THE GOD WHO SEES-EL ROI
By Donna Rude
THE GOD WHO HEARS-ELOHIM SHAMA
Christo Redentor as it is known in portugese, but most of the world knows this statue as “ Christ the Redeemer”. It was built in 1931, designed by a French sculpture and built by a Brazilian engineer. It is made of concrete and outer layer is made of soapstone to withstand the harsh weather. Its weighs over 635 tons. It stands 120 ft high and 98 ft wide. It sits 2000 ft above the city of Rio de Janiero, Brazil. It took 9 years to complete. It was named one of the new 7 wonders of the world in 2007. This massive sculpture of Jesus Christ is visible day and night from almost anywhere in the city. Now, You may be wondering…why is she giving us all these facts on this statue???
Because as comforting as this humongous, manmade sculpture is, it may have eyes… but it cannot see, it may have ears,…but it cannot hear . Praise be to God that we have a much greater comforter, The Lord Jesus himself who does see us and does hear us no matter where we are. Amen??
When I picked the name El Roi- the God who sees to do this study, as a dove in, I realized especially in the context of scripture we will be studying, I needed to tie in another “name of God”, Elohim Shama-the God who hears.
Lets turn to the Word of God and see where we get these 2 names from and how we can apply them to our lives. Along the way, I cannot hold back stressing also the importance of submission and obedience to God. His comfort and our obedience, They all tie in together. GENISIS 16
Read whole chapter, but focus on 2nd half of chap 16
Hagar felt in despair, hopeless, weary, alone, a woman in male dominated culture, pregnant, rejected, cast out after being used, surely feeling that no one cared for her , no one understands her.
Sound familiar?? I think many of us can relate to Hagar in a circumstance or 2 in our lives. Previously or present. I know I have. During this time, Satan starts throwing his "flaming arrows", and we can allow them to penetrate our mind. We can feel as Hagar…in despair, hopeless weary, alone, rejected, even discouraged, forgotten, invisible, unappreciated. So what do we do??? Sometimes, like Hagar, we flee. We run back to what is familiar and comfortable to us. The ways of the world. We run rather than turn to God, submit to God and trust Him. We forget that God sees and hears all that we do and say.
Hagar was running back home to Egypt to which she was familiar and to which what was comfortable to her .
In our text, verse 6, It states that “Sarai dealt harshly with her and she fled from her presence.”
This same Hebrew verb ("dealt harshly") describes the same condition of the children of Israel in slavery under the heavy hand of the Egyptian taskmasters. Hagars solution was to run away from the problem. This is a tactic we all have learned from the beginning of time, from the time Adam and Eve in Gen 3:8 when they hid from the Lord after eating the forbidden fruit.
Hagar could flee from the presence of Sarai, but she couldn’t flee from the presence of the Lord. We can try to run from difficult circumstances, but you can’t hide from the God. Even David wrote in psalm 139 Where can I go from Your Spirit? Where can I flee from Your presence?? Where ever I go, You are there!!
Even though Hagar was Egyptian, she knew about Abram’s God, the living and true God. She was Sarais maidservant and therefore observed Sarais and Abrams way of life.
Verse 7 ,”now the Angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water. Did you catch that?? The angel of the Lord found her. What a beautiful picture of our compassionate God, who is concerned even for this poor, confused servant girl! He found her. The Good Shepherd went looking for her. Our God is a seeking God.
We may think that we found Him, but the reality is, He found us. We were lost and confused, wandering away from Him. He came looking and found us! If you know Christ as Savior, you realize that The Son of Man did not come to seek and to save those who needed a little help, scripture tells us, He came to seek and to save those who are lost (Luke 19:10)!
It is our sinful pride that keeps us from seeing our true condition: We are lost! We must own up to that fact. But the good news is, no one, not even a lowly Egyptian servant girl, is too lost in God’s sight. The angel of the Lord found her, Where??? in the The wilderness. If this is the place we need to be to encounter God, hear from God, so be it!! It can be a place that we begin to understand His tender mercies and covenant love for you through His son Jesus Christ.
Verse 8,” and He said, Hagar”… The Lord knows Hagar’s name. I love this, makes it personal and real. He is so aquanted with us, better than we know ourselves. Songs pop in my head all the time. As I was writing this, this song came to mind….
Sing He knows my name…
Cont vs 8. The Lord said, “Hagar, Sarais maid, where have you come from and where are you going??”
He also knew her vocation and her predicament in life, yet He asks her where she has come from and where she is going.
Wherever in the Bible you find God asking a question, you can know that He is not looking for information. He knows all things! 1John 3:20. Even In Gen 3 He asks adam and eve, “where are you, who told you that you are naked? Have you eaten from the tree which I commanded you that you should not eat? The Lord knew… He wants the person to think about the situation. The Lord wanted Hagar to think about two things: Where have you come from? and, Where are you going? She had come from being Sarai’s maid. As such, she was not free to flee from her duty. Where was she going? Back to Egypt. Where she thought life would be easier. But, clearly, she wasn’t seeking after the Lord and His will.
