Do you ever feel like you are all alone and no one understands you? Do you ever feel like you will never find a person on this earth who will accept you the way that you are? Have you ever wondered if it is really true that we are born into this world all alone and we leave the same way? All of these questions can be answered by knowing God as El Roi, the God who sees. We have seen that God is our strong tower of rescue and that we must run to Him even before the problems start. We have seen that God created us the way that we are so that we can serve Him by serving the people around us. We have seen that He is in control of all things, even our own lives, and will bless us for our obedience and discipline us (for our own good) when we are disobedient. Are you going through difficult events in your life? Do you examine yourself when going through these difficult times to see why God is allowing it? Are you using the difficult times to draw nearer to God? That is why He allows difficult times. Also, do not forget that He can turn bad to good in the blink of an eye and He is ready to do it if you will trust Him.
I. El Roi means the God who sees all things at all times so we need to look at the lives of some real people who faced difficult times in order to see the importance of understanding El Roi and living accordingly
Sarah and Abraham were real people who faced life’s difficulties like we all do. They were faithful to God but that does not mean that they were perfect. They made mistakes and struggled with believing God like we all do. God told them that they would have their own son, together, while Abraham was 75 and Sarah about 10 years younger. Abraham believed but was not fully convinced throughout the next 25 years of waiting. He proposed a servant to be his heir in Genesis 15. God stepped in to correct him. Then in Genesis 16, we see that Sarah has a “great idea to help God out” in accomplishing His will and plan. (on a side note, great ideas of “helping God out in His plan” are always a bad idea and lead to disastrous consequences, not for God, but for YOU) Sarah proposes that Abraham take her servant girl, a very beautiful young lady, to be his 2nd wife (that in itself was a bad idea) and produce his “promised heir” through her and not through Sarah. God did not intervene this time and Abraham took the servant girl as his second wife and she got pregnant (I am sure Abraham was obediently following his wife’s orders, do not forget, Abraham was a man just like men are today, with the same weaknesses, especially for pretty young ladies). You can guess what happened next. Sarah and Hagar (the servant girl) no longer got along (they were no longer bff’s). Sarah and Abraham began to have trouble in their marriage. Things were bad yet there was El Roi, watching and waiting for them to come to Him for help but they do not. They continue trying to “work it out” on their own. Have you ever done some regrettable things that brought problems in your life? Maybe you are in the middle of those problems now, what will you do? Will you continue digging your pit deeper by trying to resolve it on your own, or, will you turn to El Roi, who has seen the entire situation unfold and is waiting for you to turn to Him so that He can give the solution to you? Remember, God is El Elyon and can turn what was meant for evil into good if you will run to Him and obey Him.
II. Sin leads to more sin which leaves victims in its wake but there is El Roi, who has compassion on the victim and is merciful to the sinner
Hagar is the victim in this situation and God has seen what has happened to her. He knows what she is going through and wants to help. He allows her to get to the end of her rope, to hit rock bottom, so that she has no where else to turn but up and to Him. Hagar, who is being treated very harshly by Sarah because of the whole domestic situation, decides to run away into the desert, while pregnant, in order to commit suicide. She was close to death when El Roi finally reveals Himself to her. He knows her situation. He gives her specific advice on how to handle the situation, and He also gives her the assurance of His Word, His promises. That is the beauty of God and His Word. He is ready to meet you where you are, help you during your difficult situations, give you specific, practical advice, and give you the assurance of His promises. He does this in His Word and when God says something, it is as good as done! Have you hit rock bottom? You have 2 choices, you can look up to El Roi, who has seen the entire situation unfold, or you can get a shovel and hammer and start pounding on the rock to make the situation even worse, which will you choose? Do you turn to the Word of God for solutions when facing life’s difficult situations? One of the biggest and most difficult situations in life are relational problems (at home, at work, at church, etc) and God has the solution for all of them in His Word. He is a relational God and wants relationships to work but there is a condition, we must first have a personal relationship with Him. Do you have a personal relationship with God? Do you spend time with Him every day in Bible study and prayer? Do you live according to His standards on a moment by moment basis? That is the starting point and from there, God will step in and work miracles in your other relationships. Back to our story, Hagar believes God and does as He says.The victim is restored by the power of God.
III. God forgives the guilty party and restores their relationships as well
Hagar comes back and her relationship with Sarah and Abraham is restored. They may not have been the best of friends after all of this but there was no animosity between them, for a while. In Genesis 21, the son of the covenant, Isaac, is born and Ishmael begins to mock Isaac so Sarah requests that Abraham send Hagar and Ishmael away. He does, but this time He goes to God for advice and confirmation. Abraham has learned his lesson. It is important to listen to the advice that other people give to you but you must confirm it with the Word of God. Abraham was led astray from the Word of God by Sarah the first time when she suggested that he take Hagar as a wife (I have an eerie feeling that he did not want to hear what God had to say about that because he was not thinking with his head in that situation). This time, in order to avoid conflict, he went to El Roi for advice and did the right thing. God took care of Abraham’s domestic situation as well as providing for Hagar and Ishmael. What about you, are you confused by all of the advice people offer you? Do you check “good advice” from others with the Word of God? You do not have to learn from your mistakes because you can avoid the mistakes all together if you will obey God and do as He says in His Word.
IV. Sin may be forgiven and relationships restored but disobedience does come with consequences that remain
Abraham and Sarah were disobedient to God and they suffered immediate consequences with relational problems. Those were restored but there is one consequence that still haunts Abraham’s people (the Hebrews) even to this day, the Muslims. The Muslim nations of the Middle East, especially those countries surrounding Israel, trace their heritage back to the Bible, to Genesis, to Abraham, yet they claim that the promise of the covenant was made through Ishmael. The Muslim religion traces its roots back to Ishmael. Let’s look at the prophecy about Ishmael and the people who follow him.
10 Moreover, the angel of the LORD said to her, “I will greatly multiply your descendants so that they will be too many to count.” 11 The angel of the LORD said to her further, “Behold, you are with child, And you will bear a son ; And you shall call his name Ishmael, Because the LORD has given heed to your affliction. 12 “He will be a wild donkey of a man, His hand will be against everyone, And everyone’s hand will be against him; And he will live to the east of all his brothers.” (Genesis 16)
Let’s analyze this prophecy based on the way the Muslims of the Middle East act today.
- they will be great in number (too many to count)
- they will be wild in their actions (terrorism)
- they will be against everyone (the Koran teaches that Christians and Jews must be converted to Islam or killed)
- everyone will be again them (war on terrorism)
- they will be to the east of Israel (majority of Middle Eastern Muslims are to the East of Israel)
The whole world now suffers because of the disobedience of one family. Please do not tell me that sin does not have consequences and that you can sin and hurt no one but yourself. Sin negatively impacts the sinner as well as the innocent victims within society.
So my dear friend, do you know that God is El Roi, that He sees everything that is happening to you, that He is ready to intervene, with one condition, that you appeal to Him for help and obey what He says to do? Are you ready to resolve the relational conflicts in your life? Are you ready to get along with others? First, get right with God and begin a personal relationship with Him that will bleed over into every other relationship in your life. May God help us know Him as El Roi.