* 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

Knowing God by His Names ~ Sanctifier 8

Knowing God by His Names – 8
                                  Jehovah Mekadesh  (Me-kaw-dash)
                                      The LORD Who Sanctifies You
* Key Verses:  Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘But as for you, speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘You shall surely observe My sabbaths; for this is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the LORD who sanctifies you.  (Ex. 31:12-13 NAS)

‘You shall consecrate yourselves therefore and be holy, for I am the LORD your God.  And you shall keep My statues and practice them;  I am the LORD who sanctifies you’.  (Leviticus 20:7-8)
*  Today’s Focus:  Track with me as we journey through and see the Lord  revealing to us more of who He is, the name Jehovah-Mekadesh (The LORD who sanctifies you) truly expresses the character of God, and His desire for His chosen people. This is not in any way a complete study of sanctification, the topic is very vast, but our desire is to see Him as our Sanctifier.
God has ‘sanctified’ the 7th day – sabbath and ‘set it apart’ (Gen. 2:3) for holy use. We are to stop our normal routine, pausing for a period of time, (not neglecting responsibility, because in due time we will return to it).  Interesting, David says of God in Psalms 23, ‘the LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want, He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet (still) waters, He restores my soul.  He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name sake.’  We need to learn to be still and quiet, many people are not still enough to hear God.  We see a progression when God approached the people on receiving Him, ‘Hear O Israel…’ (Deut. 6:4-5) then numerous times in the New Testament… ‘If you have ears to hear’.  Are we listening?  Are we setting ourselves apart, to focus on God, and allow Him to focus on… us, (I know can be scary at times).  If we do not choose this for ourselves, He may take us and ‘make us’ – can you picture God saying… ‘can you hear Me ….NOW!’
God too sanctifies His people meaning, He ‘sets them apart’ to be holy and peculiar people for Him. Remember what David said, ‘He guides me in the paths of righteousness for HIS name sake.’   Leviticus 11:44,45 ‘be holy for I am holy’.  God is holy.  He is set apart because there is NONE like Him.  We too are called to be set apart –  NOT like the world.  The word holy, or sanctified is ‘qadash’ in Hebrew, meaning to behave, to act holy, to dedicate oneself, to consecrate – to withdraw someone from ordinary use.  It is the sovereign act of God, calling us from the ‘norm’ – setting us apart, that He might accomplish His purpose in and through us.
 1 Peter 2:9 ‘but you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people’.  We are to look different, sound different, be different.  We are not to blend in so well that there is no distinction between our lifestyle, and choices than those in the world. We are to remain spiritually separate from the world.  I am not talking about, cutting or coloring our hair, or piercing our body parts, wearing clothing that calls attention to us, so we do stand out.  We are to allow our ‘inner man’ to come through. The inner ‘regenerate, justified, sanctified man’.  God on the outside as well as God on the inside.  When Christ comes into our hearts, holiness enters our lives because the Holy One has invaded our innermost being.  This week in preparation for this study, I looked at regeneration, justification and sanctification.  This alone took me to many verses, chapters and much teaching that to be honest – made my mind sore.  I broke down pages of notes, in short this was my summary, we come to God, receive Christ’s atoning work , (regenerated) clean and able to stand before a holy God, (justified) we now are set apart for His purpose, (sanctified).
It is not easy to be holy in an unholy world.  God does not ask or expect us to accomplish this on our own.  There are many philosophies out there, saying that God created man, patted us on the head and shoved us out into the world and said ‘go and be good’.  This is NOT His intent. To be good is not the goal, nor have we been shoved out and left alone.  The Lord desires relationship with His creation, and because He is a righteous and holy God, we too are required to be righteous and holy. Due to the ‘fall’, mans image and relationship with God is distorted.  We find in the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy  God giving instructions to help  us remain separate. Many of these laws were for our good, for our health, both body and soul.  He presents man with rules, and procedures to accomplish this in us, with all of humanities down fall and weaknesses, He then sent His Son…Jesus… once and for all!  Relationship restored!   We have two options, be separate and be holy or compromise and become corrupt, and  jeopardize our relationship with the Living God.
One thing I have noticed among a few of the saints is the interpretation of holiness…. instead of the meant meaning ‘set apart’ they refer to it as ‘set aside’, out of sight, out of mind, not bothering anyone. Think on that, ‘set aside’ accomplishes nothing for the Kingdom, the word picture is ‘off to one side and quietly watch as life passes by.’  Jesus says in John 10:10  ‘I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly.’  Here is a verse that should cause us to stand and cheer… (raw-raw, go-go, live it so everyone will know- just kidding)

