* Knowing God by His Names Study

Knowing God by His Names ~ Many Names 1

                             One God known by Many Names      ~ 1  
 Many have heard the statement ‘what’s in a name’.  When we first meet someone, usually our first question is ‘what is your name?’  Moses asked that of God in Exodus chapter 3, ‘whom shall I say sent me…?’  Most of us have several names we respond to, legally I am Diana, I sign my name that way, but to family and friends it is DeDe, to my boys – mom, and my sister calls me sis.  Most reflect ‘relationship’ when addressing me.  Yet I am still the same person known by all those names.
God’s name represents and associates His glory, power, holiness and love.  Many names including the compound names, such as Jehovah Nissi (The Lord is my Banner) reveal His character and activity.
In the Hebrew the word Hashem (ha-SHem) means Name (proper noun) or God’s Holy Name…
I (God) have consecrated this temple which you have built…
 by putting My Name there forever, My eyes and My heart
 will always be there.”
  (I Kings 9:3)
Does God have a proper name?  For many of us we refer to Him as Father, Lord, Master, Mighty One, even to some… Big Guy in the Sky (however we will not be studying that one).  The psalmist wrote in Ps. 68:4

Sing to God, sing praises to His name Lift up a song for Him Who rides through the deserts, Whose name is the LORD and exult before Him.
Isaiah records this statement by the Lord…
                        I am the LORD, that is My name:
                        I will not give My glory to another,
                        Nor My praise to graven images
. (42:8)
Out of the 10 commandments – one is devoted to honoring God’s name… Ex. 20:7 ‘You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.’   Note the ‘personalization’ of this statement… ‘your God’.  Denoting relationship… and in this relationship we ‘honor’, because He is ‘my God’.  Ken Hemphill said in his book The Names of God…

“The commandment means more than avoiding using
God’s name in slang or a profane way.  It means that
those who are in relationship with Him must honor
His name in their lives.  The name of God has to do with
His character, and when we live in covenant relationship
with Him, we become accountable for reflecting His character.”
In this study we will look at the tender names we call God such as ..Lord – Adonai.  Last week in the devotional we looked at the strong powerful name … LORD (all caps) the Hebrew tetragrammaton – YHWH, ‘YAHWEH’.  Regardless of the context, or where on the timeline … He is… the same yesterday, today and forever! (Heb. 13:8).  All the names mentioned in the bible are for us, they are relevant to us, that is why it is important to know God by His many names.
Blessings as we journey through the names of God and learn of His character together.  Soon, you will receive – in the beginning God… Elohim.
In Him, DeDe
Resources used in this study:  Praying the Names of God – by Anne Spangler;  Knowing God by His names – by Dick Purnell;  Names of God – by Nathan Stone; Lord I Want to Know You – by Kay Arthur;  He Shall be Called – by Robert J. Morgan;  The Names of God – by Ken Hemphill;  The Trinity – By Jack Hayford; The Strong’s Concordance; The Complete Word Study Dictionary of the Old Testament; The Vines Expository Dictionary;

Knowing God by His Names ~ Creater God 2

                                           Elohim  (e-lo-HEEM)
* Genesis 1:1-31 (Read this portion of scripture)
* Key Verse: In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth (Gen. 1:1)
Today’s Focus:
This ancient name for God in the Hebrew is ‘Elohim’, containing the idea of God’s creative power, His omnipotent power as well as His authority and sovereignty, referring to the Lord’s absolute dominion over the whole universe, ‘all things have been created through Him and for Him‘ (Col. 1:16).  Before there was anything there was God.  It is used over 3,000 times from Genesis to Malachi, occurring 32 times in the first chapter alone, following that, Yahweh (some translations use Jehovah) appears and is often paired with Elohim, ‘the LORD God’.   Elohim is the plural form of ‘El’ which means mighty or strong, (El can be found in the following verses for God, Ps. 18:32, 68:35, 77:14, Deut. 3:24).  Though plural, does not indicate a belief in many gods but emphasizing the majesty of the one true God.  God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.  Deut. 6:4 ‘ Hear, O Israel: The LORD [Jehovah] our God [Elohim] is one LORD’.  We see this in Gen. 1:26 ‘then God [Elohim] said, let Us make man in our image’
Study Questions:
1.  Study the creation events.  Describe what God created on each day of creation.
2.  For what purpose did God create man?
3.  Why do you think it is important to know Him as Creator?
4.  Because God is the Creator of the universe and all that it contains… He is my maker,
    I am grateful to Him for:
Extended study question:
Genesis 28:13,15 the Lord appears to Jacob and says…’I am the LORD God (Jehovah Elohim) of Abraham thy father’….vs. 15   ‘I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”  What attributes does God reflect in this passage, and what are His promises?   Personalize it, and replace your name  every time a statement is made of ‘you’….
Resources used in this study:  Praying the Names of God – by Anne Spangler;  Knowing God by His names – by Dick Purnell;  Names of God – by Nathan Stone; Lord I Want to Know You – by Kay Arthur;  He Shall be Called – by Robert J. Morgan;  The Names of God – by Ken Hemphill;  The Trinity – By Jack Hayford; The Strong’s Concordance; The Complete Word Study Dictionary of the Old Testament; The Vines Expository Dictionary.

