“…You shall bear a son, and you shall call his name Ishmael, because the LORD has given heed to your affliction.” Gen. 16:11
“Then she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, “You are a God who sees”; for she said, “Have I remained alive here after seeing Him?”" Gen. 16:13
The name Ishmael in Hebrew means “God hears”. Within this one chapter, God has revealed two of His faculties, or attributes, that humans both share in, and understand: hearing and sight. However obvious this may seem to we whom today know as an omniscient God, it may not have been obvious to Hagar, as she was an Egyptian who just happened to be traveling with a righteous Hebrew man.
The general opinion of antiquity is that Abraham made no small mention of his faith within his household – to both family and foreigner. (His servants will find this out in Gen. 17 where God commands Abraham to circumcise all the males in his household.) However, to know God and to experience God are two vastly different things. Until this point, Hagar has known of God, but she may not have known God. When the Angel of the LORD appears to Hagar, it was at a time of desperation in Hagar’s life; thus the very act of God showing up at this time to encourage and bless Hagar tells Hagar of God’s nature.
Is there a lesson to us here? Perhaps it is a reminder to us who know God (even though He may not have physically appeared to us of course) that those who identify with the world, which is mystically Egypt, do not know God the way we do. They either care not to know Him, or do not understand that God is a God who truly does hear and see, as well as understand, our plight and our condition. But if they knew God was like this, why would they delay in desiring to know Him? Do we who know God show those who do not that He is a God who hears and sees? Who understands?