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We may be familiar with many of the names of God. We know him as Elohim, Abba, Jehovah Jireh, and Yahweh. Most likely others, as well, but what about El Roi? It’s most likely not a name you’ve heard in a worship song or sermon. In fact, it is mentioned only one time in the Bible.
The most vulnerable, invisible moments in our lives can be the times when we feel most connected with God. Whether during a crisis or simply feeling down about life, there’s always hope in “El Roi!
El Roi Meaning
We may have noticed that many names for God include “El, Elohim, Elah, and others. El typically refers to God. But Roi describes another attribute of God to the equation. El Roi means “The God who sees me.”
Ro’iy in Hebrew can be translated as a shepherd or as seeing, looking, or gazing.
When we feel most invisible and forgotten by everyone, the one who sees us loves his children very much. He watches over our lives and sees our struggles even when they’re not visible to others because of this truth: God doesn’t just see you – he attends to your every need! Just think, if he sees the sparrows and takes care of us, how much more does he see and care for us?
In this article, we’ll dive into the use of El Roi in Scripture, reasons to praise God for seeing us, and share with a prayer using this name of God, El Roi.
Key Scripture with El Roi
Where Can We Find the Name of God, ‘El Roi,’ in the Bible and Why?
To learn about El Roi and the story surrounding this name of God, let’s review the story of Abraham, Sarah, and Hagai.
Abraham (the father and patriarch of the Jewish nation) found himself close to the age of 100 and childless. Years before, God had promised him offspring that would form a great nation. A promise that seemed bleak without children.
Abraham gets restless, waiting for God to make good on His promise. His wife Sarai suggests that Abraham sleep with his Egyptian servant, and Sarai gets pregnant.
Hagar appears to have animosity toward Sarai. Sarai, in turn, begins to abuse and mistreat Hagar. When Hagar has taken all she can of Sarai’s hostility, she runs away.
While on the run, she encounters the angel of the Lord, who promises her that her son will also form a great nation. He tells her that she’ll also have many descendants through her bloodline.
Because God sees her when no one else does, Hagar declares, “You are a God of seeing,” for she said, “Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.”
He also sees you. He sees what you are going through in whatever desert you’re wandering through, whatever difficulties you are facing, and any loneliness you are feeling. He sees your fear and your hurts. And He wants to offer you peace and comfort today too.
We could, of course, point to numerous examples of God seeing those whom society chose not to see. He healed lepers, blind men, and the demon-possessed. Jesus even had a conversation with an outcast Samaritan woman at the well. Throughout all of Scripture, it seems that God chooses to see the unseen.
Have you ever felt invisible? Like no one cares about the pain you’re enduring?
God is the One who numbers the hairs on our heads and knows our past, present, and future circumstances. When you pray to El Roi, you are praying to the One who knows everything about you. He truly sees you.
6 Ways that El Roi Sees You
Often, it can be easy to think God has forgotten us or that he simply doesn’t see us.
God is always present. He sees and knows everything in our lives, even if we can’t see him or hear his voice. He is present with us every day!
If we open our eyes to the blessings around us, we’ll see his fingerprints daily and know He truly sees us.
Let’s dive into a few of the reasons we can praise God as El Roi today.
1. God Sees You
This one may seem like a given, considering the topic of this post, but you may have wondered, out of all the billions of people in this world, does God even know that you exist? Could he single you out as an individual, or are you just another human in the entirety of the world?
Know that God sees you! As an individual, you are known by Him!
He knows the very number of hairs on your head. Consider that your worth is more than the many sparrows in the sky. Consider that He took an intimate interest in forming you, that you are “fearfully and wonderfully made; that all of His “works (YOU!) are wonderful.”
He loves you so much that He sent His only son, Jesus Christ, to die a horrible death for you and your sins so that you could be forgiven and reconciled back to God because He wants a relationship with you.
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That is how much you are known and SEEN by God. And not only does He know you, but he also knows your name.
2. El Roi Knows Your Name
Sadly, Sarah and Abraham never seemed to respect Hagar. When she is referred to, it is always said as “my slave” or “your servant.” This leads me to believe her value wasn’t anything other than being used by these people for selfish gain, manipulating God’s plan so He would provide an heir.
I can only imagine how demoralizing that must have been for Hagar.
When it seemed that no one showed any decency or respect to Hagar, the One Who matters did. Scripture doesn’t reveal if Hagar knew God, but God knew Hagar. In fact, He knew her name and showed her respect by using it.
But when God found Hagar at the well, the first word out of His mouth was, “Hagar.”
It’s the same for you. God knows your name. He knows his precious children by name. He knows every “sheep” by name. And, not only is your name known, it is “engraved” on the palm of his hand. Being engraved carries a more profound symbol or meaning than being written. Being engraved means it is “cut, carved” into God’s palm, implying permanence, something that cannot be erased.
Nevertheless, if you are in Christ—if you believe in Him and His name and accepted the gift of grace through faith—then your name will be immortalized forever and written in The Book of Life. As a born-again believer, your precious name is now eternally secure!
Later in the story, Hagar, out of gratitude, gives God a name: El Roi, the God Who Sees. Interestingly, Hagar is the only person in the Bible—male or female, Jew or Gentile—who’s named God personally.
