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Watch 2022 online sermons » Jonathan Bernis » Jonathan Bernis - God Sees You

Jonathan Bernis - God Sees You

Jonathan Bernis - God Sees You
TOPICS: Names of God

Jonathan Bernis: Shalom and welcome to Jewish Voice. And thank you for joining us today. I'm Jonathan Bernis. Today, my co-host Ezra Benjamin joins me today as we continue looking at one of the most significant Hebrew names of God found in scripture. It's El Roee. El Roee, the God who sees me. This is just one of many Hebrew names of God revealed in the scriptures. And the reason I love studying the Hebrew names of God is because they share with us, it's a revelation. We see in the names of God in Hebrew the very character and nature of God. This isn't only what God does but who he is. Don't you love the names of God?

Ezra Benjamin: It's so fantastic. Each one is revelation about who he is. It's transformative, Jonathan. We have to encounter him as he truly is.

Jonathan Bernis: It is.

Ezra Benjamin: You know, we were praying, I think many of our audience at home can relate, 2020, the year of vision. Right? We want 2020 vision. We want perfect clarity. And now, we're filming this a good part of the way into 2020. What we got was a worldwide pandemic, and division, and what feels sometimes like chaos here within the borders of the u.S. And I find myself asking, "What's going on? Does God see what's actually going on here"?

Jonathan Bernis: Oh, he does. He does. Although, the fog has rolled in and it feels like trying to look through pea soup or something. But, what can cut through this is the revelation that God has everything under control. Not just the world under control, but your life is being watched over by God himself. And that's good news.

Ezra Benjamin: It's very good news. Jonathan, we should pick up right in, actually, the first occurrence of this name, El Roee, in the scriptures, and it's 16 chapters in, in Genesis 16.

Jonathan Bernis: It is. And this story, it's one of my favorite, by the way. It's probably one of my top favorite stories in the Bible. And for me, there's a parallel with the COVID crisis, because it's brought so much despair and uncertainty. And the story of Hagar, in particular, is a story of what many of us are going through. It started out great, by the way. She has this great season. She's been chosen to deliver the seed promise. She's the one that Abram and Sarai, before their name change, was selected to bear the child of promise, and she gets pregnant. Oh happy day. Everything is wonderful for her. She's been chosen out of the hundreds of servants in this household. She's the trusted one. She's the confidant. She is the centerpiece now, pregnant with what they believe is the promise that God has made. And then, a fight breaks out, dissension breaks out. Sarah becomes jealous. She starts to disdain Sarah, or Sarai. And Abraham doesn't wanna be involved. He says, "Do with her what you want". That's a message in itself. But as a result, Hagar is so unhappy and so persecuted that she flees into the wilderness, and she's headed back to Egypt. But there's nothing for her in Egypt. We talked about this before. When we're under pressure, and things aren't going well, and it's a crisis, we either run towards God or way from him.

Ezra Benjamin: That's right.

Jonathan Bernis: And some people head back to what they were familiar with before. Don't go back there. She was headed back to Egypt, but a plague had already destroyed her family. There was nothing for her in Egypt, and there's nothing for you turning back into the old life. Okay? In her place of despair, this is why this ties so well together with this crisis we're going through, the angel of the Lord appears to her in Genesis 16:9 and says, "Return to your mistress and humble yourself. I will multiply your seed, and they will be too many to count". And then the angel of the Lord says, "You're pregnant". In other words, he's recognizing her situation, and he continues to declare her destiny. "You will bear a son. You'll call his name Ishmael, for Adonai has heard your affliction. God has heard your affliction". And then, the prophecy isn't, I think, the most glamorous prophecy. It says, "He'll be a wild donkey of a man, his hand will be against everyone, and there'll be fighting between his brothers". Now, that's not the best prophecy, but the fact that God has seen her, that the angel of the Lord has actually come and visited her and said, "Where have you come from, and where are you going"? In other words, "I'm watching you. I see your plight. You have a destiny". Everything changes in that moment. She's got purpose. She's got hope. She has renewed faith, and she declares that everything's changed for her. She actually declares, "You are the God who sees me. For she said, would I have gone here indeed looking for him who looks after me"? And so she declares, "I see now that you are the God who sees me". El Roee. I see that you're the God who sees me. That's the miracle. And when you see that God sees you, everything changes.

