“You are El Roi the God who sees me: for she said, I have now seen the One who sees me” (Genesis 16:13)
El Roi , is one of God’s names which means “The God who sees me”. This name implies much more than a God who is all seeing and all knowing, but He is the one who sees us in our misery and in His love cares for us. What God sees in our lives, moves Him to show us compassion, give us comfort and work on our behalf. The name El Roi implies our value as person, no matter who we are or what we do; it implies that because God sees, we are never alone. He is with us to confront, protect and deliver.
The name EL- Roi is set in an interesting story involving Abraham, Sarah, and her Egyptian maidservant Hagar. Hagar came to know El Roi, as the God who sees and cares.
The story begins with God who had promised Abraham that He would make of him a great nation, and through his seed, all the nations of the earth would be blessed. There was one problem. Abraham and Sarah were old and years passed with no son. This whole situation of course, was under God control as a trial of their faith. God had a purpose for the delay, but Sarah took matters into her own hand. Sarah thought of a plan to make it happen. She would give her Egyptian servant Hagar to Abraham as a second wife and bare them a son. This was the common tradition in those days for a servant to bear the child of a master who couldn’t bear children on her own. But Hagar begins to act wrongly towards Sarah. Hagar filled with pride, despised her mistress Sarah. It comes to a point where Sarah says that she’s suffering because of Hagar. Sarah tells him “My wrong be upon you” or “This is all your fault!” What does Abraham do? Abraham, says “It’s your servant, do what you want,” Because Hagar is her property according the custom of those days! So Sarah begins to mistreat Hagar and makes life hard for Hagar, so hard, in fact that it causes her to run away and leave.
Hagar went into the wilderness, she stops by a fountain of water in wilderness of Shur, which is on the border of Egypt, the angel of the Lord appeared to her. He asks her where she came from and where she was going. Who is this “angel of the Lord?” Hagar identifies him as the Lord Himself in human form. This is a pre-incarnate appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ! Hagar pours her heart out to Him, and tells Him her sad tale “I am running away from the presence of my mistress Sarai”.
The response of the Lord is not what we would expect to hear. Most would anticipate the Lord lovingly telling Hagar, “There now, I understand what those bad people have done to you. You just go on home to Egypt to your mommy, and I will take care of Sarah and Abraham.” Instead, the Lord tells Hagar to go back and submit herself to, humble herself before, her mistress, Sarah!
It is obvious that the Lord knew everything about Hagar. The Lord had not forgotten her. He saw it all and knew it all! But returning to face her hard and harsh mistress Sarah was not the easy way out. The Lord was asking Hagar to change her own attitude and actions toward Sarah. She must be willing to take whatever Sarah deals out! Hagar had to swallow her pride and return!
We are all so quick to run from the hardship and think might be the best thing to do, but Hagar proves that there are times when God calls us to stay and endure hardships. Sometimes God puts on us different kinds of hardship and harsh treatment to work out His purpose in our lives.
The Lord” goes on with a promise and blessing to Hagar’s obedience. He told Hagar, “I will multiply your seed, that it shall not be numbered for multitude.” She will have a son. God tells Hagar to name him Ishmael, which means God hears.
The name El Roi the God who sees and the God who cares is not just for Hagar. God is El Roi to each of us today. We all need in our lives a greater awareness of the fact that God sees and cares. It doesn’t matter who we are, El Roi sees and cares.
Are we aware of God’s presence? Think about it. Of the six plus billion people that populate the earth, the Lord, El Roi, sees and cares about you! His eyes see your every move! Psalms 33:13-14 says, “The LORD looks from heaven; He beholds all the sons of men. From the place of His habitation He looks on all the inhabitants of the earth.”
The reality of a God who sees everything and cares bring comfort to us. There are times in our lives when we literally cry out for someone to know, someone to see and care.
The amazing thing is Hagar’s response. Rather than responding to the content of the Lord’s revelation about her and her son, Hagar is overwhelmed to learn that God sees, knows, and cares about her! Even though she had to return to her difficult situation, she could find help and healing in the reality that God sees and cares about her!