When we are in difficult situations these are good questions to ask ourselves.
-Where have you come from? Remember , if you are in Christ, you are a new creation, old things have passed away. 2 cor 5:17
-Did God allow that trial for some reason? Remember… count it all joy when you fall into various trials, he is perfecting you, perfect and complete for His purposes. James 1:2
-Where are you going? Remember, we are to forget those things which are behind and reach forward to those things that are ahead, we are to press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Phil 4:13
Does God truly see our afflictions….Yes He does, He is El Roi, the God who sees.
Does God truly hear our cries…Yes He does, He is Elohim Shama, The God who hears.
In Exodus 3:7
The LORD said, "I have surely SEEN the affliction of My people who are in Egypt and HAVE GIVEN HEED TO THEIR CRY because of their taskmasters for I AM AWARE (Hebrew means "intimately acquainted with) of their sufferings.
“For the ways of a man are before the EYES of the LORD and He watches ALL his paths”.
There is no hiding from El Roi Who watches over you, seeing and knowing all that happens, and "He is able to come to the aid of those who are being tempted, tested, or tried.
Take comfort in 1 cor 10:13
No temptation has overtaken you except such as in common to man, but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
I like what Warren Weirsbe says in times of testing, we should not ask “HOW can I get out of this, but WHAT can I get out of this.”
So many times once the trial is over, it may take days, weeks, months, even years, but once He has seen you through, you become aware of the purpose of the trial. Molding and shaping you and me into WHO and He wants us to be, and to exhibit his attributes.
Verse 9 -10“ The angel of the Lord said to her, “return to your mistress and submit yourself under her hand AND THEN I will multilply your descendants exdeedingly.”
Our human nature doesn’t like to be told what to do, submission doesn’t come easily. We want to say, Give me the blessing first, then I’ll submit.” But God’s way is, submit first; then He will bless. Obedience always comes before blessing.
The Lord knows our real need in a trial and that is to learn to submit to Him. . And we don’t learn to submit to Him by running from the situation.” We can defend ourselves by telling God, “But You don’t understand!”? But guess what…He does understand and knows what is best for you. He cares for you; don’t doubt His love.
This is a tough one, but there are lessons which our rebellious nature cannot learn EXCEPT by submitting to God in trials, even when we’re being treated wrongly or unfairly. As He knew what was best for Hagar, He said to her, “Return to your mistress, and submit yourself to her authority.”
Lets jump down to verse 11
In verse 11 He told her to “ call his name Ishmael, because the Lord has heard your affliction. “ Elohim Shama. The God who hears. The name Ishmael means “God hears”. This verse says that the Lord heard her affliction, doesn’t necessarily mean she cried out to God, We serve a God that hears everything and sees everything that is going on! What peace and comfort there is in that! But scary at the same time!! That’s a whole nother BS.
So, When life becomes too painful to bear, we can find strength in remembering what Hagar discovered. The Lord is “the God who sees me.” When we understand that the Lord is aware of our pain and need, our strength will be renewed. God not only sees us, He sees the future. He promised Hagar a future for her unborn son Ishmael. We too have hope for tomorrow, whatever our pain is today.
Verse 13 , “then she called the name of LORD who spoke to her, You are the God who sees, for she said, Have I also here seen Him who sees me?
Remember…The wilderness is not a bad place to be, if IN that place you hear God,
Hagar wouldn’t have seen the Lord if it hadn’t been for her trial, her wilderness experience. God often uses trials to open us up to some fresh vision of Him which we would have missed if we hadn’t been in the difficult situation.
I love the line from Evan almighty when Morgan Freeman is playing a waiter and says, if someone prays for patience, do you think God gives them patience or does God give them the opportunity to be patient.
If someone prays for courage, does God give them courage or does God give them an opportunity to be courageous?? Something to think about…
“Hagar called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, ‘You are a God who sees’” . El Roi… Not only does God see, but even better, God sees me personally, and in spite of my confusion and rebellion, He lets me get a glimpse of Him!
When we are being disobedient to the Lord, as Hagar was disobedient when she fled Sarai, Satan can use that to make us think that this is a permanent road for the rest of our lives; but this is a lie.
A promise of God is that if we can confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive is our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9. Yes, there will be pain and need to live with some consequences, but God’s grace will overcome in the end. We are more than conquerors through Him who loves us. Romans 9:37
John courson writes, as believers in this world, we do not fight FOR victory, but rather FROM victory.
Even if you've brought some of this trouble upon yourself through your foolish decisions, He still cares! Remember…He knows you, knows you by name!!
