El Roi, The God Who Sees

Inside our heart lies an innate need to be seen. Our personalities may affect this to some degree, but everyone needs to be seen by others and by God. Maybe it’s in our DNA. Maybe we get it from our Dad—our heavenly Papa in whose image we were created. Scripture tells us He wants to be known and seen. So, maybe that’s why deep in our core, we need to be seen too.

I love those who love me,
    and those who seek me find me.

Proverbs 8:17

Hagar and El Roi

The Bible tells a story of a slave woman who encountered the God who sees. As she ran away from an abusive situation, God met her in the desert. Hagar’s meeting with the Living God did not change her situation, but it changed her. Knowing that God saw her situation and her future gave her strength to return to Sarai and Abram and give birth to a son. Listen to the hope in her voice,

She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are (El Roi) the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees (raha) me.” Genesis 16:13

Being seen by God was not fearful to Hagar. She wasn’t afraid. Instead, Hagar felt blessed by His presence and she says, “I’ve seen the One who raha me. This word means to understand or experience.

To be seen by God means more than a visual encounter. For God to “see” you means He “gets” you.

El Roi Helps Us SEE

Years later God met Hagar again. This time she was brokenhearted. Abraham had chosen Sarah and Isaac over her and Ishmael. Rejected and thrown away, Haggar had given up hope. All seemed lost.

Their water supply depleted, Hagar sat Ishmael under some shade, but she knew they wouldn’t live long without water. Her momma heart couldn’t stand watching her son die, so she found another place to sit farther away. El Roi, however, was watching. This time He opened her eyes to the provision she needed to survive and keep Ishmael alive.

God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there. Lift the boy up and take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation.” Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water. So she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink.

Genesis 21:17-19

Blinded By Grief

I’ve always wondered if grief blinded Hagar to the source of water. The Bible does not tell us God miraculously made a well, but that he opened her eyes to see it. How many times have I not seen the provision right in front of me, and all I needed to do was ask El Roi to open my eyes?

El Roi and the Samaritan Woman

Many centuries later, another rejected woman met the incarnate El Roi at a well. We don’t know her name, but we do know where she lived and how many husbands she married. Jesus sat by the well outside a Samaritan village at just the right time to meet this rejected woman. The fact Jesus knew when to be at the well and her living situation proves he’d seen her. Before their encounter El Roi had already seen her circumstances and knew her heart.

It’s easy to point fingers at this woman married five times, but Jesus, El Roi, chose her. He chose her to be the first evangelist in Samaria. He saw through the toughened exterior and saw her heart—the heart of a woman who only wanted to be loved. The heart of a woman desperately awaiting Messiah and seeking true worship. That’s who El Roi saw.

Jesus Saw Many

Jesus was the image of the invisible God. Everything He did and said demonstrated the heart of El Roi. He saw Nathanael sitting under the fig tree and Zacchaeus in a sycamore. He knew where to find Peter after he’d denied him three times, and he had watched Paul as he threw Jesus’s followers into prison.

Why We Need to Be Seen by El Roi

But God’s desire to see us is more than a visual feat. When he sees us, he knows us. This is one of three reasons why it’s important that our God is El Roi. The innate need to be seen throbs in our hearts because to be seen by God means:

  1. We’re valuable to Him.
  2. He knows what we need.
  3. He understands us because He sees what we’re going through.
Reading Plan with Prompts

El Roi Bible Reading Plan

Last month I explained we will be studying the names of God this year because our God is a god of relationship. He wants us to know Him. El Elyon, the Most High God cares so much for you, you are so valuable to Him, that He sees you. And this means He knows you.

 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

1 Corinthians 13:12

We are fully known yet fully loved. Come study the scriptures that speak of El Roi. Come get to know the God who’s always aware. He’s never allusive or absent. He never has been and never will be. Even when we can’t hear Him or feel Him, we can trust He’s watching and knows what we’re going through. Grab the reading list printable or download the reading plan with prompts. Here’s a preview:

Day 3: Jeremiah 12:3a, ESV 

But you, O Lord, know me; you see me, and test my heart toward you.

  • I love this. Not only does the Lord see Jeremiah, but he also knows him and his heart. Do you ever feel unfairly judged by people who do not really know you and your heart? Write a prayer to the God who sees you and knows your motives.

Day 4: Psalm 33:18

But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love,

  • Another way to understand this verse is that God’s eyes are on those who worship Him and trust Him. The word “love” is chesed, His merciful, loving acts-of-kindness. Soak in the truth of His awareness of your needs and unfailing chesed.

Day 5: Jeremiah 1:5, ESV 

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations. 

  • God spoke this to Jeremiah, but other scriptures speak of God’s eyes on us in the womb too. He is the God who knows us in the womb and appoints us for His purposes. Maybe you aren’t a prophet, but He has appointed you. Write a prayer of praise to El Roi for His vision and purpose-giving presence.
Printable List

Choose which printable you want to help you get into your Bible every day. Every verse and prompt will help you know El Roi. I’d love for you to join me on Instagram too on Friday mornings, 9:00 AM ET. We’ll unpack some of these scriptures for the week and I’ll share more about El Roi, the God who sees. Hope to see you there! If this post encouraged you, please hit those share buttons! Let’s spread the word about the God who sees.


  1. […] is a God of compassion and mercy, El Rachum. I love all His names such as El Roi (the God who sees), El Shaddai (God Almighty), and Yahweh Rophe (the LORD who heals), but this name […]

  2. […] man in the Bible gave God this name. Just as Haggar named Him El Roi, the God Who Sees, when God met her in the desert, this man named Him YHWH Shalom, the God of Peace. He met the God of […]

  3. […] studied, El Elyon, the God most High and El Roi, the God who sees me. Now we’re digging deep into the God who provides, Yahweh Yireh, which is the Hebrew name. […]

  4. Tina Snyder

    On what platform are you doing the Friday teaching?
    Thank You

    1. On Instagram and eventually uploaded on YouTube. Hope you can join me or watch later. :)

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