Ezra Benjamin: Everything changes for Hagar when she knows that God sees her. And even, Jonathan, in the verses you read just a minute ago in Genesis 16:11, the name Ishmael, sometimes we just go, "Ishmael. It's the father of the Arab people". But even the name, every name in Hebrew has significance. Ishmael, God has heard. We say, "Hero Israel," right? Shema yIsrael, in that same word. The root word, Ishmael, God has heard. God hears the affliction of Hagar. God hears your affliction. Not only does he see it, but he hears it as well.

Jonathan Bernis: He does. Most of the people, if not all the people that are watching the program today believe in God. You've had an experience with God. You've grown up with an act of faith in God. But when we're going through the conflicts of life, when we're going through the unseen challenges of life, like, covid came out of left field. When we're dealing with the greatest tragedies of life, the most difficult times of life, we're either pushed towards God or away from God. And I have no doubt, Ezra, that Hagar knew God. She had a relationship with God. She had accepted, if you will, the God of Abraham. She had some form of relationship. But in her hour of despair, now wandering through the desert, unwelcome at home, she had no place to call home now. She's heading back to nothing. And so, in this despair, she's questioning whether God cares, whether God sees. So, it's easy to believe that God cares about us, the person to our right or to our left at services, the pastor, the worship leader, the person who's obviously being blessed. But what about me? And I know that some of you are going through this. Now, what about me? Maybe you've lost your job. God, what about me? Maybe everything has caved in. Your life, your employment is built on traveling, and there's been this terrible economic downturn. God, what about me? You've had a family member contract covid. Maybe they're in intensive care. God, what about me? I get that. I've been there. In 40 years of walking with the Lord, God, do you care? And Hagar is struggling with that. And in the moment that the angel of the Lord tells her, by name, "Hagar, you will have a son, and his name will be called the God who hears me".

Ezra Benjamin: For the Lord has heard my affliction, Ishmael.

Jonathan Bernis: She sees that God sees her, even in her affliction, and there's tremendous comfort at that. Here's the thing, Ezra. God is always watching. Always. God is always watching. Do you hear me? God is always watching. In Proverbs 15:3, which is inherent in the name El Roee, "The eyes of the Lord are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good". Even those who are not yet saved, maybe you have a family member who strayed, friends who haven't yet received the Lord. I'm still praying for my mother after 40 years. God is watching over her. He's watching over your family members, whether they believe or not. If they're wicked, if they're in sin, God is watching over them. He's watching over you. He's watching over your family. But you need a fresh revelation of that reality. You need to see that God is watching over you. You need to hear. You need confirmation. You need something that just makes it obvious to you, God is watching and intervening. And that's not wrong. It's not wrong. Faith, yes, is believing in that which is unseen, but it's not bad to have a sign now and then.

Ezra Benjamin: Yeah, it's a very honest prayer. I've prayed it at times, Jonathan, in my own life. Lord, I need to know that you know where I am, that you see me, that you hear me, that you know what's going on.

Jonathan Bernis: And you need to see that God sees you. You need to know that God really is aware of your need, and he's there to help. We're gonna take a short break as we tell you about some special resources that we wanna sow into your life this week. And we wanna show you how your support is changing lives in a very real way for the Jewish people and their neighbors in need in places like Africa, particularly Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Israel as well, and that you are making a difference. Ezra and I will be back with much more as we continue our discussion. Don't go away. We'll be right back.

Jonathan Bernis: Welcome back to Jewish Voice. Hey, I believe that God has you watching this program not by accident, not by coincidence, but he's got a word for you today. Before we get back into our discussion of El Roee, the God who sees, I want to say thank you to all of you who are supporting Jewish Voice. We couldn't do the work we do without you. Your gifts are making a real difference in the lives of people who are suffering illness, not able to get clean water, seniors in Israel. So, you are helping the Jewish people and their neighbors with life-saving care, but most importantly, the Gospel. So, thank you so much, especially if you're a monthly partner. You're making a huge difference and blessing the Jewish people through this ministry. So, thank you. Ezra, we've been discussing El Roee, the God who sees me, this revelation that Hagar has as she encounters, I believe, Jesus, before he's ever born. His preincarnate.

Ezra Benjamin: The angel of the Lord being the preincarnate Messiah.

Jonathan Bernis: I believe that. And it's interesting that Hagar is the mother of the Arab people, and it's the first appearance of the Messiah, of the anointed one. And she realizes at that moment that God cares about her, that God is hearing her. That's what the name Ishmael means.

