He is ‘El Ro’i. The God who sees me. Just let that sink in for a moment. God. sees. me. Say it out loud if you can. God. sees. me. Do you believe it? Nothing is hidden from him. Absolutely nothing. “No creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (Heb. 4:13). He sees me. Sometimes I just need to know he sees me: my situation, my efforts, my hopes, my frustrations.
Devo Scripture: Genesis 16:7-16
Key Verse: “The eyes of the LORD are in every place keeping watch on the evil and the good.”
Other times I don’t want to think about it. When I know my attitude is in the pits. But the fact is I don’t get to choose what God sees and doesn’t see. Because he sees all of it! He’s acquainted with all my ways (Ps. 139:3). Nothing is hidden from him. Nothing escapes him. Not even one little thought “for the LORD searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought” (1 Chron. 28:9b). Oh how desperate we are to forget this fact when we choose to sin. And how quick we are to point it out when others sin. But the truth is….“The LORD looks down from heaven; he sees all the children of man…and observes all their deeds” (Ps. 33:13-15).
Because he is ‘El Ro’i, a God of seeing. As Hagar came to understand “by a spring of water in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur” (Gen. 16:7). There she was – exhausted, pregnant, mistreated, wrong, hopeless. Running away because it was just too hard. Most likely heading back to Egypt. To what? A family that couldn’t afford to care for her? Rejection because she was carrying a half Shemite baby? She might as well be honest with herself, no one wanted her. She was alone; all alone.
Or so she thought. And so we think. But are we ever alone? No my friend, no. The God who sees was with her. And the God who sees is with us. When we’re exhausted; completely spent; at the end of our rapidly fraying rope – he sees it. Whether we’re in the wrong or a victim of injustice – he sees it. When we try, succeed, trust, or fail – he sees it. We must believe – he sees it.
Verse 7 says it was “The angel of the LORD” that found her by the well. But this was not an angel as we think of. Scholars widely believe this to be the preincarnate Christ. In Genesis 22:16 when the angel of the LORD calls to Abraham on Mt. Moriah he calls himself the LORD. In Genesis 31 the angel of God appeared to Jacob in a dream and referred to himself as “the God of Bethel.” In Exodus 3 it was the angel of the LORD that appeared to Moses in the burning bush, but clearly it was God (Ex. 3:4-5). And there is no mistaking Hagar believed she was in the very presence of God “for she said, “Truly here I have seen him who looks after me” (Gen. 16:13). Oh friends do you see it. There by the spring…though dirty, dejected, and disobedient…Jesus met her.
This is the unfathomable kindness of God. That HE who is so incredibly high and lifted up cares enough to meet a disobedient Egyptian slave girl by a spring of water. To comfort her and confront her. To renew her strength and give her hope. He loves us! It’s unreal how deeply God loves us! Enough to not just let us be as we are – stuck in our sin. But to come after us. To pursue us. To save us. To reveal himself to us. Just as he did Hagar.
In the person of Jesus Christ. Through his word; his perfect and precious word. And through the work of the Holy Spirit. He has made himself known. “No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known” (John 1:18; NIV). He who sees us, has allowed us to see him. Could there be any greater blessing? Yet how little it appears we care when we leave only a few minutes a day for the God who sees us. How little impressed we seem.
But not Hagar. She was more than impressed. She was astounded that the God of Abram and Sarai cared enough to hear and see and bless her. So deeply moved was she that she gave God a name: ‘El Ro’i, “The God who sees me” (NIV). So deeply moved was she that God would bless her with “offspring so that they cannot be numbered for multitude.” So deeply moved was she that her son would not be a servant as she was but would “dwell over against all his kinsmen.” So deeply moved was she that his name was to be Ishmael, which means “God hears.” What a reminder! Every time she called for Ishmael she would be reminded of this amazing moment.
This amazing moment when she saw God and came to understand that God sees her. This amazing moment when God stopped her from doing the wrong thing. This amazing moment when she experienced the blessing of submitting herself to God. Because that’s what she did that day…submitted herself to his will; his plan; his purpose.
And that’s what he wants from us. Submission. “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:6b-7). Submit yourself to God and I promise you will never regret it. Submit yourself to the one who made you; who saw you before anyone else did. “Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them” (Ps. 139:16). Submit yourself to his will; his plan; his purpose just as Hagar did and I have no doubt you too will be blessed.
I don’t imagine the walk back to Abram and Sarai was easy. But certainly it was possible with “The God who sees me” by her side. Just as it is for us. Submit to God my friend and find the joy, the strength, the peace that comes with doing the right thing and knowing the God who sees you will be with you every step of the way.