In the fall of 2001, Louise passionately prayed for her family when at home before going to bed. She released all her burdens in faith to the LORD. At about 2:00 a.m. she woke up wide awake. She saw an angel lying horizontally over the door-sill. She had long, flowing, golden hair and was motioning with her hand to come. Louise got up to see if her aunt, who was living with her, was still alive. She thought possibly the angel was trying to get her attention since her aunt was near death. But, she was okay. What could this mean?
Louise shared this the following day at work. These verses came to our minds, “Come unto me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matt. 11:28-30). These verses were comforting, and this is what Louise had done the night before. But, there seemed to be more. That is when I remembered the words from our son HANK’S DREAM: I’m going to have to let you all go home. Were we being summoned to get ready to go home?
The Lord confirmed this thought a few weeks later. I shared my VISION OF THE RAPTURE with our women’s group and then told Louise’s story about this angel summoning to come with her hand.
Wilma L. in the audience about shouted as I was talking, but managed to wait until later to share her story.
Wilma L.’s Story – Come Home
The night before, she dreamed she was riding in the back seat of a car. In the front seat was a man who had been a close family friend. He had died a few years earlier, going to heaven because of this family’s influence. All he did was motion with his hand, to come.
The Lord is wooing His bride to be prepared. He is doing that through dreams and visions and even taking men and women to heaven and hell and sending them back to report what they have seen and heard.
Don Piper’s Story – Home and Back
Home arrived instantly, without pain, for Don Piper when his red car ran head-on into a semi truck. Rather than arriving at the church where he was pastor and expected to teach a Bible study, he was greeted in heaven by every person who influenced him throughout his entire lifetime to follow Jesus. After ninety minutes, he awoke singing, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus,” with a man who had been praying for him that whole time—bringing heaven to earth. [The full story is documented in Don Piper’s book, 90 Minutes in Heaven.]
Our mature prayer must be, “Lord, how can I be the answer to someone else’s prayer? Who am I going to greet at heaven’s gates?”
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Who was this angel of the Lord, or God as El Roi who sees, in Verse Seven, who found Hagar? Most Bible scholars agree that the angel of the Lord in the Old Testament represents Jesus Christ before he is born of the Virgin Mary because of “his promising to perform what God alone could do and foretelling what God alone could know.”1
The angel of the Lord found Hagar, meaning He was searching for her. Jesus himself tells us He came to seek and to find those who are lost. After He met Zacchaeus in a tree on the road to Jericho, Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost” (Luke 19:9). God’s unseen Spirit is constantly seeking, constantly finding, constantly saving, and continually initiating a relationship with us until we make the right choice to follow Him.
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God, the Son–Jesus–found Denise in the bookstore. She made the right choice in answering yes to the question the lady put to her, “Do you want to be saved?” As time went on, she knew what that meant, because the Lord’s presence was with her.
Some years later a friend gave her a book, Angels on Assignment, by Charles and Frances Hunter as told to Roland Buck. It emphasizes our Heavenly Father’s passion for His family and the searching He does for His children, creating choices for them, over and over, until they make the right decision.
Denise realized how important it was to share her testimony, so she wrote it down. She then emptied her savings account, bought thirty books, and mailed them to her friends across the United States. She does not know if the lady in the bookstore was an angel or not. The lady said she had been to a revival at her church, held a tract from which they prayed, but never followed up with the girls, which always bothered them. Whatever the truth is, Denise became an angel on assignment to her friends as God’s messenger had so boldly shared with her.
8. God El Roi Who Sees Calls Us By Our Name
In the Eighth Verse, the Angel of the Lord said, “Hagar, servant of Sarah.” He knew who she was and called her by her name, and then He proceeded to remind her who she was, “servant of Sarah.” He was saying to her, “Hagar, I know you, I created you. But, the question is, “do you know who you are?”
The Lord was saying to her, “I have called you by your name. I have surnamed you though you have not known Me. I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God besides Me. I will gird you and arm you though you have not known Me” (Isa.45:4-5 Amplified).
Notice the angel of the Lord did not ask her who she was. He knew He was the only one who could reveal that to her. He is the only one who can tell us who we are. He was telling her, “Hagar, you are my child; furthermore, I have even tattooed your name upon my palm” (see Isa. 49:16).
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After meeting Jesus in the bookstore, Denise told Marie, “I began to face the reality in my life–that it was based on lies. I was filled with emotions I didn’t know how to deal with, and a realization that I didn’t even know who I was or why I felt the way I did. I had to ask myself what else in my life I was not facing.”
8. God El Roi Who Sees Asks Us Two Questions That Enable Us To Look At Who We Are
In Verse Eight, the Lord asked, “Where have you come from, and where are you going?” Hagar is truthful because the Angel of the Lord knew everything anyway, “A man’s ways are in full view of the Lord, and he examines all his paths” (Prov. 5:21).
Hagar honestly answered, “I am running away.” But, she gave no answer for where she was going. She had not even considered her destination. All she knew was that she was running away. The reality of the situation was this: she was alone in the middle of the desert, on a road leading to death. If the Lord had not intervened, called her by her name to cause her to consider these two questions, she would have died.
The reality of blind decisions is death-the termination of life, whether mentally, physically, or spiritually. Honestly facing the Truth is the first step to life, whether it is eternal life or living one of vitality here on earth.
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When Denise began to face her life in honesty, she was able to see the physical answer to the question, “Where are you going?” Her husband tried to persuade her to go to her dad’s house (to get her to leave). When the Lord revealed to her that she should, she left and took her younger brother with her. Amazingly, Denise’s husband, who was out of the Marines and unable to hold a job, tagged along. Eventually though, he chose to leave permanently.
Will Denise’s eyes be opened to be able to face her past and the question, where have you come from? Will she experience other aspects of God’s nature to find the emotional and physical health she so desires? We will follow Denise’s story in following chapters as she experiences God by His Hebrew names.
What is our response to these two questions?
Hagar eventually found where she was going by facing the fact she was running, “I’m running from my mistress, Sarah.” It is no different with us. This is a hard question, for our situation may not be so obvious. Although happiness is a surface and fleeting goal, if we ask ourselves what we think will make us happy, we can usually find something we are not facing.
Hagar could have said, “I’d be happy if Sarah treated me well.” The reality was, she was not treating Sarah well, and that is why she was in such a hot spot. Many of us can say we would be happy to be out of debt, but are we facing the discipline to make it happen? We would be happy to be thin, but is the truth that we aren’t taking care of our bodies–we are running from eating correctly and exercising regularly?
At any given time, no matter where our relationship is with the Lord, we can go no further with Him until we have asked ourselves this pressing question: Am I running from something I need to be facing? Maybe we don’t have trouble like Hagar did with her employers; but, are we rebelling against the holy ways of God, not loving our husbands or wives as unto the Lord, or not taking responsibility for our own words and behavior?
Many times we can only find where we are going by facing the fact that we are running, out of fear, from the direction we should be heading. Are we resisting change-leaving our comfort zone to launch out into a new career path, ministry, or leadership position? This book will not provide answers to all your problems, but it will point you to the One who sees all,knows all, and does all things well. It will help you find who you are, where you have come from, and where you are going.
9. God El Roi Who Sees Requires Accountability for Our Choices
The angel of the Lord told Hagar in Verse Nine, “Go back to your mistress and submit to her.” God was requiring Hagar to be accountable for her actions. Who was she? She was Sarah’s maid. In essence, the Lord, by appearing to her, was saying, “You are my child first, Sarah’s maid second. Know that and be that. Face that fact and go home and trust Me to take care of you and to make good come from your life situation.”
Hagar then had a choice to make. She was faced with a life and death decision. Deuteronomy 30:19 says, “I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse; therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live.” God laid out for her, in a personal way, His words of life for her right here, “Go back; submit; grow up.” Being accountable for our behavior always brings with it-a choice. That choice may not seem like a happy one, and rarely is, but when it is based on the words of the One who created us, a deep satisfaction and joy grows through being obedient.
It must not have been easy for Hagar to face the fact she must be obedient ultimately to God and go back to Sarah, to humble herself before her “boss,” her “supervisor,” and the father of her child who was not her husband. If going back would cause physical harm to her, God would not have asked her to return. Everything He asks us to do eventually pushes us to grow from a child to an adult, mentally and spiritually. Colossians 3:22-24 says:
Slaves obey your earthly masters in everything, and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.
God’s desire for Hagar was a change in attitude-which is what the Bible is, an attitude book. Being accountable to God first brings purpose in the drudgery of day-to-day existence. It is choosing life.
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Denise was no different than Hagar. She was faced with a life and death situation. She had fought hard for her marriage even though her husband gambled away the savings she had before they married. Many nights he left her waiting alone in the parking lot where she worked until 2:00 a.m. She had constant stomach problems during this period: worked one week, off two weeks, and never weighed more than ninety pounds. She knew that for her own life’s sake, she had to let him go; when she did, a whole new life awaited her.
Denise summarizes her feelings, “When I was told the truth of why my husband married me, I began to remove my rose-colored glasses. My whole life, I denied all the hurt and negativity I lived with day-to-day, pretending in my heart I was happy when I was miserable and depressed; I buried my true feelings.”
Denise’s choice in being accountable to choose life meant returning to her father’s house, and God took care of the rest.
10. God El Roi Who Sees Blesses Obedience
The Angel of the Lord added in Verse Ten, “I will so increase your descendants that they will be too numerous to count.” God is saying to Hagar, if she will repent, change her mind and attitude, turn around and go back home, she will find life and become the mother of many. But we find later, she was only partially obedient. She went back physically, but did her attitude change?
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Some time after choosing to return to where her father lived, Denise met a man who loved and appreciated her. After moving in with him, she began to listen to Dr. James Dobson’s Focus on the Family radio program. It convicted her of how she was living. In obedience to God, she and her fiancé moved into separate bedrooms. Her fiancé asked a friend of his, who was the pastor of a small church in town, to marry them. Finally, Denise found a church through the man God brought into her life. They committed to this small group of believers who became their accountability support group.
God began to urge Denise to be baptized, so she asked God to convict her husband also. One Sunday morning when leaving church, she asked the pastor, “What do I need to do to be baptized?”
Her husband, who accepted the Lord through Denise’s witness, responded, “I was going to ask the same question.” (The sermon had not been on baptism.) They were both baptized on Easter Sunday, thus, beginning their spiritual relationship with God together.