Knowing God by His Names ~ Lord 3

Knowing God by His Names – 3
                                        Lord –  Adonai  (Aw-doe-ni)
*   Genesis 15:1-19  (read this portion of scripture)
*  Key verse:   ‘Abram believed the LORD’ (verse 6)
Today’s Focus:  In the Old Testament, the name Adonai is translated – Lord – small letters (anytime LORD appears with all caps, this is Yahweh or Jehovah).  Lord signifies ownership or mastered by.  Those who acknowledged God as Adonai refer to themselves as servants (Ex. 32:13).  Lordship is declaring complete possession of God, and complete submission by us’. 1   It is giving Him perfect right to all that we are and have.
Adonai is plural, rendering as ‘my Lords’… again confirming the Trinity as seen in Elohim.  When Adonai (Lord) and Yahweh (LORD) occur together, the English translates it, ‘Lord, LORD’ – becoming confusing, many translate …LORD God or Sovereign LORD as seen in the NIV.
Man is born to worship and serve, yet we are designed and called to … serve One (Ex. 20:3,4).  Matthew 6:21 ‘no one can serve two masters’.  It is a lifestyle of obedience and bowing of heart that declares our servant hood to our Master.  Romans 6:16 ‘you are slaves to the one whom you obey’ and ‘a man is a slave to whatever masters him’ 2 Peter 2:19 (see also: 1 Cor. 4:12, 6:19,20; Ro. 12:1,6-8; Eph. 4:11-12; 1 Tim. 1:12).
For most of us, allowing God to become our Lord and Master is a process, we see this in today’s portion of scripture, where ‘Lord’ first appears.  Abram was continually learning of God’s character and care towards him and how to respond to this.  It is in this process… Abram ‘believed’ the LORD.
Study Questions:
1.  How would you describe the conversation between the Lord and Abram in verses 1-19?
2.  Do you suppose that Abram came to a point of ‘surrender’, where he now acknowledges his own in-sufficiency and declares God’s sufficiency?  Is there something in your own life that the Lord is calling you to surrender to His Lordship?Write out a brief prayer expressing your desire for this to happen.
3.  The Lord responds to Abram, with (I paraphrase) ”your childlessness presents no problem for Me’, He then takes him outside to show him the vastness of the stars, is there something the Lord is trying to show you?  Are you listening?  Watching?
Extended challenge question:
In your understanding of ‘Adonai’ how would you explain Matthew 7:21,22 to another?
Disclaimer:  It was my goal and intention to provide a ‘one page’ study, but due to the vast resources I am using and after all it is ‘God’ we are trying to come to a better understanding of… a one page, ‘just aint gonna happen’.
Resources used in this study: 1 Names of God – by Nathan Stone; Praying the Names of God – by Anne Spangler;  Knowing God by His names – by Dick Purnell;   Lord I Want to Know You – by Kay Arthur;  He Shall be Called – by Robert J. Morgan;  The Names of God – by Ken Hemphill;  The Trinity – By Jack Hayford; The Strong’s Concordance; The Complete Word Study Dictionary of the Old Testament; The Vines Expository Dictionary.
In Him, DeDe

Knowing God by His Names ~ Provider 4

 Knowing God by His Names – 4
                                             Jehovah – Jireh  (Ji-rah)
* Genesis  22:1-19  (read this portion of scripture)
* Key Verse:   ‘So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide…’ (Jehovah-Jireh) v.14
* Today’s Focus:  This weeks study is written in devotional form, due to the material being so rich, I hesitate to ‘run through’ quickly and have us not fully glean what the Lord might have for us. Please read Genesis chapter 22 if at all possible before proceeding on.  Take careful notice to the relational term… son, underline that word each time it appears.  Then notice also  love, sacrifice, worship, and ‘the lamb’.  We are looking at YHWH-Jireh … Jehovah-Jireh.
 Most of the compound names of God, reflect some historic event or God displaying His character in meeting someone’s need.  The Hebrew word ‘raah’, from which ‘jireh’ is rooted, is translated, ‘to see’.   The English borrowed the word ‘provision’ from the Latin language.  Pro-vision is ‘to see beforehand’, indicating God seeing a need and thus supplying for that need. God is pro-active in His seeing – Provider.
Genesis chapter 22, is known as the ‘supreme crisis’ in Abraham’s life.  He has seen and experienced God move in favorable ways, now he is called to test his faith, as mentioned in verse one.  ‘Abraham’… God calls to him, ‘here I am’, Abraham’s response…v. 2 ‘take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love.’   There is a small word that is omitted in the NIV, and other translations, which appears in the King James, the New American Standard and the Amplified, v. 2 ‘take now your son, your only son..’, to some this may be minor, but looking at the original Hebrew, bears merit to dig deeper.  It is the particle ‘na’… or as we would translate it… please.  It could be rendered, ‘take please your son, your only son’.  Victor P. Hamilton writes in The Book of Genesis the following:

