El – Roi: The God Who Sees Me
Today, we will glean from the life of a woman named Hagar. From this story we will learn that no matter the circumstances, God will not leave us without hope. God will make something beautiful out of our lives when we put our trust in El Roi, the God who sees us.
In (Genesis Chapter 16) Hagar is introduced as Sarah’s Egyptian slave-girl. There are no details about the path that led to Hagar’s bondage in Egypt. However, (Genesis 12:16) gives us a clue of how Abraham and Sarah acquired Hagar as a servant in their household.
In this story, Sarah solicited Hagar in her plan to conceive an heir for Abraham. In the ancient world it was not uncommon for an infertile wife to arrange for a slave girl to sleep with her husband so that the family could have an heir. Abraham and Sarah had many servants. Any slave-girls could have done the job well. However, God’s divine providence was at work. Hagar would give birth to a nation.
For a while, all was going well for Hagar. Hagar had a prominent position as Sarah’s personal attendant. However, once Hagar conceived, she was not content with her lot as a slave. Hagar rebelled and conflict arose between Hagar and Sarah. With Abram’s blessing, Sarah re-asserted her position of power over Hagar.
Hagar reached her breaking point. She fled into the wilderness. Discontent, discouraged, distressed, and despondent, Hagar wept bitterly near an unnamed well. God saw Hagar and offered hope to her and her unborn child. God heard Hagar’s cry. There, beside the well, Hagar called on the name of God, “…El Roi: You are the God who sees me… I have now seen the One who sees me.” (Genesis 16:13-14)
As a woman of color, I can relate to Hagar’s experiences. I have often been marginalized. When I have put my best foot forward, I have felt the sting of rejection by being relegated to stereotypical roles that fit others hurtful opinions of me.
Like Hagar, when my heart is overwhelmed, I run to El Roi: The God who sees me. I scream out to God in tears until He caresses my soul and takes away the sting. I cry out to God until I can sing again, laugh again, and love again. I remain in God’s presence until my perception of the situation changes and once again I see myself as El Roi sees me: Strong, confident, beautiful, and capable.
Beloveds, if your present circumstance is full of pain and your future is full of uncertainty, I urge you run into the presence of El Roi (the God who sees you) and remain there until He makes you whole again.
Where Have You Come From?
In (Genesis 16:8), God asked Hagar, “Where have you come from and where are you going?” God’s question to Hagar had little to do about the logistics of her journey from Abraham’s household to this well in the wilderness.
There is always a story behind pain. God was concerned about what troubled Hagar. God is concerned about what troubles you. God sees our tears and He wants us to bring our troubles to Him.
God gives beauty for ashes. God transforms lives. In the midst of hopelessness and desperation, God saw Hagar. God sees you. God sees me. God promises to never leave nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5) and to work all things out for our good (Roman’s 8:28).
Where Are You Going?
“I’m running away from my mistress, Sarai,” she replied.”
God knew that Hagar’s destiny was to be more than a lowly slave-girl. Hagar would become the mother of the Arab people. God gave Hagar instructions to return to Abraham and Sarah. Running away from our problems is not the answer. God wants to bring us through difficult circumstances. God did not abandon Hagar into the fate of captivity. God profoundly valued Hagar and her child. God had a plan for their lives (Gen. 16:9).
“Beloved, likewise God has a plan for your life. It doesn’t matter what the doctors say, lawyer say, boss’ say, he say, she say, or they say, God will always have the final say.
We can submit ourselves to the will of God, knowing that God is in control. God has our best interest at heart. God will always protect His investment in us. As Hagar submitted herself to human authority, she ultimately submitted herself in the hands of ALMIGHTY GOD.”
“You shall name him Ishmael [meaning “God hears”], for the Lord has heard of your misery. He will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers.”
There, in the wilderness, Hagar called upon the name of God. God reshaped her identity and the perspective of her circumstance. Hagar was longer just a slave, but an heir to God’s promise.
When Hagar’s hope was lost, God visited her and revealed her destiny. Hope is the confident expectation that what God promises will come to pass.
“Without hope we have no purpose. Without purpose we have no hope.”
Every person has a destiny to fulfill. Every life is significant. God ordained the purpose for our lives before we were even born (Psalms 139:19). Hagar’s purpose was to bring forth a powerful nation. Every nation has a divine purpose to fulfill. In (Gen. 16:11–12) God describes Ishmael’s role among the nations. Ishmael and his descendants would become a force to reckon with. Ishmael would become the patriarch of the Arab people.
