Editor’s note: The purpose of this series is to help our readers think through what the character of God is and it’s importance to the Christian faith.
- Dave opened our series by looking at the character of God and the inspiration of Scripture.
- Dave wrote on understanding the names of God.
- Today Dave writes on El Roi, the God of Seeing.
As I look back on my life, I notice that there have been times when I wondered if God saw my circumstances. Whether it was physical hardship, mental or emotional trauma, heartbreak for a family member, or financial difficulties, as I struggled for saneness and faith, I sometimes wondered if God saw my need. And if He did see my need, why wasn’t he fixing it? I could not see Him.
It is a lonely feeling to wonder if God sees and if He cares.
Genesis 16 records the pain and frustration of Hagar, Sarai’s slave who conceived a child with Abram, at Sarai’s suggestion. Sarai thought this would be the way to fulfill God’s promise of a child. But once she conceived, Hagar despised her mistress. Sarai, in her own frustration and pain, dealt harshly with Hagar, and the slave ran away into the wilderness.
Genesis 16:7-11, 13, “The angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur. And he said, “Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?” She said, “I am fleeing from my mistress Sarai.” The angel of the Lord said to her, “Return to your mistress and submit to her.” The angel of the Lord also said to her, “I will surely multiply your offspring so that they cannot be numbered for multitude.” And the angel of the Lord said to her,
“Behold, you are pregnant
and shall bear a son.
You shall call his name Ishmael,
because the Lord has listened to your affliction. So she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, “You are a God of seeing,” for she said, “Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.”
El Roi, the God who sees, not only saw her predicament, He cared that she was suffering. In His lovingkindness He instructed her to return to Sarai. He gave Hagar a much broader perspective of her life. He helped her to see what only He could see.
El Roi is specifically mentioned only in Genesis 16. Many other passages, however, confirm the seeing and caring nature of God. Stop for a moment and read Psalm 139.
Whether you see Him or not, God is lovingly watching over you. El Roi, the God who sees, does not miss a detail about your life. Not only does He see, He cares! Hebrews 4:15-16, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
Peter understood the caring nature of God when he wrote in 1 Peter 5:6-7, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” Humble yourself, casting on him all that concerns you or causes you stress, because it matters to Him.
Jesus himself calls for us to come to him with our burdens. Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Have you ever considered what God sees as He looks at you? He sees your need and He cares. But as He looks at you as a person, what does He see? Your sin? Yes. Your ugliness and weakness? Yes. But if you believe in the saving work of Jesus Christ, if you are His and He is yours, how does God see you? It is through Christ that you have been given a new identity. Through Christ you are a new creation. The following truths and corresponding passages are provided for your continued study of El Roi, the God who sees, and how He sees you through and because of the redemptive work of Jesus Christ, the Son.
Because of Jesus I am:
- free from the law of sin and death—Romans 8:2
- free from condemnation—Romans 8:1
- at peace with God—Romans 5:1
- saved from the wrath of God—Romans 5:9
- justified by faith—Romans 3:28
- made perfect—Hebrews 10:14
- reconciled to God—Romans 5:10-11
- holy, blameless and beyond reproach—Colossians 1:21-22
- near to God—Ephesians 2:13
- a child of God—Romans 8:15-16
- a fellow heir with Christ—Romans 8:17, Galatians 4:4-7
- sealed in him with the Holy Spirit—Ephesians 1:13
- made alive with Christ—Ephesians 2:4-5
- the dwelling place of Christ—Romans 8:10
- made complete—Colossians 2:9-10
- forgiven, the debt against me is cancelled—Colossians 2:12-14
- the righteousness of God in Christ—2 Corinthians 5:21
- a new creation—2 Corinthians 5:17
- accepted by Christ—Romans 15:7
- of God’s household—Ephesians 2:19
- chosen of God, holy and dearly loved—Colossians 3:12
- dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus—Romans 6:11
- free from sin’s power over me—Romans 6:7
- a recipient of the Spirit of God—1 Corinthians 2:12
- raised up and seated with Christ in heaven—Ephesians 2:6
- righteous and holy—Ephesians 4:24
- greatly loved by God—1 John 3:1
- a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation—1 Peter 2:9
- God’s own possession—1 Peter 2:9
- a partaker of the divine nature—2 Peter 1:4
- able to confidently come before the throne of God that I may receive mercy and grace to help in time of need—Hebrews 4:16
What difference will it make in your life to know that the God who sees and who cares for you personally, sees you in the truth as is listed above? What an amazing God, El Roi!