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See me
Sarah Habben
by Sarah Habben
September 6, 2023

When my daughter was a toddler, I caught her sitting on the kitchen counter, stuffing marshmallow Peeps in her mouth. 

She squeezed her eyes shut and yelled, “Don’t see me!”

God has a nickname in the Old Testament: El Roi—the God who sees. That should trouble us when we do or say stuff we’d rather hide. God sees. No matter how well we lick the wrongdoing off our fingers, God sees. No matter how we justify our sinful cravings, God sees. No matter how tightly we squeeze our eyes shut, God’s are open. 

The woman who addressed God as El Roi wasn’t trying to hide. Hagar was desperate to be seen. She was Sarai and Abram’s servant. Neither of them call her by name in the Bible account. Desperate for a child, barren Sarai offered Hagar to her husband as a surrogate. Hagar taunted Sarai with her pregnancy. Sarai retaliated with abuse. Abram turned a blind eye, so Hagar fled.

God found her in the desert, without a plan, alone, afraid, unloved. And he called her by name. He gave her a promise and a way to right her wrongs. Hagar marveled, “You are the God who sees me” (Genesis 16:13).

When God sees our wrongdoing, he doesn’t recoil. He approaches with his Word and promises. He calls us by name. He knows every hair on our heads; he certainly knows our struggles. And he shows us the way out at the cross. There, sinless Jesus became our sinful surrogate—so that we could become his holy heirs.

Posted in Who is God?
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