El Roi (EL raw-EE) – The God Who Sees Me.
I know I'm not the only one struck by the depth of those words. This special name of God – used only once in the entire Bible, has given hope to so many – starting with the very woman who named him that -- Hagar presumably the only person in the Bible who “renamed” God.
Hagar's story was a short, mysterious one, but one that had a tremendous impact on this world today. You can read the whole story Here.
Who was at fault for Hagar's heartache? Everyone. Sarai for taking matters into her own hands then reacting with fierce jealousy when it came back to bite her, Abram for not trusting the Lord and going along with Sarai's scheme, and Hagar for allowing her arrogance and stubbornness to stoke Sarai's sorest point.
But the damage is done when we find Hagar huddled beside the spring, eagerly moistening her chapped lips and dry throat with the water, nursing her bruises, cradling her growing belly, wondering what would become of her and her child as the desert sun baked down on her.
In this state of desperation, perhaps she did what she'd been refusing to do all her life – she called on the Lord. Perhaps as an Egyptian, she'd been struggling with the beliefs of Sarai and Abram and, after her terrible experience with them, was ready to forsake the Lord all together but for the looming future that seemed so dismal.
But the Lord refused to forsake Hagar. Imagine. Knowing the pain and sorrow that her child would bring. Seeing the future. The wars. The pain. The death. He still loved her, just as he loved her child and his descendants. He loved her so much, He sent an angel to speak to her, to show her a glimpse of his plans for her and her child. It was an encounter that changed her life forever.
Her response was to give both God and the spring a new name. El Roi – The God Who Sees Me.
When I think of that name, I think of God holding me in His arms, watching me with unwavering love and interest. But I think this name has a double meaning, which was part of why Hagar named Him this. Despite His undying love for me, as God is seeing His perfect plan coming to fruition in my life, He can also see all my faults and sins.
I think Hagar named Him, El Roi, because of how He saw her needs, pain, and sorrow and came to comfort her, but also saw her defiance arrogance and came to correct her. For He told her to go back and submit to Sarai who was mistreating her. Imagine! Who would want to go back to that situation? But note that Hagar obeyed the Lord, despite the fear churning her stomach. She humbled herself, asked forgiveness, and trusted that El Roi was still watching over her.
Sometimes, that is exactly what we need to do. We need to turn around and return to the very things we are running from, quelling our fears, and trusting that El Roi, who sees us, will work that situation out for His Good and Purpose.
So what do you think? Have you seen evidence of El Roi seeing you?
Check back Thursday for part two.