In a nutshell, Sarai became impatient while waiting on God to fulfill His promise to give her an heir and decided to take matters into her own hands. She ordered her servant, Hagar, to go into Abraham in order to produce the heir she had been able to have. Unfortunately, after the deed was done, Sarai had harsh feelings toward Hagar and mistreated her to the point that Hagar ran away. It is in this barren wilderness that we discover the name of God that we will be discussing in this post.
Imagine Hagar's plight. Lost and alone, she wanders through the wilderness, having no idea where she's even headed. She feels abandoned and forsaken, suffering for following the orders of her mistress, nothing more. Yet despite her feelings, she was not alone. There was one who was watching and was aware of her suffering. That one is El Roi, the God who sees.
Interestingly enough, the name El Roi only appears in this one passage in the Bible, however, God's all-seeing nature is present throughout all Scripture. No matter where we are or what circumstances we are facing, God is aware and is looking on with unblinking eyes. He doesn't miss a moment. Not a single tear falls without His notice. He sees our past, present and future. He sees our mistakes and failures, as well as our successes and triumphs. He sees our fears and insecurities and knows us better than we could ever know ourselves. Despite how alone and forsaken we may often feel, we can find great comfort in the fact that the Eyes of Heaven are upon us. God knows what we are going through, and yes, He does care.
I don't know about you, but there are days when I feel insignificant, almost to the point of invisible. During these spells, I feel as if no one cares and no one understands. Half the time, when battling these emotions, I'm not even sure I understand myself what I'm going through. But God knows, and He understands. And with that understanding, He can lead me to a place of peace and safety, away from the harsh winds and tumultuous seas that toss my boat and rock my world.
But don't take my word for it. Just look at some of the things the Bible has to say about who and what God sees:
The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good. - Proverbs 15:3
For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. - II Chronicles 16:9a
Doth not he see my ways, and count all my steps? - Job 31:4
For his eyes are upon the ways of man, and he seeth all his goings. - Job 34:21
The Lord is in his holy temple, the Lord's throne is in heaven: his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men. - Psalm 11:4
O lord, thou hast searched me, and known me. - Psalm 139:1
For mine eyes are upon all their ways: they are not hid from my face, neither is their iniquity hid from mine eyes. - Jeremiah 16:17
I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings. - Jeremiah 17:10
Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do. - Hebrews 4:13
Hagar followed the Lord's leadership and went back to Abram and Sarai. As the angel of the Lord had proclaimed, Hagar had a son and named him Ishmael, which means "God hears". Through what I'm sure was one of the darkest times in Hagar's life, she was reminded that God sees and He hears. He's paying attention. Nothing takes Him by surprise, and nothing escapes His notice.
Perhaps, you're facing a wilderness of your own right now. Feeling alone and forsaken, you have no idea which way to go or to whom you can turn. If so, find your place of rest with El Roi, the God who sees. Believe it or not, He understands your circumstances better than you do. Rest in His embrace. Regain your strength. And when it's time, He'll direct you in the path you need to follow. Simply put your trust in Him and His all-seeing knowledge. Father really does know best!