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October 17, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“Then she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees; for she said, ‘Have I also here seen Him who sees me?’”—Genesis 16:13 (NKJV)
Woven amidst Abram’s life is Hagar’s story. Remember, she was Sarai’s maidservant who was probably brought into their fold via Abram’s detour to Egypt a few years earlier. Assuming she would never be able to get pregnant herself, Sarai suggests that Abram should conceive a child with Hagar, which he does.
Once pregnant, the relationship between Sarai and Hagar goes toxic. Sarai mistreats Hagar, who runs away into the wilderness. But God intervenes, commands Hagar to return and submit to Sarai, then promises to multiply her descendants through the son she was pregnant with, Ishmael, who would be the cause of conflict for many generations.
That’s a lot for anyone to take in, especially an Egyptian maidservant! Nothing in her past could have prepared her for being at the center of such an ancestral conflict. Yet, there she was. Fortunately, she knew she wasn’t alone. The Lord was with her, and in response to these new marching orders, she personalizes her experience with God and says He is “The-God-Who-Sees.”
In the Hebrew, the word is “El Roi”—and just as its transliteration would indicate, it emphasizes God seeing and the comfort that comes from that. For Hagar, who was basically a homeless refugee, it made all the difference knowing the Lord was watching over her. And it was the assurance of this truth that fortified her to return to the place she had fled from.
Sometimes, just knowing that God sees our situation is all we need. When circumstances seem to crumble all around us, friends suddenly forsake us, the story doesn’t go as we planned, or when we find ourselves alone and discouraged in the wilderness, we can rest in knowing that God is watching. He sees everything and sometimes that can turn the tide inside our soul. If we know He sees us, then we also know He can save us from whatever predicament we’re in, which is why we can so powerfully relate to Hagar here.
We know the power in the name “El Roi.” We know that the Lord watches over us, nothing escapes His attention, He is witness to every detail we endure, and that all that passes through His lens is weighed in His heart, which is the ultimate chamber of justice and equity.
If you’re feeling mistreated, alone, maligned, estranged, destitute, marginalized, unwanted, misunderstood, betrayed, or the like know that El Roi is watching over you. Trust this, trust Him, and remember that the One who sees you is also the One who will save you.
DIG: What new name did Hagar give to God?
DISCOVER: What’s the significance of this name?
DO: Consider all the ways that God has proven to be El Roi in your life and spend time thanking and praising Him for it.
Pastor Dan Hickling serves our online community, also known as the Calvary Chapel Online Campus. He and his wife Becky have been married for 22 years and have two children, Lauren and Danny. Both Dan and Becky have been part of the CCFL church family for 22 years and have served in full time ministry for 20 of those years.