Bible in a Year – Genesis 16 – El-roi

“The God who sees”

That is the name an enslaved woman in the book of Genesis named Hagar gives to God. In Hebrew, it is “El-roi”- The God who sees. This is also the first time in the Bible that someone gives God a name. And it comes from a woman who is enslaved, rejected, and oppressed.

When I was reading up on Hagar, I came across a blogger named Kay Bonikowski who connected this story to teachings by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 6 – Three times Jesus speaks of God seeing what is done in secret – praying, fasting, and giving. Ms Bonikowski wrote,

Inspired by her personal encounter with God and her own experience of being marginalized, Hagar teaches others about God’s perception. Perhaps this was comforting to her, because she knew God was aware of all things done to her hidden from the sight of others. As Jesus confirmed thousands of years later, “God who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. (Matthew 6:4)”.

Here’s the thing about this connection. The story of Hagar and this section of the sermon on the Mount were both a part of my readings for today. And my meditation podcast earlier reflected on being open to the moments of serendipity that will come around in our lives. A moment like this?

So today, on my heart are all who feel they are unseen or forgotten. All who work in jobs others take for granted. All like Hagar who are enslaved, oppressed, and rejected. All who feel that no one cares. 

Never forget the first name given to God in the Bible. 

Never forget the woman who gave God that name. 

Never forget you are not unseen. 

Remember the name.

The God who sees.


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