this particle ‘na’ occurs many times in the O.T., some 60 times in Genesis alone.  But only 4 times in the entire O.T does God use the word in addressing a human being.  In each case these four passages God asks somebody to do something that transcends human comprehension.”
These are found in Gen. 13:14, Gen. 15:5, Gen. 22:2 and Ex. 11:2.   God,  not attempting to be polite, yet is using an urgent, strong affirmation rather than a plea.  He goes on to instruct Abraham to go to the mountain region of Moriah, and ‘offer’ Isaac as a burnt offering.  This is fascinating, this is the first time ‘offer’ or as some translations render it, ‘sacrifice’ appears, also the word, ‘love’ and later in verse 5 …’worship’.  These are significant, as we look at Abraham’s full experience of God.
Abrahams obedience is quick and detailed,  Gen. 22:3 ‘early the next morning’ he is up, packed and ready to go.  Taking them 3 days, they finally approach the mountain, the 2 servants brought along are told to stay and mind the donkey, ‘while I and the boy … worship and then we will come back to you’, notice the ‘we’… such faith proclaimed already.   As they prepare to ascend the mountain, verse 6 says that Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it ‘on’ Isaac, he carried the wood on his shoulders, sound familiar?  Jesus did the same thing, what a beautiful ‘type’ of Christ for us, the Father near by, watches as the Son, carries His own cross, that He would soon be raised up on and sacrificed.  John 19:17, ‘He went out, bearing His own cross’.
There is not much said about the journey up, except one very important conversation between father and son, verse 7, Isaac spoke up and said… ‘where is the lamb, for the burnt offering’, oh can you feel the heart of Abraham tighten… ‘God Himself will provide the lamb…’ Abraham responds.
Statements have been made about the lamb, Jesus our One and only final sacrifice, that I feel can paint a picture of our Christian walk, Isaac asks… ‘where is the lamb’, John the Baptist states, ‘behold the Lamb’ (Jn. 1:29) and we along with the angels proclaim ‘worthy is the Lamb’ (Rev. 5:11-13), what a progression of faith… asking – stating- proclaiming.  The difference between the three, asking, we are seeking to find.  Stating  answers found, He is found, an expression of faith is made, most often this is done quietly, where proclaiming is to announce publicly, to praise, extol.  We move from seeking, to finding, to now a seen and heard proclamation of praise.  There is some serious bowing going on.
Once on the mountain the altar is prepared, Isaac bound.  What submission, what trust, many commentators differ on Isaac’s age, ranging between age 12-25, whatever age, he was amply able to refuse, and fight the aged Abraham.  Do you suppose his eyes were closed, or glancing away, I sense they were focused on Abraham.  What an intense moment.  As Abraham gathers the knife, his mind  rehearsing the promises spoken by the Lord, that same voice now commanding him to do and have results that seem irrational.  D. Stuart Briscoe writes…. ‘the promise of God required that Isaac live, while the command of God demanded that he should die.’  Knife raised, heart positioned – God speaks! God’s timing is perfect, verse 11 ‘the angel of the LORD called out… ‘Abraham, Abraham’, see  the contrast with verse 1, ‘God said to him, Abraham,’ I envision it more of a whisper.  Now it is called out  ‘Abraham, Abraham,’ a firm loud statement.  Abraham passes the test… ‘now I know you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.’  Can you imagine the quick response on Abe’s part… ‘yo God I am your man!’ as the knife is thrown over his shoulder.  I shared with a dear friend, I too want to pass the test of devotion, where God calls out my name, not just a quiet gentle whisper (those are great too) but in His timing, a strong   ‘DeDe, DeDe now I know…’.  May we listen for God’s voice in those most trying times, when He is asking something of us, that is beyond us!
As I thought on this mountain top experience, I was drawn to two others, Noah, Gen. 8:4 ‘… the ark came to rest on the mountains of Arat’.  Think of his experience to get to the mountain, his too was not one of choice, a rocky boat, all that dampness, and not to mention the fragrance… but as he reached his mountain top – the Lord provides a safe dry place, a place of new beginnings, God knew exactly where and when to ‘get out’.  Moses, Ex. 19:3 ‘Moses went up to God, and the LORD called him from the mountain..’.  God provided a place of conversation, a time for instruction, his too was an intense time. Then Abraham, a place of pain… sacrifice… yet, God showed Himself BIG!   Each time, obedience was the perquisite to God’s provision.  It is in the mountain top times, often grand and joyous, we can have new beginnings, conversations with God, intense moments and even painful agony of heart.
Abraham breathes easier now, just as he looks up and sees a ram caught in the brush, he takes it and offers it to the Lord.  Here is our key verse, 14 ‘Abraham called that place, The LORD Will Provide’ he said this out of his moment, but too it is prophetic.  The name Jehovah Jireh, The LORD will Provide “draws attention to God, not Abraham.  It is not Abraham-has-performed, but God-will-provide.  Faith then is ultimately based on God’s character and the reliability of His word.” (Victor P. Hamilton, Handbook on the Pentateuch).
This mountain experience was the last recorded dialogue we have between the Lord and Abraham, what a faith builder, faith strengthener, an example. Just as Abraham, at times we too need to be taken to what seems  extreme, to see what is in our hearts, not only for God to see, us as well.  God allows us in circumstances – positioning us to see His hand move.  God the Father, knew what He was asking of Abraham… Romans 8:32 He who did not spare His own Son, but gave him up for us all – how will He not also, along with him graciously give us all things.  Now, that is Jehovah Jireh – God will Provide!
Study Questions:
1. Imagine you are Abraham, making that 3 day trek towards Moriah to sacrifice your son, what is in your heart? 
2.  Explain in your own words, the connection between Abraham’s statement in verse 5 ‘we will worship’ and the painful sacrifice that actually took place on the mountain.
3. Without obedience we may never experience the provision God intends for us, has He whispered your name, is there something He is asking you to offer Him, are you willing to exchange it to see God’s hand move on your behalf?
4. As we pray to Jehovah Jireh, we are praying to the God who see the situation beforehand, and is able to provide for us, what is it you are asking the Lord to provide?
Resources used in this study:  Praying the Names of God – by Anne Spangler;  Knowing God by His names – by Dick Purnell;  Names of God – by Nathan Stone; Lord I Want to Know You – by Kay Arthur;  He Shall be Called – by Robert J. Morgan;  The Names of God – by Ken Hemphill;  The Trinity – By Jack Hayford; The Strong’s Concordance; The Complete Word Study Dictionary of the Old Testament; The Vines Expository Dictionary; Genesis – by Derek Kidner; Preachers Commentary, Genesis – by D. Stuart Briscoe; Handbook on the Pentateuch – by Victor P. Hamilton; The Book of Genesis – by Victor P. Hamilton; The Pentateuch – by W.H. Griffeth Thomas.
In Him, DeDe

