Hagar got a raw deal. As Sarai’s slave, she was an object to be used however Sarai saw fit; and in the drama playing out between Abram and Sarai, Sarai decided Hagar should be impregnated by her husband and become a surrogate mother. Hagar had no say in the matter, her opinion and desire was of no consequence. She was just another useful container, not unlike the bowl Sarai used to hold her bread dough, Hagar would be the temporary container of Sarai’s child. (Genesis 16)
Hagar, though, was not an inanimate object. She had thoughts and feelings which she expressed when she became pregnant. She resented being used to satisfy Sarai’s plan and dealt contemptuously with her mistress which resulted in harsh treatment. Not willing to put up with the abuse, she escaped into the wilderness.
It was here she was found by God. She ran and the Lord sought. To her mistress she was a possession to be used, to God a prized possession, worthy of God’s searching care. She may have been nothing to her mistress, overlooked unless she was useful, but God had seen her. She named the Lord who found her El-roi, the God who sees.
God sees you. God seeks you out.
This is the only time God is referred to El-roi in all of the scriptures. It was Hagar’s personal name for God, it described her relationship with the Lord. Based on your relationship with God, what name would you give him?
The Lord asked her two questions: “Where have you come from?” and “Where are you going?” She could only answer the first, she had to get away from her abusive mistress. God answered the second one for her. “Return and submit to your mistress.” Accompanying this instruction was a promise, she would be the mother of countless offspring.
When God asks you to remain in an unpleasant situation, what promise will he give you? Check out Romans 5:1-5, James 1:3-4, 1 Peter 1:6-8, Isaiah 43:1,2