January 29, 2023 | Doug Sauder
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“Go, assemble the elders of Israel and say to them, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—appeared to me and said: I have watched over you and have seen what has been done to you in Egypt. And I have promised to bring you up out of your misery in Egypt into the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites—a land flowing with milk and honey.’”—Exodus 3:16–17 (NIV)
El Roi—the God who sees. I think there’s something so valuable about the various Jewish names for God.
In our language, we often tend to use various adjectives to describe God. Although there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s worth remembering what the Jews would refer to Him as. They had names such as Jehovah Rapha—the God who heals, Jehovah Jireh—God the Provider, and El Shaddai—Lord God Almighty.
Reading through God’s conversation with Moses in this chapter of Exodus allows us to see how God affirms His character to Moses through the message. We also see Him explicitly state who He is two verses just before these. In Exodus 3:14, God tells Moses “I am who I am” or “I will be who I will be,” which essentially affirms that He is eternally constant and truly God. The Hebrew word in verse 14 is Ehyeh, meaning “I will be,” but then in today’s verse, God points Moses to the way he could say it himself without blaspheming God or confusing people by saying Yahweh, which means “He will be.” Therefore, when we read in verse 16 “the Lord,” Moses was hearing God say the term “Yahweh.” This becomes another name for God that is extremely venerated by all Jewish people and not taken lightly.
Not only does God tell Moses to refer to Him as “Yahweh,” but He also tells Moses to remind the elders that He is “the God of our fathers.” When God reminds them that He is the God of their ancestors, specifically naming Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, He helps them recall His faithfulness through each of their stories.
God first shares the promise with Abraham, calls him to leave his home, and grants him a child with Sarah despite their old age. Even after multiple faults in Abraham’s faith, he continually returned to God, and his child, Isaac, would continue to practice this faith. God entered the covenant with Isaac, continued the promise through him, and although his youngest son, Jacob, also had his own share of faults, God then chose Jacob to continue this covenant with as well. Even through Jacob, God’s faithfulness is seen in His continual provision and grace despite Jacob’s and his family’s mistakes.
And now, with Moses and the current generations, God would continue to prove Himself faithful. Although it’s difficult to completely trust and follow someone who we can’t see, it’s our faith that grants us the assurance of that which is not seen (Hebrews 11:1). And we can have faith because God does see, he is El Roi, and He sees much more than we can and loves much more than we can.
Pause: Think about how you have seen God’s faithfulness in your own story or even in the stories of those you know or have heard.
Practice: Rejoice that the Lord is a God who sees! He sees you today, so practice thanking Him specifically for that, but also be bold in talking to Him about the harder things He may see but may not seem to be doing anything about yet. Ask questions, be vulnerable, and lean into His gracious and powerful presence.
Pray: El Roi, the God who sees, thank You for seeing me. It’s simultaneously comforting and hard to think about that. You see so much brokenness and that makes me feel hopeless at times. But I know that when You see it, not only does it break Your heart, but it fuels Your righteousness, and one day You will make all things well again. Until then, I trust that You will not turn your eyes from any of it. I trust that You see more than I ever could, and that Your character has been proven faithful so I have no need to fear. I love you El Roi. Amen.
Samy Rodriguez has been serving with the Calvary writing team since 2020 as a senior at Calvary Christian Academy. Before going to study communications, biblical studies, and intercultural studies at Palm Beach Atlantic University, she interned with the Calvary Communications Team and was a student leader in HSM (High School Ministry). She is passionate about communicating God’s Word and looks forward to continuing to serve in ministry after college.