Knowing God by His Names ~ Almighty 5

Knowing  God  by  His  Names – 5

                                  El-Shaddai  (El-Shaw-die)
*  Genesis 17:1-27 (read this portion of scripture)
*  Key Verse: When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, ‘I am God Almighty; walk before Me and be blameless’  (v. 1)
Today’s Focus:   When we study the scriptures, we first exegesis (interpret) them, then we move to application.  Having a better understanding of what it says, helps greatly in the  knowing how to apply it.  I once read a great definition of obedience, that has stuck with me over the years… ‘obedience is having a good understanding of the instructions.’ We may not know ‘why’, but we know what it is that is commanded of us.  Let’s proceed.  This week, we step back 4 chapters, to a closer look at another encounter Abraham has with God expressing His character to him.
‘God Almighty’ is the translation of the Hebrew name, ‘El-Shaddai’.  El coming from the root of Elohim, referring to His mighty power.  Shaddai is all-sufficient, one Who nourishes, supplies, satisfies.  Scholar Andrew Jukes states it this way, ‘El-Shaddai is one of the Divine titles meaning… The Pourer or Shedder forth, of blessing.’  It can also be rendered as mountain, as some manuscripts have it worded, denoting – the One of the mountain.  The LORD, our El Shaddai is all powerful, (omnipotent) able to meet all our needs.
 Abram is told in this verse to ‘walk before Me, and be blameless’ some translations use the term ‘perfect’,  meaning ‘truth, integrity, avoiding ungodly practices – complete’.  Genesis chapter 17, is an amazing moment in Abram’s life and that of the whole bible,  God prefaces His statements of covenant and promises, and requirements of obedience with (I paraphrase) ‘I AM All Sufficient, to satisfy and supply all you will need. Now, live in that… completeness!’  Paul says of God, in 2 Cor. 12:9 ‘My grace is sufficient for you, My strength is made perfect in weakness.‘   Now see  James 1:4  ‘and let endurance have its perfect result that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing,’ thus having the character of Christ in you.  If we too are to know God as “Almighty’ able to fulfill His purposes and promises in us, we will fall on our faces, (v.3) in reverence of Who He is…then arise in obedience as Abraham did.  As we walk (a metaphor for life) in what is called of us… we choose to invite His Spirit, His enabling, His power… thus we are complete,  (Eph. 3:20).  God also says… ‘walk before …ME’ – not worrying how we are going to impress others… or be concerned with the opinions of others… our lives are to be walked and taken notice of…. to the audience of …One.  All other concerns will be taken care of.
Look at verses 4-7, Abram’s name (meaning… exalted father) is changed to ‘Abraham’ meaning father of many.  Isaac isn’t even born at this time, whom the promise of ‘many nations’ will come.  Again God prefacing He is ‘All-Sufficient’, able to fulfill the ‘I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you…’   I will… it is not of Abrahams’ doing, but God’s.
Study Questions:    Thought Provoking Questions
1. How did Abraham show that he believed God?  (see v. 3, and 23), how can we apply this example to our own lives?
2. When did Abraham’s obedience take place?  (v. 23)
3. When we pray to El Shaddai, we invoke the name of the One for Whom nothing is impossible.  What impossible task are you facing that you can apply His name to?
4. What is one significant promise God Almighty has made in His word that applies to your situation?  Have you done your part in obeying? 
5. Thinking now that Abraham was 99 when God made this covenant with Him, and declared  He was all-sufficient… what does that mean to you?
6.  Does your life give an honest testimony of  being wholly dedicated to the will of God, and walking in fellowship with Him?
In Him, DeDe

