El Roi: the God Who Sees

I Call Him El Roi: the God Who Sees

Several years ago, someone blessed with me with the book, The Names of God by Lester Sumrall. Several names struck a chord but one in particular, El Roi, brought tears to my eyes. If you know the story of Hagar, maidservant of the Old Testament matriarch Sarah, you’ll remember how she ran away, pregnant, because the barren Sarah had treated her harshly after Hagar had become disrespectful. God found Hagar in the wilderness and he answered her unspoken prayer request with great compassion and a promise. Hence, she named God El Roi: the God who sees.

Nothing moves the heart of God like faith, yet His compassion is so great that He comes to the rescue of his children. And even when we are wayward, El Roi’s faithfulness covers us when we cry out to Him.

El Roi: the God Who Sees You

El Roi

Hagar named the Lord who spoke to her, “You are El Roi” because she said, “Can I still see after he saw me?” (Genesis 16.13, Common English Version)

Hagar had “seen” God and lived. But He saw her first. How often in life do we become discouraged and forget that, “The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right, and his ears are open to their prayers. But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil” (I Peter 3.12, NLT)? El Roi sees you! Even when it seems the darkest, He is a God of light! There is no place in your life that is too dark for God to see.

The name “El Roi” might not be comforting to those who are doing wrong, however. When I was little, we used to sing a song that went like this.

Oh be careful little eyes what you see

Oh be careful little eyes what you see

For the Father up above

Is looking down in love

Oh be careful little eyes what you see


The thought of God up above looking down was scary at times . . . especially when I was up to no good! I had forgotten the “looking down in love” part. Guilty people don’t want to think about El Roi: the God who sees.

El Roi is Full of Mercy

Later in Genesis 21, Hagar was given the boot because her son, Ishmael, was making fun of Sarah’s son Isaac. Sarah had had enough of this “baby mama drama” in her house, so she evicted Hagar. In the wilderness again, Hagar was out of resources and Ishmael was about to die of thirst. But El Roi, in His great mercy, looked down, saw her ailing son and provided for their needs.

Like you, I’ve gone through seasons of suffering in my life that have made me want to think, “Why bother?” In those moments, it’s good to know that we have a God who is full of mercy! Why don’t you try calling him El Roi this week? He is the God who sees you! He is El Roi, full of mercy.

Can you identify with God as El Roi? What is your favorite name for God? What does it mean to you? Your comments are always appreciated!

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