‘when you were dead in your sins ….God made you alive with Christ. He forgave all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that stood opposed to us, He took it away, nailing it to the cross.  And having disarmed the powers and authorities, He made a public spectacle of the triumphing over them by the cross.’
             (Col. 2:13-15)
Oh to gain a true understanding of all that God has for us, to walk in it, appreciate it. (hm…..)  As we minister to the Lord, living our lives before the throne of God,  we take it as something special.  We do our best, using all our heart, mind, soul and strength.  We do not want to be found with a ‘Cain Spirit’, when Cain saw Abel’s offering, Cain said ‘let me do something too’, but he didn’t offer from his heart, he didn’t offer his best.  (Gen. 4)
Pursuing sanctification is NOT self-confidence, reliance or even duplicating someone else’s experience in God, there are no short cuts to spiritual maturity.  We are a ‘work in process’.  Time and obedience are the greatest commodity on our growth chart.  Philippians 1:6 ‘being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you, will carry it out until the day of Christ Jesus.’
Holiness and sanctification can be intimidating, simply put, we are living the qualities that God has instilled in us, His Spirit, His word, His life, His love.
Study Questions:
1.  Are you actively pursuing holiness?  Are you set apart?  if so, from what, and how is your life different from those who do not know Christ?
2.  What is the purpose of the Sabbath?  Let’s break it down even more, do you personally pursue Sabbath time with God?
3.  What did you learn about your relationship with Jehovah-Mekadesh, the One Who sanctifies you?
4.  Personalize the following verse, place your name in the blank… Leviticus 20:26…
Thus you _____________ are to be holy to Me, for I the LORD am holy; and I have set you _____________ apart from the peoples to be Mine’.
What does this mean to you, does it challenge you, inspire you?
Extended Question:
5. How important is holiness in your life?  (see Hebrews 12:14)
In Him,  DeDe

Knowing God by His Names ~ Peace 9

Knowing God by His Names – 9

Jehovah-Shalom   The LORD is Peace

* Judges 6
*  Key Verse:  So Gideon built an altar to the LORD, and called it, ‘The LORD is Peace’, to this day it stands in Ophrah of the Abiezrites. (verse 24)

Today’s Focus:  We have jumped ahead some 200 years since we have last seen the Israelites, back in Exodus, when we looked at Jehovah-Mekadesh (the LORD Who Sanctifies you).  If at all possible read chapters 6-8 of Judges, giving the complete story of Gideon.  I am fascinated by the fact that Gideon was called from the ordinary, to do extraordinary for his God.  Many  experience their walk with God at a steady pace, where some are thrust into a ‘whirl wind’ walk of obedience.  Gideon was among those, one day the ‘norm’ the next, called to get up, go – do – be for God.  Yet he had a revelation of God like no other, ‘peace’, this enabling him to do as told.  Let’s walk this story out carefully, as we bend over and pick up the treasures left for us.

The theme throughout the book of Judges, sadly to say as chapter 6 opens with verse one: ‘Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD’.  They were in and out of relationship, obedience and worship to Jehovah.  Throughout the generations, grandparents told grandchildren and so forth, of the many blessings and deliverance of the LORD, yet, they still fell away, again and again.

Here, the Israelites are being oppressed by the Midianites, we first see this people appear way back in Genesis 25, but if you will recall, Moses had a great tie with these people early on.  Exodus chapter 2, Moses flees from Pharaoh as a young man to the Midianite people and marries Zipporah.  There he remains for many years until Jehovah calls him to go back to Egypt and free His people.  I must point out,  the Midianites obviously no longer hold alliance with God’s people, read again verse 3, see that they are now among the Amalekites… hm… remember them?

The people of God cry out, and God sends them a prophetic word, saying (in short) He delivered them, in return He demands they worship Him, and Him alone, they fail at that.  Verse 11, an angel appears to Gideon and makes a strong statement. Think on this, Gideon just going about his business, (his case, survival) imagine if that were you, sitting at your computer, or at the kitchen sink, or driving your Toyota in rush hour, and an angel suddenly appears and says, ‘God is with you,’ and gives you a title like, ‘mighty warrior’, that would be like God calling me ‘great accountant’ (those who know me best are now rolling on the floor).

I love Gideon’s response, so human, so honest… the NIV says ‘But sir’, the King James best reflects his response, ‘oh my Lord’, the Hebrew carries what is called a ‘particle’ (those small connecting words like, the…and…of…etc), here Gideon says… ‘oh’, meaning ‘excuse me please’, I do not believe it is said out of disrespect, but possibly of lowered head and soft tone of voice.  The Lord sees in us, what we do not see in ourselves, for He knows that as we mix His presence, ‘I am with you’ (v. 16) with who we are, ‘go in the strength you have’ (v. 14) there is power in our obedience. God will use our bodies (the temple of the Holy Spirit), and our voices as a mouth piece for Him.

God is so completely patient with Gideon, as he processes all this.  Allowing him to go and prepare a meal offering, then we see all the continuing requests as he places a fleece before the Lord.  How many of us, have been in Gideon’s place, we hear God’s voice, but find it difficult to believe, than repeatedly throw things out there for God to ‘prove’ to us, it is as He says… like the man who would  prefer to be fishing instead of at work, approaching a traffic light while on his drive to work, whispers beneath his breath, ‘Lord if it is Your will I go straight to work, then keep the light green, if not, turn it red, and I turn here – detour to the fishing hole,’ (just kidding).  We can at times play games with God, subconsciously or not, it only delays what we really know to be true, ‘do as He says’.

Gideon’s response to all this is… fear, who wouldn’t… (verse 22) he had finally realized he was in the presence of the Most High God.  Hebrew tradition was that to be in the presence of Holy God and be mortal man, and to live… was very slim.  Gideon exclaims – Lord God!,  this is also translated Sovereign LORD.  The Lord has his attention.  He is first assured he was not going to die, ( phew!) God promised him peace and well-being, but it was not for him alone,  the peace was to include the restoration of Israel’s freedom and prosperity. