God Sees You!
Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. Luke 1:26-27
Late last year, I had the privilege of going to the Holy Land. It was my second trip, and it was so meaningful. One afternoon, we made the trip to Nazareth, a very busy, Islamic city today … but a very, very, very small Jewish community at the time of Christ, perhaps as low as 35 families.
In fact, Nazareth was so small, forgotten, and disrespected that Nathanael even said, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” (John 1:46). (I believe we know the answer to that one.)
Mary was a young Jewish virgin, excited about her upcoming marriage to the older Joseph. Since the girls married young in those days, we can safely guesstimate that Mary was only about 15 years-old. Here is Mary, an unknown girl living in a measly little grease spot town, with a seemingly small future ahead of her … and God sends the angel Gabriel to her in Nazareth. God chooses her to be the mother of His Son. Wow!
HE IS EL ROI
You and I would never have chosen Mary of Nazareth. What’s more, you and I would never have even noticed Mary of Nazareth, because Nazareth was a place so remote you couldn’t even find it on your GPS. But God saw her and chose her.
One of the great names of God is El Roi, the God who sees me. The young Egyptian maid, Hagar gave that name to God when He found her in the desert, pregnant, cast out, and all alone. God lovingly came to Hagar to help her, encourage her, and provide for her need. After that meeting, Genesis 16:13 says, “Hagar thought, “Have I really seen God and lived to tell about it?” So from then on she called him, “The God Who Sees Me” (El Roi).
Have you ever felt alone, forgotten, and thrown out like yesterday’s trash? Have you ever felt like a total nobody, living on the backside of nowhere, thinking you have no future or hope?
El Roi sees you there. He sees the castaways and notices the forgotten. He saw Hagar … He saw Mary … He sees you.
WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?
1. Stay faithful. Because God sees you and me, it matters that we stay faithful to the task He has called us to in the place He has called us to do it. Mary was faithful to the Lord, even in the little, nothing town of Nazareth. 1 Corinthians 4:1 teaches, “Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.” Faithful servants are successful servants in the eyes of the Lord.
2. Stay hopeful. Because God sees you and me, we can live life to the full and make a BIG impact for Christ. Mary certainly did … and you and I can too, in His way and His timing.
3. Stay joyful. Because God sees you and me, we can rejoice in the plan He has for us. We can live for His glory, even if we live on the backside of nowhere. Life is not about us, it is about Him. Let us live it for Him every day.
I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas. Remember the hidden lesson in Nazareth, the lesson that God sees you. And the God who sees you will take care of you as you trust in Him.
Jeff Schreve is Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church in Texarkana, Texas. He and his wife Debbie have been married for over 20 years and are blessed with three wonderful girls. Jeff began From His Heart Ministries, a radio and television ministry, in January of 2005. This ministry is completely listener/viewer supported. It continues only through the faithful and generous gifts of people like you. Pastor Jeff takes no salary from this ministry. All gifts go to further the broadcast.