scholars, including Walter Kaiser who for many years was the President of Gordon-Conwell Seminary, -believe that these appearances of the Angel of the LORD are pre-incarnate appearances of Jesus Christ. So since we are seeking to discover Jesus in the Old Testament this year, -I don t want you to miss out on being introduced to the Angel of the LORD. Because in these instances we are not talking about analogies or archetypes in the Old Testament, -but possible appearances of Jesus. So let s look at this very first appearance of the Angel of the LORD to Hagar to see what these scholars are talking about in making the connection to Jesus. When the Angel of the Lord shows up, here to Hagar, and in every other instance, -he speaks for God in the first person, -and the person he is speaking to believes that it is God Himself who is standing there speaking. Now, the ambiguous part is that the word Angel means messenger,

2 -and there are many other times in the Old and New Testament when an angel appears to a person, -and brings them a message from God. But here s the thing: -Those angels speak on God s behalf, but the person they are speaking to knows it is an angel they have seen. -And sometimes those angels are actually named, like Gabriel in the New Testament who appears to Mary and tell her she is going to have a baby. -Mary knows it was an angel she has seen. But when this Angel of the LORD shows up, -like here to Hagar, Hagar says, You are the God who sees me, for I have now seen the God who sees me. You see, Hagar believes this is God Himself who has appeared to her and spoken to her. And it is the same thing with Moses at the burning bush. -You may never have paid attention to it, but it is the Angel of the LORD who speaks to Moses from the burning bush. -And when Moses asks for the name of the one speaking to him, the Angel of the LORD says, I am YAHWEH. I AM who I Am. You see, this is not just an angel who is appearing and speaking on God s behalf. -In each story where the Angel of the LORD shows up, by the end of the story you know it is God Himself who has appeared. But that s the thing: the Angel of the LORD appears visibly, -and often in human form. -clearly visible and audible and convincing. And this is what leads many scholars to believe that these appearances in the Old Testament -are pre-incarnate appearances of the One person of the Godhead who takes on human form: Jesus, the Son. But then secondly, there is also the content of what the Angel

3 of the LORD does in each case. Here in the story of Hagar, we find the Angel of the LORD leaving heaven itself to come in search of an outcast woman at a well. Who does that sound like? -Do you remember the story of Jesus and the outcast Samaritan woman at the well in John 4? -Or do you remember the Parable of the Lost sheep, where Jesus says the Good shepherd leaves the 99 sheep to go in search of the one sheep who has wandered off? -Do you remember Jesus telling the Pharisees that he had come to seek and to save the lost? Well, that is exactly what the Angel of the LORD is doing with Hagar all these years before Jesus actually came as the incarnate Son of God to live among us. It is the Angel of the LORD who initiates this meeting with Hagar. -He goes and finds her in the wilderness at the well. -He comes to her in her distress. -He comforts her with words of a future and a hope, -promising that she will give birth to a son, -and that he will have many descendants. Now He also encourages her to return to her mistress, Sarah, and stay close to the family of Abraham. -Not because he wants her to live in misery with them, -but because they are His chosen people, whom He has promised to bless. -And those who stay close to Abraham and Abraham s God will be blessed themselves through him. And so the Angel of the LORD wants Hagar not to run off to Egypt where she was from, -but to stay close to Abraham and Sarah, -and work through this conflict, -and have this child, whom she was to call Ishmael. -For God had a plan for him, and his descendants, too.

4 And Hagar is comforted, and convinced. -She knows it is God who has seen her in her misery -and God who has come to her and spoken to her. And she calls the Angel of the LORD: El Roi, which loosely means God who sees me. And she names the well where he found her, Beer Lahai Roi. -which doesn t mean the well full of beer (sadly) -But in Hebrew means: Well of the Living One Who Sees Me. You see, she was convinced it was God who had met her at that well, -and doesn t the whole story and the content of what took place sound just like Jesus? He seeks and saves the outcast, and the lost ones, -and draws them back into the family of God. It is the Angel of the LORD who will also appear to Abraham next week as Abraham is about to sacrifice Isaac. -And the Angel of the LORD will cry out, Abraham, Abraham, don t lay a hand on the boy. -And the Angel of the LORD will provide another sacrifice, a ram in the thicket to take the place of Isaac. Doesn t that sound like Jesus, too? And when the Angel of the LORD appears to Moses at the burning bush, -it is to call Moses to go with Him into Egypt to save His people from slavery and bondage. -Doesn t that sound like Jesus, too? You see, in terms of the Trinity, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, -it is particularly the Son whose role it is to come to the earth in physical form to seek and to save the lost, -to preach good news to the poor, -to bind up the brokenhearted, -to proclaim freedom for the captives, -to comfort all who mourn.

