God is All Knowing

With the recent epidemic of weekly, if not daily, lethal shootings across the country, does your heart not cry out, “Is God paying attention?” 

Do terrorist bombings, corrupt business and politics, death inducing dictatorships, and human trafficking around the world go unnoticed?  Will the silent screams of millions of babies snuffed out in their mother’s wombs reach God’s ears?  Will the martyrs ever have their cry responded to, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? (Revelation 6:9-10).

Ecclesiastes 5:8 assures us that these yearnings for justice do not evaporate into the atmosphere: If thou seest the oppression of the poor, and violent perverting of judgment and justice in a province, marvel not at the matter: for he that is higher than the highest regardeth; and there be higher than they.  The preacher acknowledges your hearts cry over all the injustices plaguing the earth, and assures you that God Who is above all also sees them and will bring about just punishments upon the high and haughty oppressors of their poor victims.

God’s omniscience, the fact that he is “all knowing,” is reassuring.  It is not only that He observes all but that He is keeping an account and will have a moral reckoning of all for their unjust actions.

Such a revelation brings peace and hope while the world boasts that there is no God, and that if there is, He doesnt know of their sinful ways (Psalm 10:11; Psalm 14:1; Psalm 53:1; Psalm 64:4-5; Psalm 73:7-12; Psalm 94:3-7).

Be assured that God does critically watch all the world (2 Chronicles 16:9; Job 34:21; Psalm 11:4; Proverbs 15:3).

As well, God sees and hears His Church on pilgrimage beseeching justice and deliverance (Genesis 4:10-12; Psalm 12:5; Psalm 44:20-21; Isaiah 40:27-31; Hebrews 4:12-13; Revelation 2:13). 

As Ecclesiastes 12:13 later summarizes the matter: … God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.

Remember Christs unjust trial, mocking, and execution was followed by His resurrection and ascension with His return still to come in judging the world in righteousness.  Don’t be overcome marveling over profoundly disturbing situations, for God sees all injustice and will bring justice upon all.[1]

But God also delivers us from our own secret attempts to sneak outside His observation and get ourselves into trouble.

In Genesis 16:1-16, Sarai rushed on her own desperate impulse as if she could move ahead of God’s promised plan behind His back.  Abram “overlooked” his infidelity and the consequences as if God was not looking on at his responsibilities to lead and provide.  But God was watching his and Sarai’s neglect of their son and their responsibility to him as well as to Hagar their servant.  God also noticed Hagar putting her self and child at risk and threatening Abraham’s covenant household.

Ishmael’s name, “God will hear”, reminds us that God is not deaf to our rebellious racket (nor our desperate affliction).  And the name of the well as well as God’s unique name here, El Roi,[2] “The Lord that Seeth Me,”[3] reveals that God is not blind to our private departures; further, it is made known in the context of everyone attempting sin by stealth.[4]

God’s presence in this account helps us get perspective on His perception.  John Calvin comments, “ … Hagar, who before had appeared to herself to be carried away by chance, through the desert now perceives that human affairs are under divine government.”[5]  Genesis 16:13 is Hagar’s self-chastisement, as if to say, “Hitherto I had not sought God to help me, nor acknowledged Him.”

El Roi will make us aware of His attention to and interest in us so that we are attentive to and take interest in Him.  Christian, for your own good, God hears, sees, and overrules.[6]  Just as with Jonah.

Be encouraged that God is not merely over you watching—He is kindly watching over you.  Like Hagar, Sarai, and Abram, while the Lord corrects and redirects He also provides for and restores along His all wise plan which He always oversees as the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End—and thus, the Manager of the Middle.  So open your eyes and see that God always sees you.[7]


Grant Van Leuven has been feeding the flock at the Puritan Reformed Presbyterian Church in San Diego, CA, since 2010.  He and his wife, Fernanda, have six covenant children: Rachel, Olivia, Abraham, Isaac, Gabriel, and Gideon.  He earned his M.Div. at the Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Pittsburgh, PA.

[1] For a sermon by the author on this text and title, visit https://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=10917041314.

[2] Calvin notes that some suggest El Roi could be translated, “The God of Vision.” But he says he thinks his translation is more accurate, “Thou God Seest Me.” John Calvin, Calvin’s Commentaries, ed. and trans. John King, vol. 1, Genesis (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1979), 435-436.

[3] Herbert Lockyer, All The Divine Names and Titles in the Bible (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1975), 10.

[4] And yet, in spite of what they could possibly fathom, God foreknew their story to be a living allegory in Galatians 4!

[5] Calvin, 436.  He adds, “And whoever is persuaded that he is looked upon by God, must of necessity walk as in his sight.”

[6] To listen to a sermon on this text and title by the author within an exegetical series through Genesis, visit https://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=8291104289.

[7] To listen to a sermon on this text and title in a series on God’s Names, visit https://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=2181954920263.


Grant Van Leuven