Lately I have been reminded often of the name of God El Roi, the name given to God by Hagar in Genesis 16. The brief story of Hagar starts as her being a slave to Sarah, but after years of being barren and refusing to rely on Gods timing Sarah decides to take matters into her own hands and requests Abraham to wed Hagar who then conceives. Sarah is then disgusted and turns on Hagar becoming so nasty that Hagar runs away. When she stops due to exhaustion in the middle of the desert and Angel of the Lord comes to meet with her. He tells her what her future will look like, and to name her little one Ishmael, He tells her a little of his future also, and then she cries out “You are Jehovah El Roi, The God who sees me”.
I have loved the story of Abraham and Isaac for as long as I can remember. I love that God had a sacrifice waiting in the thicket. That Isaacs life was never asked for on the Altar in death, but that it was asked that Abraham and Isaac would love God and wholly devote themselves to him in life no matter what the request.
However now looking at the life of Hagar it is evident how much Abraham messed it up. He rarely relied on the promises of God, if there was another option to speed the process up, so to speak, he took it with both hands. Yet God held true to His promise, Abraham would be the father of many nations, numbering more than the stars, and that his descendants would own the land of Canaan on which he lived as a foreigner.
For me this name means more today than it did yesterday, you see now I have realised that it is not a simple passing statement. When Hagar vocalised the phrase you are The God who sees me, it was not a present tense comment. God did not just see her in that moment, No; God saw her pain of yesterday, the exhaustion of today, and the Freedom in her tomorrows. He knew and He knows of all the moments laid out before us and in that He has a plan. He planned for Ishmael to bring forth a descendant who would help release the Israelites. He knew the future and this would all allow for the possession of Canaan. God knew every footstep of those living from now until eternity and when He spoke the earth listened. But in this moment for Hagar God knew her, He knew her circumstances, and He was compassionate towards her.
Speaking with my Pastor he has told me that the actual words mean, that God is constantly paying attention to. Wow, what a definition. God is constantly, persistently, and relentlessly paying His full attention to me, to you, to our families, our pains, our triumphs, our futures. He knows the freedom in your tomorrows as much as He knew the freedom in Hagars, because He wrote the plans. Jeremiah 29:11 tells us that He knows the plans for us, plans for Good and not evil.
In this I am given greater comfort and peace that I could ever imagine. My God knows, and therefore I am at peace. For when God is with me, no one can be against. When My God speaks mountains move, and that is enough for me to rest within Him. For me this will be a promise of God that I will stand on, even when the ground begins to shake, and the world is in turmoil I will stand with God, who sees me.