When combined we have the name “The God Who Sees.”
El Roi occurs in Genesis 16:13
She gave this name to the LORD [YHWH] who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me [El Roi],” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.”
Interestingly this name is given to God by Abram’s concubine Hagar. Abram was concerned that he did not have an heir and so his wife suggested that he have a child by her slave Hagar.
Not surprisingly, this arrangement made for a very awkward family situation, especially after Hagar becomes pregnant. The end result being that Sarah, Abram’s wife, treats Hagar so poorly that she runs away.
At this point the story takes an odd turn. The angel of the Lord seeks her out and tells her to return and promises her she will have too many descendants to count. It is after this encounter with the angel of the Lord that she gives God the name El Roi.
We have a God that sees us. You are never outside the watching eye of God. What really grabs me about this story is that God is watching out for, and blessing, this poor abused slave girl who is really outside of the story of redemption. The story of redemption will continue through Abraham and Sarah’s child Isaac, not through Hagar’s son Ishmael.
God was not watching her to punish her for running from His chosen people. He was watching her to bless her in the middle of her trouble. At this moment in the story of redemption it is God’s chosen people that are the abusers and it is the seemingly unimportant slave that is suffering. But God sees. He is does not ignore her suffering simply because she is not part of the chosen family. God sees and God acts.
So how do I apply this name of God to my life and worship?
- No Partiality. God doesn’t just watch out for His special people. You don’t have to be a pastor, elder, deacon or whoever you think is special to God. God is just as concerned about your needs. You are special to Him and He see you and He cares.
- No Perfection. God isn’t waiting for you to become perfect before He will care for you. This whole story is really messed up. Yet in the midst of this mess God steps in and encourages and even blesses the one who is outside His plan of redemption. God works even in the midst of our messy lives.
- Love. Hagar may not be bearing the chosen son, but she is still loved by God. Sometimes we may think that we are not worthy of God’s care, but God’s love is not limited to a few special people. God sees and God loves.
Do you think of God as the One who sees you – not to punish you, but to bless you and care for you? God sees us in our pain and if we come to Him, He will demonstrate His love to us.
Remember: God sees and God loves.