El Roi sees all of life’s inequities and injustice. While Hagar is not totally innocent or blameless in this situation, it is obvious that she is caught in a scheme that is not of her own making. She is under the authority of Sarah, and gets in trouble for obeying orders! When she looks to Abraham for support, he sells her out!
Life is filled with inequities and injustice. Some of us may have come to church today and feel, very much like Hagar. We may have come to church today and feel very much mistreated, abused, or neglected.
But rejoice, we can be confident that as El Roi, sees everything that is going on in our lives. He is the righteous judge who cares for us. It will be best for us to give our heavy burden to El Roi, the God who sees!
El Roi sees our suffering and feels our heartaches. Hagar is broken-hearted. Just reading her story, we can sense her pain and suffering! What is the response of a God in heaven to people that have been mistreated?
In the middle of the desert, The Lord appeared to her! She said to him “You are a God who sees me.” In the midst of conflict we feel that nobody gets and nobody understands how we’ve been given. But you are not alone. The God in heaven who created you and gives you purpose, sees what has happened to you, maybe nothing else will give you hope today but that sentence “God sees! God cares for you”. Sometimes that’s all you can take hope in!
The loving God who cares for Hagar is today for us. Hebrews 2 tells us that Jesus “was made a little lower than the angels, taking on the form of flesh and blood. Why? So that He might experience life and death as it is for us! By His suffering as a man, Jesus is equipped and qualified to be our understanding, compassionate High Priest!” Today, we can go to Him in the hour of our greatest need and suffering, knowing that He sees, He knows and understands! We can find help and comfort in the time of need!
El Roi sees our trouble, our own contribution to our circumstances. While Hagar had in some sense been a victim of circumstances planed by Sarah, Hagar was a willing player. As an Egyptian slave, Hagar was a piece of property. But Hagar was presented with a chance to become someone of importance and gain the upper hand as second wife in those days. But filled with a sense of pride, Hagar made matters worse by her actions and attitudes toward her mistress Sarah.
Sarah was wrong to faithless plan, instead of wait for God’s time as He promised. Abraham was wrong he should have stood up to his wife and challenged her faith in God’s promise! However the Loving God cared for Hagar.
El Roi sees what is yet to be. El Roi gave Hagar hope of a brighter future! Seeing something happen is one thing and responding to it is completely different. What God does in our story may surprise you? Hagar was a nobody to the world, but a somebody to God! What El Roi does is create a new and bigger vision for Hagar’s life. Let’s see the fascinating discussion between God and Hagar: God asks Hagar: Where have you come from and where are you going? Check out Hagar’s response, “I’m running away from my mistress Sarah.” She is so focused on where she had come from, that she doesn’t even answer the question as to where she is going? So the angel answers that part of the question for her, “I will so increase your descendants that they will be too numerous to count.” That’s your future!
Many times we become so preoccupied with dealing with our past, that we never think about our future. Like Hagar we sometimes get caught up in that question, where have I come from. However, an equally important question is, “where are we going?” EL Roi not just teaches Hagar how to handle her past, but also gives her a new and better future.
That’s always what God does when we’ve been mistreated. He heals our wounds, and sometimes asks us to revisit the issue, so that we can be healed and go on to fulfill his propose in our life. El Roi is telling us today: I am here for you.
If you have never been rejected or cast aside; if you have never felt all alone, thinking no one knows, no one cares, no one understand; if you have never been misunderstood, mistreated or suffered unjustly at the hands of another; if you have never been used, abused, not wanted or not loved; if you have never suffered alone, lost in wilderness hurt and pain- then the name El Roi the God who sees me, may not have a great impact on you. But if you have ever felt all alone, dying in an emotional wilderness, you will be comforted and encouraged to know that El Roi always sees, always knows and always understands as he meets us in our suffering! Then this name El- Roi is for you. Of the 6 billion people on earth, He’s looking at you today. God wants to hear your broken heart! God sees you, He is the El Roi who cares for you! Trust Him and lean on His promises. Praise be to His name El Roi.