A slave by the name of Hagar called God, “El Roi. He is the God who sees me.” Hagar was desperate. She had just escaped abuse by her master. She ran away into the desert; she cried; she was sure she was alone in this world. An angel of God found her beside a spring and spoke a future over her and her son.
“She answered GOD by name, praying to the God who spoke to her, “You’re the God who sees me? Yes! He saw me; and then I saw him!” Genesis 16:13 Message bible
God sees us. He sees us when we are lonely. He sees us when we are frightened. He sees us when we are hopeless. He sees us when we are searching for Him.
Nathanael experienced this characteristic of God one day. Let me introduce you to Nathanael. His story was once my story. This is the day he met Jesus according to my thoughts.
Nathanael sat under a fig tree one day remembering the stories of the great forefathers of his faith. He was praying for a true Rabbi, a truthful teacher to come and instruct him in the righteous ways of his religion. He was tired of the all the rules the Pharisees tacked onto the laws of Moses. In his heart he knew this type of religion could not have been Yahweh’s intent. The restrictions of the Pharisees and Sadducees made worshiping God an impossible checklist for the people of Israel. Who could possibly keep up with all their addendum’s? Their’s was now a religion of works and not faith. The Jewish faith had now become a religion with no hope. He sat under the fig tree. He sought the coolness under it’s shade. It was a relief from the hot sun. His thoughts were a relief from his oppressive religious practices. He saw his friend Philip approaching. There was a buoyancy in Philip’s steps. He noticed a lightness to his countenance that had not been there in quite a while. “He has found something of great value,” Nathanael thought to himself.
Philip could hardly contain himself as he rushed to Nathanael. His words came pouring out, “We have found the One Moses wrote about in the law. Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” Nathanael’s bigotism almost excluded him from meeting the person he had been searching for. “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?”
Curiosity sent Nathanael looking. He had to see why Philip was so adamant that this Jesus was the One Moses wrote about. As he approached Jesus he heard Jesus’ words spoken to him, “Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false,”
OK that stumped him. He would continue on with his questioning who this man was. “How do you know me?”
Jesus, Son of God, answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.”
Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.”
Nathanael had an experience with Jesus. He had finally found a Rabbi who knew all. Surely, this was the Son of God. This Rabbi would teach Nathanael on a whole new level. Jesus met Nathanael right at the place of his heart’s desire.
Jesus saw Nathanael before He ever met him physically. Jesus showed Nathanael His supernatural knowledge of him. Jesus knew him completely. He knew all about Nathanael’s hopes, dreams and desires. Jesus proved he was able to perceive and discern the truthfulness of Nathanael’s heart.
That day when Philip urged Nathanael to come and see for himself, Nathanael had a choice to make. He couldn’t believe anything good could possibly come from Nazareth. He had a bigoted idealogy that nothing good could possibly come out of Nazareth. Had Nathanael stuck with his beliefs, he would have never experienced Jesus. What he came to realize is, “Jesus sees us when we think no one cares.” Nathanael experienced the supernatural knowledge of the Living God.
I have been where Nathanael is. I have also searched out a real relationship with my Lord. I was tired of a dull religion. I call myself a Christian, but my faith is of no value if I don’t have a vibrant living breathing relationship with the Living God of the universe. Philip once told Nathanael, “Come and see for yourself.” The same holds true for us. We have to experience Jesus on a one to one basis. We have to let go of all our preconceived notions on what He should do in our lives or act on our behalf. His is an individual relationship. We cannot experience Jesus based on what everyone else tells us. When we come to Him we too will realize, “He is the God who sees us where ever we are. He is the God who knows whatever heartache we have inside of us. Our facades cannot hide the truth of our hearts from Him.