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Bible Commentaries

Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae

Genesis 16

 

 

Verse 13

DISCOURSE: 26

THE OMNISCIENCE OF GOD

Genesis 16:13. She called the name of the Lord that spake unto her, Thou God seest me.

AFFLICTIONS sanctified are amongst our greatest mercies. Hagar would have known less of herself, and less of God, if she had not experienced domestic trouble. She had indulged an exceeding bad spirit in despising her mistress on account of her barrenness; and, when she had thereby provoked the resentment of her mistress, she could not bear it; but fled away towards her own country. The gracious and seasonable visit however which she received from God, brought her to a better temper: it led her to return to that station which she had left; and to adore that God, whom as yet she had altogether neglected.

The person that appeared to her is called “an angel;” but he was “the Angel of the Covenant,” the Lord Jesus Christ, under the semblance of an angel. This appears from the promise which he gave her, “I will multiply thy seed;” and, still more clearly, from the discovery which was made to her, that it was “the Lord Jehovah who spake to her;” and from the name by which she called him, “Thou God seest me.”

From this name of God we shall be naturally led to speak of his Omniscience: but we will not occupy our time with proofs that this attribute belongs to God, or with uninteresting speculations respecting it: we will rather endeavour to impress the consideration of it upon our minds, and to mark its aspect upon the different states and conditions of men.

The consideration then of the Omniscience of God is suited to produce in us,

I. Conviction and sorrow—

[Men commit iniquity under an idea that God does not notice them [Note: Psalms 73:11; Job 22:13-14.] — — — Hence, though they know that they have sinned, they are regardless of the consequences of their sin [Note: They are afraid of being detected by man, but not of being judged by God, Job 24:15-17 with Proverbs 30:20.] — — — But God has indeed been privy to every one of their most secret thoughts [Note: Jeremiah 23:24; Ezekiel 11:5. This is not only asserted by God, but acknowledged by men. Job 34:21-22; Job 42:2; Psalms 139:1-12 and exemplified in Achan, Gehazi, and Ananias.] — — — And he has noticed them in order that he may bring them into judgment, and make them the foundation of his own decisions at the last day [Note: Jeremiah 17:10.] — — — What a fearful thought is this! and what a necessity does it impose on every one to search out his iniquities, and to humble himself for them in dust and ashes [Note: Psalms 139:23-24.] ! — — —]

II. Circumspection and fear—

[“God will not judge according to appearance, but will judge righteous judgment.” If he saw only our outward actions, we might hope perhaps to find a favourable acceptance with him: but he discerns the motives and principles of our actions [Note: 1 Samuel 16:7; Psalms 11:4; Job 26:6; Proverbs 16:2.]: he sees whether they flow from a regard to his authority;—whether they be done in the precise manner that his word requires;—and whether, in doing them, we seek the glory of his name. If we do the best things under the influence of a corrupt principle, they are no better in his sight than splendid sins [Note: Isaiah 1:11-15; Isaiah 66:3; Ezekiel 33:31-32; Matthew 12:8.] — — — What self-examination then is requisite, to ascertain the secret springs of our actions, and to guard against the delusions which we are so prone to foster! — — —]

III. Consolation and hope—

[In seasons of temporal affliction, we may be ready to think that our state is altogether desperate [Note: This was certainly the state of Hagar under the harsh treatment of her mistress; and was probably so when the angel appeared to her.]. Under false accusations especially, we may be incapable of establishing our own innocence, and of vindicating our character from the vilest aspersions [Note: This was David’s case, when fleeing from Saul, and accused by him of treason. Psalms 35:11-14; Psalms 35:22.]. But it is consoling to reflect, that “all things are naked and open before God [Note: Hebrews 4:12-13; 1 Corinthians 4:3-5.]:” and that he can, when-soever it shall seem good to him, extricate us from all the miseries that we either feel or fear [Note: 2 Chronicles 16:9; Psalms 33:18-19.].

Under spiritual trouble also, O how consolatory is it to know, that God is thoroughly acquainted with the inmost desires of our souls: that if, on the one hand, he has seen our corruptions, he has, on the other hand, beheld our conflicts, and can bear witness to the ardour and sincerity of our exertions [Note: He testified that there was some good thing in the heart of young Abijah; 1 Kings 14:13 and will bear witness even for those who only “think upon his name.” Malachi 3:16-17.] ! — — — What a comfort is it to know, that he sees us striving after universal holiness, and plunging daily and hourly, as it were, into “the fountain that was opened for sin,” and relying, as the very chief of sinners, upon his covenanted mercy in Christ Jesus [Note: John 1:47-48.] ! — — — In this view, the most desponding soul may cast itself at the foot of the cross, and may say, “If I perish, I will perish here.”]

Address—

[Endeavour to realize the thought of God’s presence with you, wherever you are; and to behold, as it were, the name of God inscribed on every place, “Thou, God, seest me” — — — Endeavour also to “set the Lord always before you,” and to order all your actions, words, and thoughts with a direct reference to his approbation in the future judgment [Note: Psalms 44:20-21 with 1 Chronicles 28:9,] — — —]

 


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Bibliography Information
Simeon, Charles. "Commentary on Genesis 16:4". Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/shh/genesis-16.html. 1832.

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