3. El Roi’s Faithfulness in Hindsight
In the moment of despair or fear, we may feel as though God has abandoned us. That He does not notice or care for the storms in our life? Amid a storm, it seems as though God has fallen asleep even as the boat is about to go under or capsize.
But when we glance back over past events and see how God came through for us. The prayers answered; the blessings bestowed?
Perhaps not always in ways we imagined—we can apply that to our present circumstances. We can know that God “saw” us in the past. And because He doesn’t change, he will “see” us now…and in the future.
The form you have selected does not exist.
4. Jesus Sees the Marginalized or Outcasts
The Bible states that God knows even the number of hairs on our heads. Although we are one of the billions of people in the world, he knows us intimately and profoundly and understands more about us than we do.
In a dark period of our life, we may wonder where God is and how He cares for us. Well, my friends, we simply need to look toward Jesus.
Jesus had every opportunity to live like the king He was. To experience a comfortable life and only rub elbows with the high priests, Pharisees, and Sadducees (both of which were particularly wealthy).
He chose to devote his time to the lowest of society: tax collectors, prostitutes, and sinners, like you and me.
He saw them. Indeed saw them just as He sees us.
If we think we’ve strayed too far from God’s love, look again at Jesus’ example. He saw everyone who’d been ushered to the sidelines, and he healed them, spoke with them, dined with them, and loved them.
He saw everyone who had been pushed to the sidelines of life, and he healed them, spoke with them, and ate with them. He loved them unconditionally. Even those people no one else would or could ever love because they were considered “outcasts” in society. Jesus’ loving kindness endures forever!
Therefore, we know He can do the same with us, no matter how far we’ve fallen.
Click the image below for a free downloadable/printable PDF with scripture pertaining to “God Sees You”.
5. El Roi Sees Your Needs
We take so many things for granted. Whether we are breathing, our organs are functioning properly, and most of us had food to eat today or water to keep ourselves hydrated – these aren’t small blessings! We can see God’s daily abundance if only we take a moment to pause and think about how richly we are truly blessed.
What I’ve found to be helpful is to keep a gratitude journal. Mine is in my war binder. I try to write blessings, even small ones, that I see daily in my life.
God doesn’t always have to part seas. He can provide shelter, food, friends, and a sunny day. Journal or keep a list of all the ways He provides for and blesses you.
Looking back over your gratitude journal, you will be reminded of how He provides for you—our Jehovah Jireh. In our most anguishing moments, just like Hagar, we can see the fingerprints of God all over our past. We know he has plans for us to prosper, and He will never stop seeing us.
6. El Roi Sees Your Situation
Although a situation may have blindsided you, God is still there. He sees you. Your situation didn’t catch Him off guard. He is all-seeing, all-knowing, and knows precisely what is happening in your life every moment. Your situation—your very life—is always before his eyes. Nothing escapes His divine notice or attention.
Prayer to El Roi
Precious El Roi,
You are the God who sees me. No matter how much I feel rejected or unseen by those around me, you know exactly where to find your children and help them along in their lives. You work unseen to meet our every need.
I am never alone
God, as I remember all you have done for me in the past, I know that you have worked in miraculous ways. I know you had seen me in the past when no one else did. And so, I can fully trust that you will continue to care for me, even when I’ve entered the darkest valley.
Like Hagar, a lowly servant impregnated by a man who didn’t care for her and was treated with contempt by his wife, fled to the desert to get away and found your angel. She knew that you saw her, indeed saw her, and found hope in You.
I know that you see me, as well. You see everyone, even those who feel rejected or that society has cast away. You are El Roi, the Lord Who Sees.
In the same way, I ask that you see me today. That you come alongside me in my struggle and that you grant me your peace. Remind me of your good deeds from the past so that I may, too, hope in my future.
Additional Scripture Related to God Seeing Us
Can you relate to Hagar? Maybe not her situation, but the fear, loneliness, and lack of love. Maybe your husband has left. Perhaps you’ve lost your job or your home. Perhaps you lost out on a promotion. Maybe your parents neglected or abused you as a child. Perhaps a friend has hurt or betrayed you. Maybe you feel friendless.
You may have wondered what Hagar did: “Does anyone even care about me? Does anyone know or understand what I’m going through?” Maybe you’ve even wondered if God cares about you and have cried out, “God, do you see what I’m facing? Do you know how much this hurts?”,
As it was for Hagar, the answer to all these heart-rending questions is: Yes, he does! Because, as with Hagar: God sees you.
Breathe and rejoice, my friend; God sees you! He sees exactly what you’re going through because, as Hagar said, “You are a God of seeing, (El Roi” … “Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.”
Claim His promise by
You may enjoy this video about El Roi:
Or one of these recommended resources:
El Roi: The God Who Sees Me by Nakatia S. Clay
Road to El Roi: A Journey to The God Who Sees by Jess Moravian
El-Roi – The God Who Sees Me: Journal by Dixie’s Doodles
El Roi (The God Who Sees Me) Notebook by Above Rubies P31
ESV – “Scripture quotations are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”