Day 8 God is Omnipresent
El-Roi: the God Who Sees Me
She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her [El-roi]: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.’ - Genesis 16:13
Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. - Psalm 139:7-8
Depending on the translation you read, Hagar is referred to in multiple ways at the beginning of Genesis 16 -- servant, maid, concubine-- but never by name. It is not until she runs away that an angel of the Lord finds her in the desert and calls her by name. After hearing from the angel, she names the Lord “El-roi,” the God who sees me. Hagar, the one who had previously been called only by her status, now becomes the first person in the Bible to give God a name. What Hagar discovered in the desert that day is what David would later proclaim in Psalm 139: no matter where we go, no matter where we flee to, or how hard life gets, we serve a God who sees us. We serve a God who knows us and calls us by name. Not only that, we serve a God who loves us so dearly that He lets us name Him in return. In Zulu, the word for hello is “Sawubona,” which directly translated means “we see you,” and is used as a way to acknowledge, recognize, and bring each other into existence. Perhaps you’re starting off this year in a place of joy, or perhaps you find yourself fleeing to the desert. No matter your circumstance, God sees you and greets you. Sawubona.
Suggested Guided Prayer Focus:
- El-Roi, help me to see that You are the God who sees me and you call me by name. (Pause, listen, and reflect on the ways that God has made you feel seen and known. Write these down in a journal)
- Look up the names for God used in the Old Testament. Come up with your own names that characterize your relationship with God. Write down one name, carry it with you, and reflect on it throughout the day.
- Read through all of Psalm 139 and highlight or write down phrases that jump out to you.
This part stood out to me. "I have now seen the One who sees me." Genesis 16:13, NIV. And NLT, "She also said, "Have I truly seen the One who sees me?"
May we truly see, know, and trust the One who truly sees, knows, and loves us everyday - that we wholeheartedly say yes to the question Hagar asked and we ask ourselves.