THE GOD WHO SEES. There are many names for God as you read the Old Testament, but one stuck out to me this morning. It is from a very unusual place and does not get much mention. It is only used one time in Scripture. Perhaps you remember the story of Abraham and Sarah? He is the father of faith and the nation of Israel. He was given a great promise from the Lord, “Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them. So shall your descendants be.” And Abram believed God and it was accounted to him as righteousness.
However, Abram and Sarai had no children. So Sarai took it upon herself to fulfill God’s promise by having her handmaid Hagar sleep with her husband. Ladies, this is a very bad idea. This created multiple and long term problems. Hagar despised Sarai and so Sarai treated Hagar poorly and Hagar ran away into the desert. Here’s where God shows up. Now imagine this, Hagar is pregnant, she has no one, she’s in the desert, she has no food, she’s been mistreated and the Angel of the Lord shows up. He tells her to return to Sarai and submit to her and then He gives her a promise for her child, even though he is not the child of promise. So Hagar, the outcast, gives God another name:
“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
“You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees”, says Hagar. In Hebrew, it is “El Roi”. We may have noticed that many names for God in scripture include “El.” El typically refers to God. But Roi brings another attribute of our Lord to the equation. El Roi means “The God who sees me.” What a beautiful knowing! God sees me. When I am on the mountain top God sees me. But also when I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, and I am sad, depressed, mistreated, misunderstood, alone, and afraid; He sees me. When no one else sees, cares or knows; He sees me. He-Sees-me.
Ro’iy in the original Hebrew can be translated as shepherd, or as seeing, looking, or gazing.
In other words, when we feel most invisible and forgotten by everyone else, we can remember that God does see us. He witnesses our struggles and comes alongside us. If he sees the sparrows and takes care of them, how much more does he care for us in our greatest time of need?
“Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” Matthew 6:26
Because if He sees me, then He cares and He will answer! Now maybe I don’t always like His answer. Hagar was told to go back to her mistress who was mistreating her and to submit. I’m not sure what that looked like, but it does not sound like it was very “fun”. I don’t always like His answer. I don’t always like what He asks of me or what He asks me to endure. Perhaps you should ask Paul what he was to endure for the name of Jesus,
“But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake.”” Acts 9:15-16
You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees. Never once was Paul alone. God knew and ordered his every step. Don’t think that this life is all roses and daisies. It’s not. We will endure trials, tribulations, afflictions, and sufferings. I have been by the still waters and I’ve walked through that valley. But I was never alone. I was never forsaken. When others left me, He stood by me. When you are in the hospital room and you feel all alone, He sees you. When your friends betray you, He sees you. When you are sick, suffering and hurting, He sees you and He cares for you. He provides for the sparrows and He will provide everything we need. Do not despair and do not worry. He sees you and He will answer.
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