Thursday, November 17, 2022

The Names of God - El Roi

El Roi - God sees me.  

Why am I writing about the names of God? 
Our church is doing a sermon series this summer called 'This Verse Changed My Life.'  One of the verses that had a significant impact on my this year is Genesis 16:13 'Then she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, El-Roi; for she said, “Have I also here seen Him who sees me?”'  

Hagar - Sarah's (Abraham's wife) servant - gave God this name after she ran away from Sarah.  She was distraught, emotional, and pregnant.  God promised her things would work out for her and her son if she returned to Sarah.  Hagar clearly had special moment with God because in giving him this name I believe she was saying, 'You understand me.  You see the full spectrum of my life experience - you know and perceive me.  You see the injustice I'm facing.  Thank you for seeing me and my predicament and meeting me where I'm at.'

I Am Seen

I was personally encouraged when this story and name El Roi was re-illuminated for me again this year.  Honestly, for the impact its had on me, 'personally encouraged' sounds weak.  God sees/perceives/recognizes me - every part of my life.  He knows where I've been, all my past experiences, my current situation, when I feel overlooked or ignored or taken advantage of, and all my foibles, faults, frailties, fickleness, and fears.  He groks the entire context of my life, understands who I am, the promise of my life, my potential, and wants to encourage me, too.  Remembering this is an immense comfort for me. 

Nathanael had a similar experience the first time he met Jesus.  In an instance he flip-flopped from being super skeptical to being a completely sold out, convinced follower of Jesus after Jesus said '...I saw you under the fig tree...'  at the end of John chapter 1.  What would make Nathanael do such an about face?  Like his Father, Jesus truly sees and people recognize that.

The names of God - El Roi - God Sees Me. Do I see others?
Photo by Amanda Dalbjörn on Unsplash

Isn't being seen a foundational human desire?  It certainly seem to be for me.  I often find myself longing to be genuinely perceived, understood, recognized, and known by someone - particularly people in authority that I admire.  When I let the truth that God sees (and has seen) everything about me sink into my soul though, it changes me.  I'm not as frustrated when I'm interrupted.  I'm not as disappointed when I'm overlooked, misunderstood, or forgotten.  I am seen, heard, and understood by the One who matters most.


God doesn't want me to just be comforted by this realization.  He wants me to live it out, be his ambassador, and truly see others as He does.  I need to slow down, pause, and sincerely consider other's perspective, experiences and context in life beyond me.  Then further, make them aware that they are seen too.

Update Feb 4, 2024
Do I trust God, that in seeing all, He:

  • Is in control?  That He is more than able to align the events and people I meet in my life to accomplish His purpose and plan;
  • Is ultimately just?  He will make everything 'fair' in the end.  Its so easy to want to push for my own justice and retribution, to 'help' others see my perspective and why thy are 'wrong' or being unfair in their criticism of me.  David in Psalm 7 outlines these feelings well.

Why am I writing about the names of God?

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