Knowing God by His Names ~ Healer 6

Knowing God by His Names – 6
                                          Jehovah – Rapha (Raw-faw)
  So far, we have looked at, Yahweh, the Great I AM.   Elohim, containing the idea – God our Creator. Adonai, our Lord and Master.  El Shaddai, He is All-Sufficient.  And Jehovah-Jireh, the One who Provides all our needs. The order that God reveals His character in the compound names is significant.   He is… 

Jehovah-Jireh (our Provider)       Jehovah-Shalom (our Peace) 
Jehovah-Rapha (our Healer)        Jehovah-Tsidkenu (our Righteousness) 
Jehovah-Nissi (our Banner)          Jehovah- Rohi (our Shepherd) Jehovah-Mekadesh (our Sanctifier)    Jehovah-Shammah (His abiding presence with us)
*  Exodus 15:1-27  (please read this portion of scripture)
*  Key Verse:  He said, ‘If you listen carefully to the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in His eyes, if you pay attention and keep His decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD Who Heals you.’   (verse 26)
Today’s focus:  The first mention of God as our Healer ….Jehovah-Rapha, also known as Rophe, (meaning the LORD Who Heals), is found near the triumphal wrap up of the ‘horse and rider thrown into the sea’, chapters 14 & 15 of Exodus.  Let’s set the stage for today’s study. The LORD just delivered the Israelites from Egyptian slavery, miraculously brought them through the sea on dry ground, (the Egyptians, not so lucky), now they celebrate in song and dance, declaring the great victory of God.  Yet, nearly in the same breath, just on the heels of a spiritual high (if you will) they begin to ..murmur, grumble, complain.  Isn’t that true of us… oh we of little memory!
 Exodus 15:22-26  (New International Version)
 Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea and they went into the Desert of Shur. For three days they traveled in the desert without finding water.  When they came to Marah, they could not drink its water because it was bitter.   So the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What are we to drink?” Then Moses cried out to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a piece of wood. He threw it into the water,
and the water became sweet. There the LORD made a decree and a law for them, and there he tested them.  He said, “If you listen carefully to the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD, who heals you.”

The Israelites found themselves again in great need, yet already forgetting all that Yahweh had done for them up to this point.  If you remember, when Moses first approached Pharaoh stating…let the Israelites go…and worship…’let us take a three-day journey into the desert to offer sacrifices to the LORD our God’, (Ex. 5:3).  Three days in, they were complaining – not worshipping. They were not merely complaining, they were questioning God’s ability and His motives. This grumbling is directed at Moses,  but to question God’s servant is to question God.  Acts 5:4 shares a similar offense  “What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men, but to God.”  

This murmuring or grumbling is a very interesting word.  In the Hebrew it is ‘lun’ (loon), meaning to stop, stay, to complain, it holds the tense of time… indicates ‘all night – that night’, the word picture is the Israelites in a sense dug their heels in, I can in my great imagination see them crossing their arms, and saying ‘no more, we want water, and we want it now’… and stayed in that attitude for awhile.  Boy this scored points with the Lord.  And Moses…. poor guy!  Sadly to say this would not be the last time they held this stance.  This ‘lun’ – complaining, is used almost exclusively in the wilderness experience.  When reading the book of Numbers, the main theme is grumbling and discontent.

See Moses’ response… ‘he cried out to the LORD’, where the Israelites grumbled against Moses.  Moses took their need not their complaint to the Lord, (or could it have been ‘O God, YOUR people… 40 years of this?’  just kidding) and the Lord answered …a solution to their problem was offered, obedience required, Moses threw the tree branch into the bitter water and the water was then made sweet and drinkable. 

The Lord did not stop with fulfilling a need, and healing the bitter water, He laid before them the following conditions, verse 26…. notice the two if’s – ‘if you listen carefully and do…’ and ‘if you pay attention and keep’.  God knew He would lose their attention quickly and easily.  A pledge is made by God (conditional upon their obedience) to always be their .. Healer.  We see this too in 2 Chronicles 7:14 ‘If My people would … humble, pray, seek, turn – then I will hear, forgive and heal’

‘I am the Lord, who heals you’, God is not only their Deliverer, but also their Healer.  As we learn of God, it is progressive in the sense that He becomes more and more to us.  Not that He has changed, He does not, but our understanding of Him, our experience of Him changes, grows. It is not only the physical healing that is ours in Christ but I would like us to look at also that of emotional and spiritual healing as well, healing of the soul.  Have you at times, felt sick in ‘soul’, needing a strong medicine, a touch of the Holy Spirit?

