God of Seeing

Read: Genesis 16:1-16

She called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, “You are a God of seeing,” for she said, “Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.” (v. 13)

When I read this passage, I can almost see the words from the King James Version of verse 13, “Thou, God, seest me,” framed on the wall of a Victorian home as a warning to naughty children.

When Hagar first uttered them, it was not as one who felt threatened, but rather with a sense of wonder and delight. We don’t know exactly how that verse should be translated, but certainly it is about her seeing God (amazing!) and God seeing her (even more important, especially to someone as ill-used as Hagar was).

For we need to remind ourselves of what all those “seeing” words can imply. It’s much more than physical sight. We think of a mother seeing to her baby and looking after it, of her provision for it and supervision of it. This new name for God, El Roi, is revealed to Hagar rather than to Abraham. It tells us that Abraham’s God has a deep concern for those who, like Hagar, are outsiders who come into contact with his people. He has similar plans for them also (v. 10). They too will be blessed when their eyes, and hearts, are opened to him. —Michael Wilcock

As you pray, ask God to open your eyes to see him, and ask God to open the eyes of others too.

About the Author

Michael Wilcock

Rev. Michael Wilcock was formerly director of pastoral studies at Trinity College, Bristol, and vicar of St. Nicholas' Church, Durham. He is now based in Eastbourne, England, as a writer and speaker.