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Meet Elroy
by Tom Goodman
July 22, 2015

Baptism in the Park
This Sunday, July 26, after the 10am service

Click here to learn more.

Do you need a reminder today that God is your Elroy?

Of all the titles given to God in the Bible, this one is most insightful.  Come to think of it, insightful is really the best adjective, because this title for God means "God sees."

In the Bible, we're taught this name for God not by a prophet or a theologian but by a pregnant teenage slave girl named Hagar.  When she fled from unfair treatment, God's angel met her in the wilderness and strengthened her.  She exclaimed, "I have now seen the One who sees me," and from that moment she called the Lord by the name "El Roi" -- "God sees!" (Genesis 16:13).

I wonder if she was drawing from her cultural background when she said that.  She was raised in a culture that valued cats whose keen eyes enabled them to keep rats out of the dark granaries so essential for life.  In fact, I'm told that the eyes actually glow in the stone idol of the Egyptian goddess Pasht ("Cat") on display in in the Louvre Museum in Paris.  The ancient craftsmen highlighted the eyes with some phosphorescent material as a way to emphasize the visual power of their goddess even in the dark.  The artwork is dated a little before the time of Hagar.

It was the Lord that Hagar met in her wilderness experience, not Pasht.  But when she described the significance of that meeting, what she valued was God's ability to see her in the darkness of her troubles.  So far from home, suffering an intolerable situation, she met a God who said, "I know what you're going through."  And she exclaims, "I'm not alone!  I have met El Roi, the God who sees me!"

The story of God's dealings with Abraham is the main plot of Genesis 12-23, not Hagar.  And yet in Genesis 16 there is this gracious side note about God's dealings with his wife's Egyptian handmaiden.  And because of that side note, you and I have another title to call God: El Roi.

When I'm praying with someone in crisis, one of the phrases I tend to use is, "God, show us in large ways and in a hundred small ways how you are walking with us through this experience."  Maybe you need to pray that right now, and then look around for how God is going to answer that prayer.  May you see the One who sees you!


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