To heal, meaning ‘to restore, cure, make healthful.    One point I found interesting in the statement ‘to restore’, literally means… to restore to normal.  God defining what is to be normal, or of original design.   This is not only of the physical sense, but that of moral, and spiritual healing as well.  We see throughout the history of Israel  (even with us in today’s culture) they went in and out of God’s favor, needing that restoration/healing  of relationship.

Isaiah 61:1-2 says He is going to bind up the brokenhearted… the broken-hearted in the Hebrew denotes the breaking of strength or power of someone…(this in our emotions, thoughts and our will – the heart) that someone is… us.  Our strength is broken, the power of ‘self’ is broken, that is why it is so painful at times… we finally relinquish – we can not do this on our own…BUT –> He comes along side us and heals… (defined in the Strong’s as…to mend by stitching, repair thoroughly, to make us whole…)  Phil. 4:13 ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me’, when our strength is broken, Jesus heals us with His strength.  Once we exchange ‘us’–>for Him… we are ‘ruled’ and govern by His strength. 

In the book of Luke, Jesus is found reading and quoting Isaiah 61:1-2, and applying it to Himself, ‘he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted’ (Luke 4:18,21).  The word translated in the Hebrew for  binding up, (into the Greek) can also be translated to ‘heal’, denoting the word picture of binding or wrapping of one object with another.  In this instance, Jesus is wrapping Himself around us, the broken or wounded vessel.  How comforting to know it is His presence that binds us up!  We see this too in Psalms 147:3, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.’ God is concerned with our bodies as well as our souls.

Jeremiah cries out to the Lord, (17:14)  ‘heal me O LORD, and I will be healed’, he is declaring… mend me, O God, for then and only then and only by You, will I be made whole.  In Psalms 139, David positions himself before the Lord, ‘search me, O God and know my heart, try me and know my anxious thoughts, see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the ever lasting way’.  There is a crying of heart, to be in right relationship with God, Psalms 17:15 ‘but as for me, my contentment is not in wealth but in seeing You and knowing all is well between us.’

It is in these ‘honest’ moments with God, that He will show us, the reality of our heart, 1 Samuel 16:7 ‘man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.’  David again goes to God in earnestness, ‘As for me, I said O Lord, be gracious to me, heal my soul for I have sinned against You’. (Ps. 41:4).  The Hebrew language is one of description, one word may paint a picture, that is extremely difficult to translate.  In researching this verse, it can be rendered from the original Hebrew, ‘I-I said, O Jehovah, favor me, heal my soul, for I did sin against Thee’ , there is an intenseness …  the word picture is the pounding of the chest…I-I  said… not in anger, but in anguish! David is broken,  favor me, and heal my soul, can you see him dropping to his knees, head bowed.  This healing… is the mending we spoke of earlier… it is a process.  As mentioned, the mending is by stitching, how painful is the repairing process at times.

The Lord’s love and favor is His response, Hosea 14:4 ‘I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely, for My anger is turned away from him’ , I like how the New Living Translation words it… ‘and My love will know no bounds.’    Ez. 36:26  ‘A new heart, I will give them’.  There is a heavy sigh, a deep breath of …awe.  God is so gracious, He desires us whole, ‘healthful’, it is a right relationship with Him, that will obtain that.  Jehovah our Healer, in body, spirit and soul!

Study Questions:

1.  According to verse 26, of Exodus 15, what were the 4 requirements God placed before Israel, to withhold His hand of bringing on them what He brought on the Egyptians?

 2.  The phrase ‘if you listen carefully’ (verse 26) can literally be translated  ‘if you will diligently obey’ the voice of the Lord.  What does that say to you?

3.  Look up Psalms 139:23-24, read that aloud.  It is wise to have God search our hearts, can you pray as David did, search me O God…. listen as He speaks a heart of relationship to you.

4.  Is Jehovah-Rapha revealing to you an area He wants to heal in your life, whether that be physical, emotional or spiritual?  How will you respond?
In Him, DeDe 


Knowing God by His Names ~ Banner 7

 Knowing God by His Names -7
                                          Jehovah – Nissi
*  Exodus 17:1-16 

