“Hello….My Name is El Roi.”
For the past few months I have been studying and learning some of the different names of God. It has been amazing to see how every different name of God reveals something so awesome about the character of God.
I ran into an interesting name of God in my morning devotion last week while reading about the story of Hagar in Genesis 16. Genesis 16:13 says,
So she named the Lord who spoke to her: “You are El-roi,”[f] for she said, “In this place, have I actually seen the one who sees me?
El Roi can be translated as the God who see’s. In order to understand why Hagar calling God El Roi is so powerful, let give you a little context.
I don’t know if you have ever felt in a place like God abandoned you. Maybe in a place where you feel forgotten? Maybe in a place where you have been stuck asking the question, “God,where are you in all of this?” In short, you find yourself in a place you didn’t expect to be in. I know I sure have.
This is how Hagar must have felt as she was running from Sarai in Genesis 16. You may know the story. Abram and Sarai are having a hard time getting pregnant, so Sarai tells Abram to go get the servant girl Hagar and have a child with her. So Abram says, “OK!” So he calls the servant girl Hagar and within a moment she goes from a servant of Abram to a wife of Abram. She gets pregnant and Sarai now starts looking at her differently and starts treating Hagar so badly that she runs away.
This is where we find Hagar in Genesis 16. On the run from Sarai…pregnant….all alone. She had to have know about God being in Abraham’s home, but I’m not sure if she really knew God quite yet. She must have wondered if God really cared about her situation. If God really cared about her. If God really saw her. And it’s in this place of where we read in Genesis 16:7 CSB.
The angel of the Lord found her by a spring in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur.
Let me give you some good news & some tough news we learn from the story of Hagar:
The good news is that our God is a seeking God!
She was running and the angel of the Lord found her. Let us never forget that we serve a God who is a seeking God! Hagar could try to run from Sarai, but she couldn’t outrun the presence of God.
So that’s the good news. Now the tough news…
The tough news is that submission comes before God’s blessing.
In other words obedience comes before blessing. The angel of the Lord shows up and gives Hagar some very interesting instructions.
“The angel of the Lord said to her, “Go back to your mistress and submit to her authority.” 9 The angel of the Lord said to her, “Go back to your mistress and submit to her authority.” The angel of the Lord said to her, “I will greatly multiply your offspring, and they will be too many to count.”
Genesis 16:9-10 CSB
God says go back to Sarai, submit, and then I will bless you. I read this and was so confused. Why in the world would God tell Hagar to go back to a place where she was being mistreated and SUBMIT. Well, maybe just maybe God knew that the direction Hagar was headed in was going to cause her more harm than good. Maybe he knew that she couldn’t make it through. Maybe God, the God who see’s, knew that it was better for Hagar to be in a God fearing home rather than to return to her homeland of Egypt where everyone worshipped false Gods. Maybe God does really know better than we do!
God tells Hagar to go back and submit. We don’t like that word submission in America. The idea of purposely giving up control over a situation and give someone authority over my life?! Yeah right! A great lesson we learn from Hagar though is this:
“Before you can submit to the people AROUND YOU, you need to submit to what God is doing where He has placed YOU.”
God tells Hagar go back to where you came from. That He was not finished with what He was doing in you there yet. What a reminder that the God who made us knows our greatest need in the time of a trial is to learn to submit to His ways.
I found this in a commentary from Steven J. Cole and though it was so good:
“Some people never grow in the Lord because they have a habit of running from difficult situations where He has put them for their training. They had problems with their parents as teenagers, so they rebelled. They get a job and have problems, so they quit. They get married and have conflict, so they walk away from it. They seek counseling, but they don’t like what the counselor tells them, so they either quit or else look for a counselor who agrees with them. They join a church, but can’t get along with the people or don’t like something, so they find another church. But guess what? They discover that the new church has the same problems.”
One of the toughest realities I have learned over the past five years is that if God wanted you to be somewhere else you would be. If He wanted you to be done with a situation you would be done with it. I mean, think about it, He’s the same God who shut the mouths of the lions in the lions den. Don’t you think He can pull you out of a situation if He wanted to? I’m not saying that God causes everything, but nothing happens that catches Him off guard or that is out of His eyesight. After all, He is the God who See’s & the God who see’s all is the God who See’s you!
It was after Hagar submitted to God’s plan that she declared
“So she named the Lord who spoke to her: “You are El-roi,”[f] for she said, “In this place, have I actually seen the one who sees me?”
Genesis 16:13 CSB
It’s often in our greatest trials when we finally learn to submit to God’s greater plan that He will in turn reveal to us a little more about the greatness of Who He really is.
What is God calling you to submit to today
? What area of your life have you been trying to run from? What have you been trying to control? Will you submit to His purpose today