George Orwell gave a brilliant, chilling description of a dystopian, futuristic society in which everyone was being watched by Big Brother. Not only were all members of society watched by Big Brother but they were encouraged, even rewarded, for watching and reporting on anyone who seemed to be suspect, anyone who wasn’t following the rules or supporting the party line. It was nigh impossible for the main character, Winston Smith, to live a normal, individual life under such pervasive scrutiny. Who of us could withstand such constant, intense pressure coming from every side? I remember coming away from reading that novel fully disturbed, even fearful that this might be our future. And now we seem to have fulfilled this prophecy, at least in part, here in our own society. Surveillance permeates every segment of life, whether we are at the store, walking down the street, driving downtown in our cars, or even browsing online. It seems like someone is always watching us, always listening to us.
And He is.
But this Someone cares for us. His name is Jehovah El Roi, Hebrew for “The God Who Sees Me.” Only once in Scripture is this name used, in Genesis 16 when Hagar met with the Angel of the Lord. She was in dire straits, alone in the wilderness and fleeing from her mistress, Sarai, who had been treating her harshly. The Angel told her, “The Lord has given heed to your affliction” (Genesis 16:11, NRSV). The New Living Translation puts it this way, “For the Lord has heard your cry of distress.” He goes on to advise her regarding what her next steps should be, even prophesying over her and her unborn child. Hagar was an Egyptian, and as such, was most likely not a God-fearing person. Yet God revealed Himself to her and demonstrated both His concern for her predicament and His love for her.
Even though this is the only passage that mentions this name of God, the Scriptures are full of illustrations of this attribute of God. How comforting to know that God sees us, knows us, and understands our dilemma. Even more comforting: He has a solution that He longs to share with us if only we will seek Him!
1] List at least five instances in Scripture where God demonstrated that He saw someone’s situation and provided a solution for them.
2] List at least five instances in your own life in which God showed Himself to you and demonstrated that He saw your situation, then provided a solution to you.
Father, Jehovah El Roi, amidst the fear, danger, and suffering of this life, teach me to trust that You see me. As I call out to You and wait on You, reveal Your solution to me. My hope is in You.
Devotional by Cathy Schrock
Painting, “I See You,” by Karen Harvey