*  Key Verses:  Moses built an altar and called it The LORD is My Banner. (Jehovah-Nissi v. 15)
Today’s Focus:  In studying the bible, we look at the place, culture, people and the language.  Today we slow down and glean from the chapter, highlights to really get our hands around what God is up to.  We have jumped two chapters ahead since our last study, Jehovah-Rapha, the LORD  our Healer (Exodus 15).  The Israelites have since experienced the provision of quail and manna.  I too have had the taste of ‘manna’.  While in bible college, in the schools cafeteria we had ‘Manna Fridays’… meaning ‘what is it’, sad to say we too had our share of murmuring (smile). Let us again set the stage for where the Israelites are in their journey with God.  They have just left the Desert of Sin, and set camp at Rephidim.  But there was no water, sound familiar?
I want to point out the progression of .complaint.   In chapter 15, it says… ‘the people grumbled against Moses’, then in chapter 16, it says ‘the whole community grumbled against Moses’, now in chapter 17, ‘the people quarreled with Moses’ (v. 2).  What a progression… if we do not address the grumbling… it will continue and ‘spread’ from a few people to the ‘whole community’ then from there to ‘arguing’.  When we do not lift up the Lord, high enough for all to see and focus on, we see ‘only ourselves’… not a pretty sight.  In my opinion, and looking at these references, at times to complain and quarrel is to avoid the ‘not so pretty sight in ourselves’ and bring attention elsewhere.  (ah… food for thought)
Moses goes to the LORD, this time you can sense the frustration in old Moses tone, ‘What am I to do with these people?’, the Lord answers, ‘get out from among the people and lead, take some elders and take your staff’  (I paraphrase), verse 5.  He, while in the Lord’s presence is to strike the rock, for water to come out… and so it was.  Moses named the place Massah (testing) and Meribah (quarreling).  Wouldn’t it be amazing, possibly humorous or even extremely embarrassing if we too held the tradition to ‘name a place’ according to our attitudes.  Picture going on a family vacation following signs along the way ‘Street of Whining Pitty’, or ‘Slapped in the Face With Arrogance Ave.’, how about ‘Can’t Seem to get it Right Circle.’
Moses again was instructed to take his staff and use it as an instrument of the Lord.  The mention of his staff first appears in Exodus chapter 4, Moses asks ‘what if they do not believe me or listen to me? the Lord said to him (v.2) ‘What is that in your hand?’  The staff or rod, is nothing of extraordinary, it had a common use, used for varies reasons, a walking stick for travelers, for a shepherd, the sheep would pass under it to be counted, used also as an instrument of punishment, or defense.  Psalms 23, the rod  is used figuratively of divine protection and guidance.  In 1 Samuel 17:40 David has staff in hand while selecting the 5 smooth stones to defeat Goliath, Hebrews 11:21 Jacob while supported on his staff blessed the sons of Joseph.  In Moses case it became a symbol of authority and of awe, Exodus 4:17 ‘take this staff in your hand so you can perform miraculous signs with it.‘  Was it the staff itself that held power?  No, the power lay in the God who instructed the use of the staff.  May I offer… as God first asked of Moses, ‘what is that in your hand?’  What is common with you, that perhaps the Lord, through your obedience would use mightily?
We now move on, verse 8, ‘then the Amalekites came and fought against Israel’.  Who were these Amalekites?   They were descendants of Amalek, the grandson of Esau (Gen. 36:12).  Let’s look briefly at Esau, he was one of the twin sons of Isaac and Rebekah, his twin, Jacob.  I find it fascinating that even before the twins were born, Esau – descendants the Amalekites and Jacob – descendants the Israelites were at war… Aside from the Egyptians, the Amalekites were the first and constant enemy of Israel, this is why it is important to capture their first appearance.
‘the babies jostled each other within her (Rebekah) and she said,
 why is this happening to me?’  So she went to inquire of the LORD.  
 The LORD said to her, ‘two nations are in your womb and two peoples from within you will be separated, one people will be stronger than the other and the older will serve the younger.’   (Genesis 25:22-23)
Moses tells Joshua to select men to go out and fight.  See the difference in the first two victories for Israel.  In Exodus 14 while at the Red Sea, they were commanded not to do anything, (v. 13-14) ‘Moses answered the people, ‘do not be afraid.  Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today … The LORD will fight for you, you need only to be still’.  Verse 16 says ‘raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the waters, so Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground.’  Now, in chapter 17, the staff is raised, but they are to fight.  What a beautiful illustration for us of our own deliverance from bondage and slavery.  Our Red Sea experience is the work of salvation ‘God alone is the agent’, so quickly after redemption, we learn we must face warfare.  Moses sealed their deliverance by again stretching out his hand over the sea so the waters flew back over the Egyptians. (Ex. 14:26)  We too are sealed in our salvation, Ephesians 1:13

