THE GOD WHO SEES (Names of God 5)

The Bible is full of obscure but interesting people.  One was a woman names Hagar. She may be unknown to most of us but she wasn’t to God.  Abraham acquired Hagar as a slave when he was in Egypt and she served his wife, Sarah.  When Sarah couldn’t conceive she suggested Abraham follow a custom of the times and have a child by her servant Hagar for the child would legally be Sarah’s anyway.  The whole story is recorded in genesis 16:1-16.

When Hagar got pregnant she became very unsubmissive to Sarah, even haughty and rude.  While there is not excuse for that behavior, we still have to feel sorry for a woman who had no rights, no property and no future.  She didn’t even own her own body but was just used to produce a baby for another.  Anyway, Abraham told Sarah she could do anything she wanted to her so Sarah abused Hagar.  Perhaps she might have even hoped she died. As a result, Hagar ran away to save her life.

While running God Himself, the angel of the Lord (Jesus before His birth) met her and reassured her she would be safe if she returned and she would have many descendants through her child.  Recognizing she was speaking to God Himself, she called Him El Roi, The God Who Sees.  The name of her son was to be Ishmael meaning “God hears.”  She was deeply moved that God saw her situation and knew what she was going through.  Her Egyptian gods of stone and wood weren’t even alive, but here was a God who cared so much about her that He sought her out, even though she was in the wrong in running away.

Recognizing that God “sees” means that He “knows” everything.  Saying God sees or hears is a way of attributing human characteristics to God so we can better understand Him.  These are called anthropomorphisms.  Clearly sovereign God is omniscient and knows all.  While this name for God is only used this one time in the Bible, this truth is repeated many times (Job 34:21; Psalm 33:18; 32:8; I Peter 3:12).  God sees, He knows and He cares because He loves.  That is why He watches us, not to catch us in sin but because we bring joy to His heart the way a parent loves watching their children at play.  Hagar was impressed God saw and cared for her because she was disobedient and rebellious, she was a Gentile slave, unmarried and pregnant, a female without worth in her culture, just property to be disposed of.  She was the exact opposite of the great Abraham, but God sought her out because He cared about her in her hopeless situation.

The Bible is full of hopeless cases where God saw and intervened: Jacob returning home, Joseph in prison, Moses at the Red Sea, the Jews in Egypt, Samson in prison, Hannah wanting a child, David hiding from Saul, Jonah in the fish, Daniel in the lions den and the Jews in Babylon are just some of them.  The best part is that He sees us in our need as well.  We may not think so, we may feel He doesn’t care or isn’t aware, but that is never the case.  He doesn’t’ do everything we want or bail us out of every difficult situation, but what good parent always does that for their child?

Of course, God sees us in our sin as well, for we can’t hide that from God either (Proverbs 15:3).  If there is something in our lives we want to hide then knowing He always sees us brings guilt, not comfort.  But if we are seeking to live for Him it can be very comforting and encouraging.  Even when others might not understand we know He does.  When we are misunderstood or accused of wrong motives He knows the truth.  When unfair things happen He is always aware.  If we don’t’ even know how to explain to Him what is happening, we can be confident He already knows the situation better than we do!  He is El Roi, The God Who Sees.



What difference should it make in your life today that God sees everything you do and knows all that is happening in your life?  How can that help you better “pray without ceasing” throughout the day?  Thank Him for seeing, knowing, caring and loving you so much He can’t take His eyes off you!


The root meaning of the name “Adonai” is master, lord.  It recognizes that the person so addressed has control over us and we are to obey and serve them in all ways.  But just using this name doesn’t mean we really do that.  Read the 4 passages below in which Moses, Joshua, Saul and Isaiah  called God ‘Adonai.’  Did they really mean He was their lord and master?  Did the rest of what they said line up with the name they used?  What did they say or do to show or not show that He really was their lord and master?  Exodus 4:10; Luke 6:46; John 5:13-15; 1 Samuel 15:22; Isaiah 6:8.


(If I can answer questions or offer personal counsel, or if you would like a free copy of my Spiritual Warfare Handbook, email me at or download it from  My next book, Spiritual Warfare in the Bible, which is a more advanced treatment of spiritual warfare, is also available there for free.)


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