Do you ever feel invisible? Like God has completely forgotten you? You’re not alone. Invisibility is a condition of the human heart experienced since the beginning of time. It’s a lie from our enemy who desires nothing more than to separate us from experiencing God’s love.
I’ve felt invisible in a crowded room as well as alone in my own home. Loneliness conjures up this feeling. And when prayer after prayer goes unanswered, I’ve wondered if God has lost sight of this girl in North Carolina. Being invisible isn’t as cool as it seems to be for super heroes.
The story of Ruth reminds me of the faithfulness of God and His ever present knowledge of our needs. We are never invisible to Him. AS we embark on our next lesson in Ruth’s story, I pray something will ignite a spark of hope in you that begins to know God not only sees you, He’s with you.
Ruth’s Story (Ruth 2: 14-19)
She had worked in the field all day. Every muscle in her body ached and her stomach rumbled as she gathered a few more stalks of barley.
A month had passed since her move to this foreign land, and she only knew one person. But the one person she knew, Naomi, sat motionless in her chair all day. Grief’s dark shadow had silenced her once joyful voice. Ruth missed her mother-in-law even though she lived in the same room with her.
Bethlehem proved a lonely place for this Moabitess. Nobody liked people from Moab. The other women refused to talk to her. They immediately looked down if their eyes met. Ruth however, was very aware of the men’s stares. They sent a cold chill down her back. She was beginning to feel invisible to this invisible God these people believed in.
But on this day everything was changing. She felt hope in the air. Boaz had seen her for who she really was–not just a woman from Moab, but a widow and daughter-in-law trying to help her grieving mother. His “notice” was more than visual. Boaz offered kindness and generosity.
Hagar’s Story – Genesis 16
Just like Ruth another foreign woman found herself in the home of people who believed in this invisible God called YHWH. Her name was Hagar, slave/servant to Sarai and Abram. Miles from her home in Egypt, Hagar found herself forced to be a surrogate mother for Sarai who could not conceive the promised son for Abram.
After she became pregnant tension ran strong in their home. Both women became hateful and hurtful, and Hagar tried to run away.
God found her.
It’s one of my favorite stories in the Bible:
Then the angel of the Lord told her, “Go back to your mistress and submit to her.” 10 The angel added, “I will increase your descendants so much that they will be too numerous to count.”Genesis 16: 9-13 NIV
11 The angel of the Lord also said to her:
“You are now pregnant
and you will give birth to a son.
You shall name him Ishmael,[a]
for the Lord has heard of your misery.
12 He will be a wild donkey of a man;
his hand will be against everyone
and everyone’s hand against him,
and he will live in hostility
toward[b] all his brothers.”
13 She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen[c] the One who sees me.”
The name “Ishmael” means “God hears.” So, the God who heard the petitions of a common girl who doesn’t even know this God is the same one who Hagar names El Roiy, the God who sees me.
But there is more.
The God who sees, hears, and understands
There’s another word hiding under our translation in Hagar’s story, invisible to our untrained eyes. One of the words translated as “see” is Ra’ah which means to “see, experience, understand, and provide.” Hagar finds herself visible to this God who has made Himself visible to her. But she also claims that this hearing, seeing God also understands her plight.
He hasn’t changed my friends. Jesus still hears, sees, and “gets” you. He knows your loneliness, struggle at work, frustration in your marriage, invisibility to all those around you, but you are not invisible to Him.
Bite of Bread Reading Plan and Printable
Spend some time with Ruth, Hagar, Paul, David, and John this week. Don’t you love that the Bible is a collection of forty authors who wrote about the same good God over a span of four thousand years? The Bible was written for us to know God better. We may not experience an encounter of the invisible God like Hagar, but the Bible helps us see.
If you are studying the Ruth Bible study with us we are on Day 13. For those of you no using the book, here’s the Bite of Bread printable.
Before you start, read Ruth 2: 14-19. I want you to get the whole scene.
Monday: Ruth 2: 19
Her mother-in-law asked her, “Where did you glean today? Where did you work? Blessed be the man who took notice of you!” Then Ruth told her mother-in-law about the one at whose place she had been working. “The name of the man I worked with today is Boaz,” she said.
Prompt: Oh, my friends, I don’t know what it is about this scene, but it makes me all mushy inside every time I read it. We’ve translated the original as “take notice” here, but Boaz’s actions define the meaning of this Hebrew word much better than our translation. He did more than notice Ruth. He acknowledged her presence and treated her with extreme kindness and generosity. List all the ways God has “taken notice” of you and pray for eyes that “take notice” of someone else today. At the end of the day, write down what happened.
Tuesday: If time allows, you will be blessed reading the entire story (Genesis 16) which leads to today’s bite, Genesis 16:13: She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.”
Prompt: There are two Hebrew words whose definitions bring deeper meaning to Hagar’s words. Roiy- means to see, but Ra’ah- means to see, experience, understand, and provide. Hagar’s proclaimed God not only saw her but understood and provided for her. What does this mean to you that we aren’t invisible to God, and He understands our fears, pain, and wounds?
Wednesday: 2 Corinthians 1: 3-4:
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
Prompt: How has God comforted you? How has His comfort helped you help others?
Thursday: Psalm 23: 6:
Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Prompt: Underline what will follow David. This verse holds treasured gems we cannot see in translation. “Love” is chesed. Do a word-study of this word. You can search on my website or Google. But in case time doesn’t allow, a quick definition is: merciful acts of loving-kindness bound by a covenant. “Follow” also holds deeper meanings. This word means to chase. Put these new words into Psalm 23:6 and write your new understanding.
Friday: John 11: 32-35:
When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34 “Where have you laid him?” he asked. “Come and see, Lord,” they replied. 35 Jesus wept.
Prompt: If God is a God who understands us, what do you think caused Jesus’s tears? He knew Lazarus would rise in just a few minutes at the command of his voice, but He was still moved by their sorrow. From the Old testament to the New, God to Jesus reveal the same heart. What is that?
If you need a pick-me-up by the middle of the week, join me in my home via Facebook LIVE at 7:30 ET. We’ll dig deeper into Ruth Key-Word Bible study which many of you are using, and the wonderful scriptures from the reading plan. Bring your favorite cup of decaf and put those stretchy pants on. If you’ve never studied with us, just follow me on Facebook. I’m also on YouTube if you want to watch later.
I’ve done a lot of talking. What do you think? Has there been a time when you knew God saw you? Leave a comment!