It kind of sounds like a funny 1960’s space kid, doesn’t it? Well, this simple Hebrew word is that which conveys so much more than just a funny sound. In fact, this word is one that carries with it a message that ought to bring so much comfort and relief to us mere 21st century Christians.
In the wake of a major event that shows why it is so important not to be a polygamist, poor Hagar has fled into the wilderness. You see, she was seeking refuge from her mistress Sarai, whom after giving Hagar to her husband Abram to conceive a child, became so blinded by jealousy that she went to treating Hagar quite terribly (Gen. 16:1-6). Where was she supposed to go? She was an Egyptian by birth, and she was far from home. She was not loved as she ought to have been, but rather she had to live a life of humiliation and pain. One can certainly empathize with Hagar, even if her mere presence in the Bible is a disgrace to Abraham and Sarah’s mighty legacy (thanks to her son’s not so great legacy). In the end, she cannot be responsible for the foolish actions of others. And so, she ran.
We find her in vs. 7 by a spring in the wilderness where she actually gets to come into the presence of the angel of the Lord. When He comes to her, she is instructed to return to Sarai, because God will likewise bless her son and his descendants. Later on in Genesis 22, once again God comes to her aid when she and her son are driven once again out into the wilderness, and once again God hears them and brings them salvation. It is in these moments that Hagar makes a claim about this great God who is watching her and bringing her comfort. This name she calls Him is “Elroi,” which translated means, “A god who sees me.” That is quite a powerful statement, isn’t it? Later on in 1 Samuel 16:7 we see that God not only sees our outward state, but specifically He sees our hearts as well. You see, no matter what difficulties we endure, no matter how wrongly people treat us, no matter how many times we are under appreciated. We can know that we will never be forgotten or left in the dust. We have a God who brings us comfort. We have a God who has our best interest in mind. We have a God who is trying to make the difficult times in our lives, that we must inevitably face, work for the ultimate greater good in ourselves. We have an all-powerful God who sees you, and who sees me.