Ezra Benjamin: Ishmael, the father of the Arab people, literally means "For God has heard", "For the Lord has heard," in this case, the affliction of his people. And Jonathan, one of the things I love, you know, we're a Jewish ministry. We're reaching out to Jewish people, but not only to Jewish people. We reach out to all people, including the Arab people. And it's so important to remember as you're blessing Israel, God loves the Arab people. There's actually a destiny for Arab people that's inextricably linked with the destiny of the Jewish people, and we see it right here in Genesis.

Jonathan Bernis: We're cousins. So, God loves everyone equally. He sure does. This ministry, although we're a ministry to reach the Jew first, is very committed to our Arab brothers and sisters, particularly in Israel. And so, this revelation, the God who sees me, changes Hagar's life. And it's not her born-again experience, if you will. She knows God. This isn't a revelation, "Oh, there is a God". This is a revelation that the God that she has already believed in cares about her. And I'll just tell you honestly. I need that revelation from time to time. I've walked with the Lord 40 years. I've had him do great things in my life. I have anchor stories. I know what he's delivered me out of. But there are times, God, I need to see you. I need to know that you care. Are you the same way?

Ezra Benjamin: Yeah. Yeah, I can relate. Maybe you at home can relate. We have to remember. Because otherwise, Jonathan, in times like corona pandemic, and other kinds of chaos and uncertainty, the temptation is to go back to Egypt, to say it was better for me, even though I was enslaved, it was better for me and what was familiar.

Jonathan Bernis: And there are just those times, and you see it throughout scripture, where we're just tired, we're depleted, and we're struggling, and God, I need something. And that's not wrong, my friends. That's not wrong. Yes, we go by faith, but it's not a blind faith. And this relationship that we have with the Lord is not one-sided. God wants to manifest his presence in your life. Ezra, there's a reality in scripture that God is omnipresent. It's just a theological word that reveals the truth that God is everywhere all the time. He's here now. "Where two or three are gathered in my name," he's in the midst of us. But there's also the manifest presence of God, those times when we encounter the tangible manifest presence of God, where we know that he's there, where we know that he's intervening, where something happens that's unexplainable. God just showed up. And we need those moments. You may need a moment like that right now. I speak it over you right now. The grace of God, the manifest presence of God in that situation you're going through. And this is a time for God to manifest his presence.

Ezra Benjamin: So important. We need the Lord to show up and say, "You may not see everything in the future. You may not even feel like you know where you're going, but I see you exactly where you are".

Jonathan Bernis: The greater the trial, the greater the grace.

Ezra Benjamin: Yeah, we need it. The Lord draws near to his people in times of uncertainty. And Jonathan, Genesis 16 is the first reference of El Roee, but it's certainly not the last. Share with us just a few more times when we see that name in the Bible.

Jonathan Bernis: Yeah, there's so many that are in "Confessing the Hebrew scriptures" that connect to El Roee. In Exodus 33:18, Moses cries out to God under the weight of his leadership, what he's being called to, and he says, "Now show me your glory. Show me your glory". This is a prayer that we can pray. Lord, I need to see your glory. I need to see that you see me. I need to know that you are hearing my cry. And he'll respond to that. That's not a bad prayer.

Ezra Benjamin: He certainly will.

Jonathan Bernis: That's not a bad prayer. I'll just do one more for now. Deuteronomy 4:35. "You were shown these things," it's connected to El Roee, seeing. "You were seeing, or were shown these things, so that you might know that the Lord is God. Beside him there is no one else". Here's the good news. He wants to manifest his presence in your life. Not tomorrow. Today.

Ezra Benjamin: Such rich verses, Jonathan. And I know you said just one more, but let's bargain a little. How about one or two more?

Jonathan Bernis: Oh yeah, there's so many great ones. In judges, it says, "When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, the Lord is with you, mighty warrior". Now, Gideon was trusting the Lord already, but don't you think the appearance of the angel of the Lord helped Gideon in that moment? Strengthened Gideon in that moment? The angel of the Lord appears. He's going by faith already, but I can tell you, he was supercharged. And if you wanna get supercharged, how about a divine visitation today?

Ezra Benjamin: In the heat of the battle, the Lord appears to Gideon. "Rise up, mighty warrior. The Lord is with you". And maybe Gideon didn't feel like such a mighty warrior in that moment. You know? The circumstances can be crushing. And the Lord reminds him who he is.

