El-Roi, the God Who Sees

People often talk about trying to get God’s perspective on life.  Is that really possible? How can a mortal understand immortality? How can a scarred sinner understand absolute perfection? It’s a good statement and a thoughtful idea, but it really is beyond our capabilities. The reality of this fact hit me once again as we flew to South Dakota.

I LOVE to fly! It is exhilarating to me. I have no fear of it, even though this trip was filled with LOTS of turbulence. I did consider what it might be like to go down in a plane.  Honestly, it may be the most painless, fastest accident imaginable. Enough of that!!

But as I sat there staring out the window, watching the little boxes we call houses drift by, tracing the paths of rivers and streams, leaving the shores of Lake Michigan, and watching the waves and water, I realized just how small we are—and that’s just from the window of a plane a few hundred feet up in the air! Can you imagine what God must see? What He knows?

Each of those houses represented a family or group of people who were living on planet earth. They have duties and desires, dreams and disappointments, just like you and me. AND GOD SEES THEM ALL! As the pastor’s wife of a very small congregation, I can get overwhelmed with the cares and personal needs of our people. If I didn’t hand them all over to God, I would come apart at the seams. And yet, we serve a wonderful God who not only sees but cares for each of us. That’s beyond my comprehension!

When Hagar was “with child,” Sarai was pretty harsh, causing Hagar to flee to the wilderness.  We don’t know much about Hagar. She was from Egypt. She was Sarai’s maid. Sarai either trusted her enough or was desperate enough to give her to Abram. God trusted her enough to allow her to conceive, and loved her enough to rescue her and Ishmael from death, as well as promise a great nation to him.

And it is during this time of great trial that Hagar gives us this wonderful name for God: El-Roi—You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees.

Then she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees; for she said, “Have I also here seen Him who sees me?” Genesis 21:13 (NKJV)

Does it make a difference in your life, knowing that God sees you? Is it comforting or frightening? I suppose it should be a little of both! The comfort comes when we are in a bad place—when we are alone, feeling like no one understands. Those are the moments when we find sweet fellowship with our dear Abba, Father. But there are times when the omniscient, omnipotent, almighty Creator-God can overwhelm us with a sense of fear—the fear that is a reverential trust. AND, there may be times of disobedience when the fear of knowing that God knows and sees all kicks in.

When I was a teen, I remember one time when my father stepped in to correct my ways. I really wasn’t doing anything wrong, at least not in my eyes. I was sitting along the road in front of our house with a young man. Now, we had a long front yard which sloped down to the road, which wasn’t very busy, especially at night. I think it was more of the precedent of the situation than anything. But I can still remember that stern voice calling my name and the long silent walk up the driveway. My dad didn’t often say much to us as far as correction and he never raised his voice, but when he spoke, we listened!

God sees, God protects, God corrects—and it is all because of His unconditional love—which is yet another attribute of God’s perspective that we cannot grasp.  Aren’t you glad that our God is “past finding out”?

Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! Romans 11:33 (NKJV)


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