El Roi


When we feel alone, when bad things happen, it is not God who needs to change—we do.

She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her:  "You are the God who sees me," for she said, "I have now seen the One who sees me." Genesis 16:13

There are many names for God used in the Bible. People give some of these names to Him, while others He calls Himself. There is one name that is particularly comforting when life throws a sucker punch. When we are reeling from the sting of being mistreated, taken advantage of, or misunderstood, it helps to remember this Name. In the Hebrew, His name is El Roi, translated as “The God who sees.”

The lady who first called God by this name knew a little something about being mistreated. Her name was Hagar; and she was Sarah’s maidservant. When Sarah grew tired of waiting for God to fulfill His promise to give her children, she sent Hagar in to her husband Abraham to conceive a child for her (a common custom of that time). When Hagar did conceive and bear a son to Abraham, Sarah became jealous and mistreated her, having Abraham send her and her son, Ishmael, away. It was at this time—after being used and forgotten—that Hagar understood that God truly saw her. Although it felt like she was alone and forsaken because they were outcasts, God came to her and promised to protect her son. And all at once Hagar understood that she was never alone. When all else failed, God saw her.  

In Psalm 139:15-18, we find these words describing El Roi: “My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are Your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand.” It is impossible to escape the eyes of God. Even in the darkest of situations, God sees you. Even after the worst mistake, God sees you. When we feel alone, when bad things happen, it is not God that needs to change—we do. He sees us, but we must choose to see Him.  

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