The Names of God: El Roi

This post is part of the series The Names of God.

Genesis 16:7–14 (ESV)
7 The angel of the LORD found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur.
8 And he said, “Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?” She said, “I am fleeing from my mistress Sarai.”
9 The angel of the LORD said to her, “Return to your mistress and submit to her.”
10 The angel of the LORD also said to her, “I will surely multiply your offspring so that they cannot be numbered for multitude.”
11 And the angel of the LORD said to her, “Behold, you are pregnant and shall bear a son. You shall call his name Ishmael, because the LORD has listened to your affliction.
12 He shall be a wild donkey of a man, his hand against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he shall dwell over against all his kinsmen.”
13 So she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, “You are a God of seeing,” for she said, “Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.”
14 Therefore the well was called Beer-lahai-roi; it lies between Kadesh and Bered.

As we read this passage we find Hagar fleeing from Sarah, who had treated her harshly out of jealousy. Hagar had become pregnant, which Sarah was unable to do, and now Sarah was angry. We can imagine the pain and feeling of injustice that Hagar is experiencing as she is now alone and uncertain about her future. It is at this time that God shows up to Hagar and assures her that he is aware of her circumstances and that he is with her. Hagar’s response to God is to call him El Roi, “the God of seeing” or “the God who sees me”.

Hagar realized that even in her difficult circumstances, God was nearby. He knew what she was going through and he was going to take care of her. We can have the same assurance. God sees us. He knows our struggles and our sorrows. He knows our every need and he will never leave us. Wherever you are and whatever you are facing, know that God sees and that you can trust in him.


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