In Genesis 16 the angel of the Lord appears to Hagar, who later refers to the image as God Himself. Why not just be referred to as God to begin with?
The Second Person of the Godhead is always called the angel of the Lord in the Old Testament, but He is not a literal angel. Similarly, all references to a manifestation of God in the Old Testament are manifestations of the angel of the Lord. These two are one and the same, and they always refer to appearances of the pre-incarnate Christ.
The form of the appearance may change, but it's always the same Person (Christ) and it's always the angel of the Lord. The Bible tells us that the Second Person of the Godhead is the member of the Trinity responsible for creating all things and He is also the only member of the Godhead Who enters into the Creation to become visible:
So the terminology may change from verse to verse, but the meaning is consistent. All appearances of God in the Old Testament are always the angel of the Lord, the pre-incarnate Christ, God Himself.
You might find the following article helpful: How do we know the angel of the Lord is Jesus?