Names of God – Part 5
El Roi (pronounced El Roee) means the one who sees. It may sound to some that God seeing is something to be scared of, but that is not the way it is used in the Bible. The God who sees is a God who loves and cares. The term is used by Hagar in Genesis 16:13.
The story goes like this. God has promised to make a large nation through Abram, later to be known as Abraham, but Abram’s wife has given him no children. Sarai, the wife, later to be known as Sarah, feels like the weak link in the chain. so she suggests that Abraham does what was common practise in those days. Sarai has a servant Hagar, an Egyptian. She suggests to Abram, her husband, that he has sex with Hagar, and that any resulting children be counted as Sarah’s. The idea is a tough one to Hagar who will not be able to bring up her own children, as they will count as belonging to Sarah, but more importantly Hagar has no say in this. Sarai gives her slave, Abraham uses the slave, no consent is needed. That is the way things were. Things were tough on slaves.
The giving of slaves as breeding slaves by a wife to her husband turns up again in the story of Jacob. It never ends happily.
Here it goes wrong straight away, Hagar becomes pregnant almost immediately, and starts to look down on Sarai, who hasn’t. So Sarai treats Hagar badly. Hagar runs away.
So here we have poor alone Hagar, who has been abused here at every turn by everybody. Then to Hagar in hiding the Angel of the Lord appears, which is an old way of saying that God appears to Hagar. God says he knows all about how Hagar has been treated and to return to the family she is running from. He tells her he has seen how she has been treated. Hagar worships the God who has seen her and come to her at her most needy.
Are you in need? Desperate about anything? Do things weigh heavy on you? I wish I could say that things will be OK. But I can’t. What I can say, though, is that God has seen what you are going through and though God may not take you out of your situation God can, if you allow him, be with you through the bad times. Hagar had to return to the people who abused her, but she praised God because she had met with the God who sees. She knew she was being cared for by God through her difficulties.
Ask El Roi, the God who sees you, to open your eyes to His work and to increase your faith even and especially when His promises seem impossible to fulfil.