Genesis 16:7-13 the El Roi


How many people do you let see the real you – the “you” that is haggard with heartbreak, that is broken from bullying, from abuse, from being unwanted, or told you’re not good enough? The “you” with shattered dreams, failures, or feelings of inadequacy?


When we are at our most vulnerable, we both figuratively and literally hide – we hide the pain that cuts so deeply, we hide ourselves so that no one sees. We cover the pain with a smile and bury it so deep that no one finds it.


Maybe… you want to be seen… but no one is looking.

There is a God who SEES.

Go read Genesis 16. Hagar is Sarah’s servant who is forced to lay with Abraham to conceive an heir. She conceives, but Sarah is so jealous that she deals harshly with her and Hagar flees.

In Gen 16:7, it says that “the angel of the LORD found her (Hagar) by a spring of water in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur.” There is speculation that this “angel of the LORD” is actually a theophany – a preincarnation of Jesus Christ – because of her words in 16:13b. I don’t know if it is or not, but I LOVE the idea of it. Did you notice the word in bold? The angel found Hagar. Know this, God knew without a doubt exactly where Hagar was, but He intentionally sought her out. He went to find her; to meet her in her fear and abuse from Sarah. Hagar had no choice but to lay with Abraham, had no choice upon her pregnancy, of her mistress’ plan; but when she becomes pregnant, she is dealt with so harshly that she fears for her life enough to flee her masters. I can only imagine the kind of fear that an unmarried, pregnant, runaway servant girl would have to run from her master’s household and brave the desert alone. But there is a God who saw her in her fear, in her heartbreak, in her emotional and physical anguish and sought her out.

This in itself is so beautiful to my heart, and I hope, to yours. We serve a God that seeks us out in our times of need. He knows all our steps in life, but when we need Him, He seeks to draw near. O Beloved, hear this today. When you are at your most vulnerable, your most needy, know that He has sought you out; simply listen for His whisper, feel His presence, and allow His incredible peace and love wash over you.

The angel asks Hagar where she came from and where she is going and Hagar tells her story to him (v8)

Love, when you are hurting so deeply with no one to turn to – cry out your sorrows on the One who seeks you out. Tell Him all your hurts, cry upon His shoulder; you will find no better listener or comforter than the El Roi.

The angel then tells Hagar to return and submit to Sarah and that her offspring will be multiplied so that they cannot be numbered (16:10), and then prophesied over the life of her son (vv11-12). Hagar responds with the words of our hearts:

“so she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, ‘You are a God of seeing,’ for she said, ‘Truly here I have seen him who looks after me (v13).'”

Hagar is the only person in the Old Testament to give God a name; a lowly Egyptian servant girl is the only one to give God a name – and such a beautiful one it is: the El Roi: the God of Seeing. God is the one and only who truly sees us; He sees us for who we are – our joys, our hopes, our dreams, our loves, our passions, our failures, our shame, our guilt, our heartbreak, our betrayals, our abuse.

He Sees.

In the direct Hebrew translation, she asks, “Have I really seen the back of Him who sees me?” Can’t you hear the incredulous wonder in her voice? Hear the wonder that God of the universe, of all creation, would see her plight, seek her out, and bless her with peace and prophecy of her offspring. Her words indicate that she has seen the back of God himself (evidence of a possible theophany), and he is the one who looks after her.

We serve a God who sees when no one else cares to look; one who seeks us out when we are hurting or troubled; one who blesses us through our heartbreak. Like Hagar, sometimes we turn inward and run to hide our pain from the world, but we cannot hide it from the One who loves us most. Not only does He see it, but He draws near to comfort and replace the pain with peace and joy. Turn to Him, spill your sorrows on His shoulder and hear His whisper of comfort.He is the perfect healer and He sees you.

3 thoughts on “Genesis 16:7-13 the El Roi

  1. I love this passage of scripture. The idea of God seeking me out and finding me wherever I am has been a security blanket for me. Thanks for sharing.


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