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The God Who Sees Me

December 11, 2011

"O righteous God,
who searches minds and hearts,
bring to an end the violence of the wicked
and make the righteous secure." — Psalm 7:9-10

Throughout the Tanach (the Hebrew Bible), we discover that God has many different names, all of which reveal a different aspect of His nature. One of my favorites is El-Roi — Hebrew for "the God Who sees me." This was the name Hagar, Sarah's maidservant, gave to the Lord after her encounter with Him. (Read about it in Genesis 16.)

You may remember the story — impatient and uncertain as to how God would fulfill His promise of offspring through his still-barren wife, Abraham fathered a child with Hagar. Sarah, despite her role in arranging this, was angry with Abraham, jealous of Hagar, and prevailed upon her husband to send Hagar away. It is as Hagar is despairing in the wilderness that "an angel of the LORD" comes to her and comforts her, telling Hagar that God, indeed, has seen her misery.

At times when I feel alone or am troubled about something in my life, I remember Hagar. I remember El-Roi. I remember that God sees me, knows me, and understands exactly what I am going through at that very moment. The psalm writer, King David, reminds us again in Psalm 7 that God searches our hearts and our minds. He knows our every thought. Nothing is hidden from Him.

Now this may be a terrifying thought for some, but I think it can be a great comfort. We can't hide our thoughts or our true motives from God, true; but that also means we don't have to impress Him. We don't have to put up a false front or a cheery attitude when we're feeling down. We don't have to be constantly "up" or "perfect" to come before God. We can come exactly as we are, exactly as we're feeling, because He already knows.

He is the God who sees us, and because He does, He can be the God who comforts us, who guides us, who protects us, who loves us, and who will help us in our misery.

With prayers for shalom, peace,

Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein

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