Jonathan Bernis: We should expect in the hardest, most challenging times of life, and guess what, we're in the middle of one, that God is going to show himself to us, to you. So, don't give up hope. Please, don't give up hope. Psalms 31:7, "I will be glad and rejoice in your love, for you saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul". You know, part of that, Ezra, is telling yourself that. This is a great confession verse. Lord, I will be glad and rejoice in your love, for you see, I would put it into the present, you see my affliction and the anguish of my soul. Lord, thank you that you see me right now as I go through this. I will rejoice. Guess what happens when we say it, Ezra. We start believing it.

Ezra Benjamin: Amen. And it's not just positive thinking, Jonathan. You're actually saying pronounce the Word of God over yourself, not just made-up ideas and fantasies. Actual scriptural truths.

Jonathan Bernis: Yeah, positive thinking is just declaring something that is on your mind to declare. Something you want. Something that you wanna possess. This is based on the Word of God. This is making the reality of God's word greater than the circumstance, greater than covid-19, greater than the unemployment, greater than being unable to find a roll of toilet paper, which I encountered yesterday actually. Proverbs 15:3, I already said, "The eyes of the Lord are everywhere". He's keeping watch. I love what he says about Israel. "He that keepeth Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps". He's guarding over Israel. And then he says, "I'm also dispatching watchmen, believers, to guard the walls". It's a co-effort with God. You've got work to do, my friend. Let me read a couple more. Isaiah 60:2, "The Lord rises up and his glory appears over you". Why can't I see that? Because you're not asking, and you don't have eyes to see until you open those eyes. And Ezra, one last thought. And this really is. The same idea, El Roee, that same name of God exists in the New Testament as well. Mark 2:5 I love. "When Jesus saw their faith, he said, son, your sins are forgiven," to the paralytic. He saw, and then the paralytic then, by being healed, saw that Jesus saw him. This is a revelation you need to get into your heart. I wanna keep going. I have so many more, but we need to take a short break, so we can share some information about how to get resources that will help you to see that God sees you. We wanna make them available to you this week. We wanna sow them into your life. Hey, stay with us because there's so much more to learn. And at the end of the program, we wanna come back and agree in prayer for you, for your family, for your needs. God answers prayer. So, don't go away. We'll be right back.

Jonathan Bernis: We've literally been flooded with prayer requests, and the needs are obviously great. People out of work. We have a terribly high unemployment rate worldwide at this point. We have people that know more and more people, friends, family, with covid. I've lost two extended family members. We're having a tough battle here in Arizona. And I know where you are, there's people fighting for their lives right now. Ezra, I wanna focus on people that are fighting covid right now, some in the hospital, particularly those that are at greatest risk, senior citizens, people with immune system deficiencies. Let's be lifting those people up in prayer. Let's do that together. And we believe in a God who hears and answers prayers. So, let's just agree together. You lead, and we'll all join together. Join your faith together. We pray for every need. So, you can trust us to pray if you write to us. Let's go ahead.

Ezra Benjamin: That's right. Lord, we pray, and we confess the promise and the protection of Psalm 91 over everyone listening today and their extended family and their loved ones. Lord, we pray that according to your word no plague will come near their dwelling. Lord, we thank you that we can refute every tongue that accuses us, and no weapon formed against us will prosper. Because that's the inheritance of the servants of God. And so, Lord, we thank you, and we ask you for your protection and provision. Lord, when we see people falling at our left hand and our right, it won't come near our dwelling. We thank you for your promises. We pray your protection. Lord, and for those we know who are in the hospital, in a sickbed right now with covid-19, we pray for miraculous healing, Lord. That was sent by the enemy to kill, steal, and destroy, you can turn around for good and for life, not just life, but life abundant in the name of Yeshua.

Jonathan Bernis: In Yeshua. In Jesus's name, amen and amen. If you'd like more information about our ministry, we'd love to hear from you. It's very easy. Just log on to and you'll find many helpful resources as well on our website, and you'll be able to see the impact that your support is having on Jewish communities and their neighbors really all over the world. In addition, you can send us your prayer requests right on the website. We will pray for your need by name. Trust us. We will. We fast and we pray as a ministry. I also wanna thank you in advance for your support of Jewish Voice. It's making a difference. So, as we close the program for today, I wanna remind you Psalm 122:6 exhorts us to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. So, please pray for Israel. They're really in need. Like many around the world, they're really suffering right now. So, we appreciate your prayer for Israel. On behalf of Ezra Benjamin and myself, this is Jonathan Bernis saying shalom, and God bless you.
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