And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit.  (NIV)
The Amalekites in a sense can represent the ‘flesh’, one of our first and constant enemies, (see Gal. 5:17).  Just as it was the Amalekites goal to destroy the people of God, at times it is our own compromise with sinful desires of the flesh that begins the process of sin… destroying us.  We see the Amalekites appear again later in the history of Gods people, this time they are told to ‘now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy everything that belongs to them.  Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys’, 1 Samuel 15:3.  This was told to Saul by Samuel as a message directly from God,  he does not mix words, it is clear and forth telling, however, doesn’t there seem to always be a ‘however’.  We see in the same chapter that Saul’s obedience was NOT complete, (partial obedience will always come back and ‘strike us’), verses 7-9 Saul defeated the Amalekites, but captures Agag the King ‘alive’, and spared the best of the animals, here’s the clincher… verse 9 ‘they were unwilling to destroy completely, but everything that was despised and weak they totally destroyed.’  They took it upon themselves to define what was acceptable to keep and what was worthy of destroying.  Think on that, we too do the same thing in our own lives. God is clear, we are not to pick and choose what ‘we think’ or are willing or unwilling to do in His Kingdom.
 We are to deal radically with sin in our life, and have a realistic understanding of it’s affect, the flesh MUST constantly be put to death, it can’t be tolerated, catered to or spared in any way.  It is God’s standards we align to, not ours.  Samuel addresses the obedience factor in Saul, ‘why did you not obey the voice of the LORD’.  Saul’s excuse (we all have excuses or rationalizations whether that be conscience or not), ‘the animals were taken for a sacrifice to God’, (sure – throw God in there, and we are free and clear of any guilt…) Samuel’s response is classic and resonates within our own ears, verse 22  ‘Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD?  To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.’ ahhhhh!
We read in 2 Samuel 1:6-10, the one who was ultimately responsible for Saul’s’ death was an Amalekite, the same linage Saul had foolishly spared earlier, just came with a different face. If we do not destroy the first time, it will come back, it may look different – but will strike us.  So you see, we want salvation, but tend to minimize or even avoid warfare to the extent that is required of us through our obedience.  One resource put it this way… ‘many see grace as a spiritual band-aid on God’s forgiveness credit card’… basically – ‘grace abusers’.  We forget that our sin ‘grieves’ the heart of the Holy Spirit and seeks to destroy our spiritual victory.
Moses, Aaron and Hur ascended to the hill.  During the battle, as Moses lifted the staff in his hands, Israel was winning, hands down, not doing so well.  The rod or staff was a symbol and pledge of God’s presence and power.  When the staff was lowered and could not be seen, it was as though God was not present.  As Aaron and Hur supported Moses’ hands, in the end…. victory!  Moses prays, Joshua fights.  There are vantage points in the battle, that is not seen by others, yet is needed to be shared, as it was with Joshua.  Joshua was down in the ‘thick of things’, God instructs Moses to write down what had happened, as encouragement, yet also of battles to come.  Joshua being Moses’ apprentice would one day take over, God wanted him to remember back on this and the victory God had given them.
Moses builds an altar and calls it The LORD is My Banner (Jehovah-Nissi).  Banner, the Hebrew word ‘nec’ (nace), describing a flag, a signal, standard or pole, also a distinguishing mark.  The compound word has a pronoun interjected within two words… Jehovah  –  my – Banner.  He made it personal.  Referring to a sign or symbol, a cause, a personal cause.  Banners were used to rally the troops together, whether that be for receiving information or in preparation for action.  In the Jewish Bible, the phrase is rendered ‘Adonai Nissi is my banner-miracle’, (remembering that in tradition the name YHWH ‘Jehovah’ was commonly replaced with Adonai, in reverence for ‘The Name’), the word banner was known also as miracle, a signal to God’s people to rally to Him, (fascinating!).  It was under God’s raised banner victory was given, a statement for his generation and generations to come.
In the book of Numbers, chapter 21, the Israelites are found wandering and wandering and losing faith and grumbling AGAIN!  Frankly God had had enough.  He sent a plague of deadly snakes.  Terrified, they begged God for forgiveness.  In God’s graciousness, He told Moses to make a bronze snake and put it on a pole, and who ever looked at the snake was forgiven and healed. In the Hebrew, this word for pole is the same word used here ….”banner”.  The people were to rally to God, and receive His forgiveness and healing.  
As we jump to the New Testament, the book of John gives a powerful image of Jesus up on the cross, (two poles fastened together)… we too have the opportunity to look at the cross and see the price Jesus paid for us… to receive forgiveness and healing.  He now becomes our “banner”.  What a wonderful ‘type’… an Old Testament foreshadowing of a New Testament truth.  John 3:14-15 Jesus says ‘as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness even so the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes may in Him have eternal life.’  Not only did Jesus bring a sin offering to appease God’s wrath, He became the sin offering.  We are required to respond ‘by faith’ just as was required by Israel to look upon the bronze serpent to receive their healing – ‘but as many receive Him to them He gave the right it become children of God’ (John 1:12).
In summary, don’t doubt God’s presence, and allow the progression of grumbling to overcome our attitudes, We are to be worshipping warriors.  God says there will always be war, don’t be surprised by it,  He is also saying He is always the winner!   Raise our hands in prayer the way Moses did.  Don’t give up. Ask others to hold our hands up if we get tired.  As we rally to Him, we are united in cause.
Study Questions:
1.  In Exodus 17, the Israelites were confronted with two situations.  What were these situations?
2.  Assuming that the Amalekites are a type of the flesh,  what characteristics did you glean from this study that you too can apply to your own battle?
3. What was Saul’s fatal mistake when dealing with Agag, the king of the Amalekites?
4.  What war are you currently in, is it physical, spiritual or emotional?
5.  Galatians 5:24 ‘Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires’, the phrase ‘have crucified’ in the Greek is known  as an ‘aorist active verb’, meaning it is the Christian’s responsibility to do the crucifying.  In light of this verse, and today’s study, is there an area the Lord has called you to address?
 In Him, DeDe