He knows where you've come from and where you are going . But thankfully as we seek Him, He doesn’t let us go. He will lead us in the way we are go to. It’s a promise…Isaiah 48:17
Hagar here has an encounter with God, Paul had an encounter with God on the Road to Damascus.
Be encouraged by this… remember that in your most painful trial you too may have your most intimate and personal encounter with God.
Hagar's wilderness experience brought her face-to-face with God and taught her that the "I AM" is the living God who SEES her trials and HEARS her cry when she was hurt.
He is a personal God, He is concerned with what is going on in the world, about abused people, unborn babies, terrorist threats, rebellious children, the hungry, the poor, the naked. He knows about YOUR past MY past, for He is El Roi…
The God who sees…
He knows all the abuse you may have encountered, the feeling of abandonment from your parents or spouse , the mistakes you have made, He knows the pain you've felt from all circumstances.
Psalm 121 gives a clear , comforting picture of El Roi, …read psalm 121.
He sees our future and cares for those who will trust in Him.
I like the story that Dr. James Dobson tells of a time when he watched his daughter’s pet hamster trying to gnaw its way out of its cage to what, no doubt, looked to the hamster like freedom. But Dobson saw what the hamster did not… the family’s pet dog, watching expectantly from a few feet away. If the hamster had worked its way free, it would have met sudden death. The cage was really its protection and blessing.
We’re often like that pet hamster. We try to break free from some confinement or trial that we are in, thinking that if only we could get out of the circumstances we are in, then we could really live. But God sees that our real need is to submit to Him in the trial.
Hagar may have suffered greatly or even perished if she had continued her flight into the wilderness. God often mercifully checks us in our disobedience to prevent us from even greater damage. The way of obedience is hard, but the way of disobedience is even more difficult.
As I was studying for this I read a writer say, “it was better for Hagar to be associated with Abram and Sarai, even with Sarai’s harshness, than with her native Egyptians, who worshiped false gods.
He goes on to say “It’s better for you to be in a local bible believing church, with all the imperfect people and their faults, than to be in the world, where God is not known.”
Hagar was fearful, its our human nature to be fearful. Did you know that in the bible, God says "do not fear" or, "fear not" 365 times. Amazing…Theres a verse of “do not fear” for everyday of the year!! If we read one each day, im sure it would help us trust Him more! Im thankful He knows our weaknesses!! He knows our human nature is to be fearful and to worry.
Possibly share my fear…
Even his disciples as they were crossing the Sea of Galilee a windstorm arose and the waves beat into the boat so that it was already filling up with water. Jesus was asleep on a pillow and they awoke him, and said, “teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?
Havent we all asked that question to the Lord?? Do you not care Lord??? Jesus spoke the words, Peace, be still” and the wind ceased. We may not have Jesus physically to awaken him, but we have Him better yet. We have Him with us at all times, plus we have His promises in the Word of God. The more we read His word and His promises they get imbedded in our hearts and minds and we can recall them and hold on to them. If we submit to Him, and trust Him, He will instruct us and teach us in the way which we are to go. His promise is that He will counsel us with His eye upon us. Psalms 32:8
This song came to mind also…the lyrics read…
Why should I feel discouraged and why should the shadows come?
Why should my heart be lonely and long for heaven and home?
When Jesus is my portion, a constant Friend is He,
His eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches me.
Let not your heart be troubled; these tender words I hear;
And resting on his goodness I lose my doubts and fears;
Though by the path He leadeth but one step I may see;
His eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches me.
Whenever I am tempted; whenever clouds arise;
When songs give place to sighing; when hope within me dies;
I draw the closer to Him; from care He sets me free;
His eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches me.
Praise be to God…His eye is on you and me!!
Isaac Watts said, “As believers we should love the comforting attribute of God's omnipresence,” He wrote so poetically...
Within thy circling power I stand;
On every side I find Thy hand;
Awake, asleep, at home, abroad,
I am surrounded still with God.
I can keep quoting more and more songs and authors, but what is most important is what God says…
-The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous And His ears are open to their cry.
-The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
-The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth.
-The Lord looks from heaven He sees all the sons of men. From the place of His dwelling He looks on all the inhabitants of the earth.
His Word can give us all that we need in times of trouble for comfort. The psalms are full of them.
So What do we do when find oourselves in "Hagar" like circumstances?
Maybe you’re in a season of feeling like God is deaf to your cries, blind to your circumstances, or unable to keep His promise. Maybe you’ve wondered if God is just cruel and unwilling to listen or care. Read Hagar’s story again and take a moment in quiet to receive the beautiful truth that El Roi sees you, that Elohim Shama hears you,….cares about you, and will provide.
The story of Hagar….We see a woman who begins with wandering and ends in worship.