El Roi – The God of Seeing
I have studied Genesis chapter 16 many times but didn’t realize there was a deeper truth hiding in this verse 13. The angel of the Lord comes to Hagar and begins to speak some very comforting words to her. We understand that Hagar is in this place because she we kicked out of Sarah’s and Abraham’s home after bearing a child for the couple.
After the angel appeared to her and began to talk with her; she mentions something very profound – but you will miss it if you don’t pause for a second or two to dig a little deeper. She said, “you are the God who sees.” Hagar is impressed by the perceptiveness of God as revealed through his angel-messenger. This is seen in the name she gives to the Lord; she calls him ’El Ro’i – meaning – God of seeing. For she is saying – here I have seen him who looks after me.
A similar thing happens again in the New Testament where Jesus comforts a non-Hebrew woman – and she too recognizes that God had appeared to her (John 4). I want you to notice a few things that are very similar in these two stories:
1. Both encounters happened at a spring.
2. Both women are in distress.
3. Both of them are gentiles.
4. They are both outcasts
5. God does everything to seek them out and bring comfort to them.
He knows your name – He sees your tears – He seeks you out
Here is the truth in these stories. God sees you. Jesus knows where you are. He understands what you are going through. He will always show up to help you. He is the ‘seeing God.’ He is not taking a nap or on a long vacation. He is aware about every trouble and trial you go through. So whatever distress, trouble, dark valley you find yourself in today – El Roi has seen you and you can rest assure that He is coming to encourage you.
Name a time in you life when you thought you were all alone but God showed up and met you at the point of your need.
I was in the hospital, dying from Bone Marrow Suppression. I was also pregnant; my husband and father of this child half a continent away. He didn’t want a baby, and I wouldn’t abort. I was angry and bitter. As a result, there I was – my body not making enough oxygen to sustain my life, much less the life of my child. The doctor told me that the baby was suffering brain damage and would be born with a mentally impaired as a result.
Some preachers were on their hospital rounds and popped in to see if they could pray for me. I was angry at God, confused and hurt by the way things had turned out between me and my “Christian” husband. I let them “do their thing,” and was happy to see them leave.
I was discharged from the hospital when my condition stabilized in a couple of days. The following week, I went to the doctor’s office for my blood transfusion. He was dumbfounded when my bloodwork was within normal limits and asked what I’d been doing. I couldn’t attribute the improvement to anything I’d done, but recalled the prayers offered on my behalf and told him about it.
His plan to keep me alive until the 7th month, fly me to a big hospital for an early C-section in order to give the baby a chance for survival never took place. My health was restored, my son born two weeks after his due date, and in good health.
Mentally? He turned down an intelligence job for the military because he didn’t want to keep secrets from his wife.
Oh, yeah. I was alone and scared. God came through BIG TIME!
oh wow! Talk about BIG! That is indeed BIG! Wow! Praise the Lord!
When you least expect it, that’s when he moves. When you have no faith to receive it, even then, the miracles still happen. What a mighty God we serve. That’s what I call favor – you don’t deserve it – yet He gives it anyway.
Thanks for sharing that! That is a Big Testimony.
He’s a BIG God!
My wife was pregnant with our son who is now 27 years old. We had been asked by a small country church in east Texas, USA to start a Christian school and they had provided us with a farmhouse out in the country to live in. It was on well water and had no phone. A few weeks after school had started, I was teaching school and about 10:00 in the morning I got the strongest urge that I had to go home, that something was wrong. My wife was not due for another month and she was fine when I had left that morning. I was the only adult there and I thought, “I’ll wait till lunch and then I will drive the 2 miles home quickly and check on my wife”. But the feeling got stronger and stronger and I couldn’t wait any longer. I left a student in charge and I drove home to find my wife standing outside barefoot on the rocky ground. I jumped out of the car and asked, “Are you alright? What’s wrong?” She said that her water had broke and she had prayed for The Lord to have me come home. She was standing outside trying to catch the mailman if he came by. We rushed to the hospital in town and my son was born premature within the hour. I call him my “miracle son”. If I ever feel like God doesn’t know what I am going through or is unaware, I remember my son’s birth and I am reassured that The Lord sees and knows exactly what I need and He has everything under control.
Wow! Wow! Wow!
What a testimony! Yes, he sees and he knows exactly where we are and what we are going through. Praise the Lord. Thank you for sharing that story.
I love this post, Walter. I needed it today. Been pretty stressed about a lot of thing, trying to trust that God is in charge and that he “sees” me. The beautiful thing about this is that, while we often view Hagar as the “evil one” because she is not Sarah, God loves her, too. He loves all of us equally…
Oops. “…a lot of thing*s*…” Silly me.
It is a beautiful thing… He makes his sun shine on all of us, his rain to fall on everyone of us. He loves us like crazy, no matter our past, present or future. It infuriates me when people start talking about God punishing others by earthquakes and hurricanes for their sins… As if any of us would stand if he was taking into account our own dirt.
Yes… I’ve never understood that, either. In Taiwan I was particularly struck by certain nations’ feelings about other nations. Like when the tsunami struck Japan a few years ago and some of the people I knew said they deserved it and were being punished for what they’d done to Taiwan so many years ago. (The Japanese occupied Taiwan for a number of years… Can’t remember all of the details now.) I was just blown away that anyone could say something like that…