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Home Group – El Roi

by | Wed, Aug 19 2015

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The Names of God: El Roi

Genesis 16:13-14, ‘Then she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, “You are a God who sees,” for she said, “Have I even remained alive here after seeing Him?” Therefore the well was called Beer-lahai-roi; behold, it is between Kadesh and Bered.’

This passage of Scripture is the partial account of Hagar the Egyptian maidservant of Sarah, Abraham’s wife.

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Sarah was barren and in spite of God’s promise to give her and Abraham a son, Sarah decided to take matters into her own hands and she gave her maidservant – Hagar – to her husband Abraham as a concubine of sorts in the hope that a child would be born for Sarah and Abraham with Hagar being the surrogate. To us, this is an abhorrent practice but it wasn’t seen as abusive or demeaning in that

culture, it was in fact a common practice and seen as quite respectful and quite a ‘step up’ for the handmaid if she was sought to provide offspring for her master and mistress.

It is important also to note that God didn’t establish this practice neither did He direct Abraham and Sarah to take this step, rather, Abraham should have gently and lovingly reminded his wife Sarah of God’s promise to them and helped her in the process of belief and faith. Sadly, he didn’t.

However, Abraham went along with Sarah’s suggestion and the situation turned sour after Hagar actually did fall pregnant and she immediately began treating Sarah, her mistress with great disrespect and contempt. Sarah, who already felt a great deal of sadness and shame at being unable to bear children – something that was akin to being a social pariah in that day and culture – now felt doubly depressed because she was being treated very badly by her servant girl whom Sarah had actually elevated in position within their household.

Sarah went to Abraham to vent her pain and frustration and Abraham completely submitted to Sarah and her wishes. Not one of Abraham’s finest hours! However, it wasn’t one of Sarah’s finest hours either as she in turn lashed out at Hagar and treated her very badly as well, so badly that Hagar fled and it was on this journey of escape that the Lord appeared to Hagar while she was sitting by a spring of water.

The conversation between the Lord and Hagar was one of compassion and promise but it was also one of submission. God could see Hagar and her situation, God promised to protect her and the child she was carrying and not only that God would bless and multiply her son and his descendants and even went so far as to describe what manner of man he would be. But, God also required Hagar to return to Sarah and be submissive to her.

Sarah wasn’t by nature a harsh or spiteful woman, and had Hagar not treated her so dishonourably, humiliating her, Sarah would never have reacted so badly. If Hagar returned and treated her mistress with the respect she deserved, Hagar would in turn be treated well and so would her child. And they were.

God saw everything that Hagar went through, God saw Hagar’s poor behaviour and He saw the ill treatment she received as well. God saw all the facts and all the behaviour and all the hidden attitudes and emotions of the heart…He saw it all. He also saw the future and what would unfold…there was nothing that God couldn’t see and He had promised Hagar to be with her and her son in the years that lay ahead of them.

Because God could see everything, she called Him El Roi. ‘El’ as we learned last week is the shortened form of God’s name Elohim, the all mighty and all powerful God. ‘Roi’ means sees. God Sees.

God Sees

Knowing and understanding that God sees everything is both comforting and terrifying at the same time. He sees all that we experience and endure, He sees what is done against us and to us that causes us pain and heartache, He sees the plans and schemes of those who hate Him and His children and He sees our private heartaches and struggles.

He also sees our sins, our wicked thoughts and attitudes and all the foolish and even dangerous things we do when we think no one else is watching. The name El Roi reveals another miraculous facet of our God…He sees absolutely everything that is done by absolutely everyone in every place in the world at the same time, nothing is hidden from Him.

Here are some verses in Scripture that emphasise that God sees everything.

Hebrews 4:13, ‘And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.’


Proverbs 5:21, ‘For the ways of a man are before the eyes of the Lord, and He watches all his paths.’


Psalm 33:13-14, 18-19, ‘The Lord looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men; from His dwelling place He looks out on all the inhabitants of the earth…Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, on those who hope for His lovingkindness, to deliver their soul from death and to keep them alive in famine.’


Jeremiah 23:24, ‘”Can a man hide himself in hiding places so I do not see him?” declares the Lord. “Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?” declares the Lord.’


Proverbs 15: 3, ‘The eyes of the Lord are in every place, watching the evil and the good.’


Jeremiah 16:17, ‘For My eyes are on all their ways; they are not hidden from My face, nor is their iniquity concealed from My eyes.’

What does this mean for us?

When we feel that God is not aware of what we’re going through…He is.

When we think God has turned away from us…He hasn’t.

When we think God hasn’t noticed the conduct of the wicked…He has.

When it seems as if God is blind to us and won’t respond to our situation…He will.

But because God sees everything…not just what has happened and is happening, He also sees what is yet to happen and God moves and takes action according to all that He sees and knows according to His own plans and purposes for us.

Over the past little while, I’ve been reading books about God revealing Himself to Muslims throughout the Muslim world. What we know about life in the Muslim world is that it’s a very closed world and there is zero tolerance for any other belief system or ideology other than Islam and for those living in that world, it’s hard, scary and lonely. Any kind of doubt about believing in Islam can result in real danger and there are many Christians around the world who would love to be able to take the Gospel into these dangerous places…and some are to be sure, but nowhere near the number of believer’s taking the Gospel to other places and people groups. So what about the Muslims in the Muslim world?

God sees them and we’ve been reading just some of their stories as God has seen their secret struggles, the confusion inside their own hearts and minds that they’ve been too frightened to speak or share out loud and God has met with them and shown Himself to them.

If God sees everyone and everything, why doesn’t God intervene on behalf of His children who are suffering so terribly?

We want God to stop the brutality and the evil and we wonder why He seems to be sitting on His hands, but in actuality, He’s very busy and moving powerfully in these situations, but if God was to intervene in the free will of those who commit acts of atrocity, shouldn’t He also be able to intervene in our lives when we’re about to do something wrong?

As human beings we are quick to compare ourselves with the most heinous of criminals and then declare ourselves to be good people, but really, we should be comparing ourselves to God and when we do, we realise how wicked we really are and then we’re very grateful and relieved that God doesn’t intervene in our lives and give us what we really deserve.

The Truth

The truth is that God should wipe us all out, but instead, He allows us to live another day, and another day…and then another day and each of those days in an opportunity for the unsaved to repent and for the saved to shine their light and share the Gospel with those who don’t know Him yet. Because God sees all and knows all, He sees what we can’t see yet and He uses all things to fulfill His plans and purposes.

God sees everyone everywhere in every religious setting and in every cultural tradition all at the same time and He will reveal Himself in His time and in His way either through His children sharing their faith and serving the lost or through supernatural means whether it be through unlikely encounters, or dreams and visions.

2 Chronicles 16: 9, ‘For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.’

Our God is El Roi – our God sees us, knows us and He will strongly support us whose hearts are completely His!


Mandy 🙂