Do you know El Roi, the God who sees? God’s name, El Roi, comes from Hagar’s experience in Genesis 16. If you’ve never read it, I’d encourage you to read through the account.
Put yourself in Hagar’s shoes. She’s been harmed and sinned against. Abraham and Sarai chose to use their Egyptian slave to get an heir. Listen to the very specific parallels with Adam and Eve in Genesis 3:
And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai. So, Sarai, took Hagar the Egyptian, her servant and gave her to Abram as a wife.
So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.
And to Adam the Lord God said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
Abram and Sarai have chosen their wisdom over God’s wisdom, by taking Hagar, the forbidden fruit. Hagar becomes pregnant. And the result is Sarai being shamed and looked down upon by Hagar.
A good gospel question to ask: what have you longed for so deeply that you were willing to forsake God’s wisdom to take what you want? It’s something you wanted so badly, that you hurt people in the process. The result left you feeling humiliated and full of regret? And to make matters worse, the regret led to unjust anger and irritation with others. Sound human, east of Eden?
Well, Hagar is exiled by Sarai. It’s not too hard to imagine what it is like to be Hagar in the wilderness. She’s been sinned against, suffering a deep injustice. She has also not responded well, having treated Sarai with contempt. This is the aftermath of conflict. Separated parties. Bleeding hearts. Hagar is stuck in the heat of the wilderness, alone and pregnant, trapped by the sin of others. She’s either going to die in the desert or be taken in by some unknown man who may find her at the spring. It is dark place to be.
Rather than an unknown man rescuing her, the angel of the Lord finds Hagar by a spring in the wilderness. This is God’s kindness to an Egyptian servant! What happens next? The angel of the Lord declares that she will have a son, Ishmael. She will have a multitude of offspring. She is given an Eden like blessing!
That is the story of El Roi, the God who sees me. For Hagar says, “Truly, I have seen here, the God who looks after me.”
Take some time this week to meditate on the God who sees and looks after me. For we Christians can say the same thing as Hagar, as those sinned against, as those who have sinned against others, “Truly I have seen here, the God who looks after me.” Where have I seen this God?
Hanging from a tree, crucified in love for you. (See Galatians 3:1) And as Jesus said, “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water,” referring to the Holy Spirit’s presence with you. You are not alone in the wilderness of sin and suffering. He brings the springs of the water of life to you. For God sees you wherever you go! For as the Psalmist prayed, “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Your thoughts of me are more than the grains of the sand!” (Psalm 139)
This is a great passage of hope for those who have been sinned against. Who is God calling you to see and pay attention to?