God blessed the birth of Ishmael and promised Hagar that her descendants would have a prosperous future. God kept his promise to Hagar. Today, the Arab nations are among the wealthiest nations in the world.
“God loves the Arab people. God loves the nations. Ethnicity is God’s creativity. Increasingly, Yeshua Messiah, (better known as Isa in the Arab world) is revealing Himself in dreams and visions to the Arab people. The population of Arab Christians is growing throughout the world. God desires to bring redemption to the entire world.”
For fourteen years the household of Sarah and Abraham offered peace and provisions for Hagar and Ishmael to thrive. Abraham, circumcised Ishmael, ensuring that the boy bore the sign of Yahweh’s covenant. Growing up under Abraham’s supervision, Ishmael knew Yahweh. However, the birth of Isaac complicated matters for Hagar and Ishmael.
“This polygamous family drama finally reached its breaking point (Gen. 21:10). Abraham expels Hagar and Ishmael from the household. Thus the conflict that plagues the Middle-East begins….”
Cast-out into the wilderness, Hagar and Ishmael are abandoned. This time there is no well; only dry sand. The sun burns hot, and the water runs out. Hagar leaves her son by a bush. Hagar couldn’t bear to watch Ishmael die, so she walked a short distance away to mourn. But once again, God sees Hagar and comforts her.
“Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying… Lift the boy up and take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation.”
God opened Hagar’s eyes, and she saw a well of water. Both mother and child survived. In an act of splendid redemption, God reiterated His promise to bless Hagar’s descendants.
“As for Ishmael, I have heard you. See, I have blessed him and I will make him fruitful, and I will multiply him very very much. He will father twelve princes and I will make him a great nation.”
In the midst of profound despair, when all hope was lost, God saw Hagar and kept His promise. God loved Hagar and Ishmael. To man, Hagar was insignificant – a slave. To God, Hagar would fulfill a unique purpose as the QUEEN MOTHER of the Arab world.
“Then Peter opened his mouth and said, “I truly understand that God is not one to show favoritism, but in every nation the one who fears Him and does what is right is acceptable to Him.”
God Sees You
The revelation in this story is not merely that God sees. The revelation is, God wants you to see that He sees you. Ultimately, Hagar’s story is more than the story of a slave and her son. This is a story of the divine providence of God. Not only does God see us – God guides us into our destiny. God guides us like a shepherd guides His flock (Jeremiah 29:11) and (Isaiah 40:11).
Beloveds God sees you. God calls you by name. God walks the winding path of recovery with you. Your struggles are not in vain. God never ends a story without bringing back His glory. The same God who saw Hagar in her distress also sees you.
Today, there remains a bitter-root between the descendants of Isaac and Ishmael (Muslims and Jews). This is a bitter root that only God can heal. The conflict between the two brothers have resulted in violent hatred that has lasted for centuries.
“Perhaps in God’s divine plan, He will use this scenario to bring about divine redemption to the descendants of Ishmael, Isaac, and to the world. One day Ishmael and Isaac will love one another as brothers.”
In this fallen world, many fall prey to offense, and rather than following after peace, we ruminate over offenses. Bitterness begins as a seed, takes root over time, and eventually springs forth into full-blown defilement that affects every aspect of our lives, families, and communities.
Turning Bitter Waters Sweet
I am so blessed to have many Arab subscribers. Thank you for reading my blog. I love you. God loves you. You are valuable to God. God sees you. God sees your pain. Turning your hurts over to God does not dismiss the hurt. Turning your hurts over to God frees you from the responsibility of bearing the pain. Vengeance belongs to God (Romans 12:19). We miss God when we seek revenge. God will make up the difference in our lives.
We can not be the judge, the jury, and the executioner. We must leave things to God. The Bible tells us that we do not have a right to harbor our pain. We don’t have a right to walk in unforgiveness (Matthew 18:21-22). If we remain in God’s presence, He will bring us to a place of lasting peace (Isaiah 53:5).
May God bless you as He blessed Hagar. May the eyes of God always be upon you.
“By God’s grace we can live a life without bitterness. We cannot change the way others behave. But we can change the way we respond. Here are some helpful tips in how to root-out bitterness in our lives…”
Walk In Gods Grace
Choose to Forgive
“Bearing with one another and forgiving each other, if anyone has a grievance against another. Just as the Lord pardoned you, so also you must pardon others.”
Respond In With Love
1 Peter 4:8:
“Above all, keep your love for one another constant, for “love covers a multitude of sins.”
Do NOT React
“…For human anger doesn’t produce the righteousness of God.”
Documentary – Better Friends Than Mountains (Part 1 and Part 2)