5 When you look at what the Angel of the LORD does whenever He appears in the Old Testament, -it might make YOU wonder, too, could these in fact be preincarnate appearances of Jesus? Maybe these stories were part of what Jesus talked to those two disciples about on the Road to Emmaus that day. But let s think, too, about the humans in this story for a minute. -Hagar, and Abraham, and Sarah. What were they supposed to do in response to actually meeting the Angel of the LORD, -and hearing what God said to them in those appearances? Well, in short, they were meant to trust and obey. -And that sounds so short and simple, doesn t it? But let me tell you if you don t already know: faith isn t easy. -Trusting and obeying are actually not easy at all. Hagar was called to go back to the family who had just tossed her out. -And she was called to humble herself, and ask to be let back in. For you see, Hagar had not been innocent in the whole mess that had gone on in Abraham s tent. -When she had gotten pregnant, she had gotten all snooty with her mistress Sarah, who couldn t conceive. -It says in verse 4 that Hagar began to despise Sarah. -She started to act like she was Abraham s #1 wife, and maybe Sarah should be her servant, -because she was the one giving Abraham a son. So you can imagine why Sarah went to Abraham and said, Throw that Egyptian servant out of my house! And you can imagine how Hagar might have felt walking back to Sarah and Abraham s that day. -She had to humble herself, and repent of her pride, and submit herself to Sarah as a servant again.

6 -You think it was easy for her to trust and obey the Angel of the LORD? And what about Abraham and Sarah? -They are the great Patriarchal couple and supposedly are models of faith and trust and obedience. But this whole story is not a model of any of that for them. -In fact, what we see displayed here in Genesis 16 is the opposite of faith and trust and obedience in them. -God has just promised Abraham in chapter 15 that he will have a son from his own seed, and descendants more numerous than the stars. -But here in chapter 16, he and Sarah take it upon themselves to try and fulfill God s plan in their own way. They are tired of waiting on God. -They are tired of trusting in a promise that God doesn t seem to be delivering on. -They are tired of believing in a gift God has said is coming when they don t see any evidence to prove it is in the mail. And so they decide to try and get the gift in their own way. -Sarah gives her maidservant Hagar to Abraham as a second wife, -and says, Let s use Hagar as the means to get a child. The whole scenario is a lot like Eve and Adam in the Garden of Eden, -not trusting in the Word of God, -but taking it upon themselves to get the knowledge of good and evil so they can be more like God. Eve takes the fruit and gives it to Adam, just like Sarah takes Hagar and gives her to Abraham. -They are not trusting in the word of God, but acting in doubt and unbelief. And I am not picking on them. Faith is HARD. -It calls for persistence and perseverance which often seems completely contrary to common sense.

7 -It didn t come easy for any of them, and it doesn t come easy for any of us. -So be careful of anyone who makes faith sound easy. -And don t pick on yourself when you find it to be hard. It is hard. But that s why the Angel of the LORD comes from heaven to earth. -That s why Jesus comes and lives out this life of faith for us. -He knows we can t do it on our own. -So He not only appears to us and speaks to us, -He also comes alongside us to strengthen and help. He somehow gives Hagar the strength to return to Abraham and Sarah and work through their conflict, -because she does it. And God somehow incorporates Hagar and her son Ishmael into the long history of salvation. -More as a sort of thorn in the flesh of God s people. -The Ishmaelite s would forever be a sort of contrary symbol to the Israelites of what happens when you take matters into your own hand and don t trust God. But still, God doesn t disown Abraham and Sarah for their lack of faith at this point in their lives. -He comes alongside them again, and assures them again of His promise, -and by chapter 21 of Genesis, their own son Isaac will be born: the true son of God s promise. So faith and trust and obedience may be hard, but God is good and both strengthens us for the journey, -and also somehow works all things together for those who love Him and are called according to his purposes. -Even our mess ups he can redeem. So don t be afraid: The Angel of the LORD is mighty indeed. -And in Jesus Christ, He has truly come to save us all. -He finds us in our distress. -He sees us and hears our cry.

8 -He speaks His word of comfort and conviction, giving us a future and a hope. -He calls us to follow Him into paths of righteousness, and then He leads us in the way. He is the God who truly sees. -So he sees you right now. -And he sees me. -He knows the situations we find ourselves in. -He knows what we are dealing with, -the stuff outside of us, and the stuff inside of us. He is the God who truly sees, and he comes to us. -He comes to us in Jesus Christ to walk along that road to Emmaus with us, -teaching us, encouraging us, strengthening us, abiding with us. -In various ways making himself known to us: -sometimes as the Angel of the LORD. -sometimes as Jesus, your Savior, redeemer, healer, resurrect-er, and best friend. Let us pray.

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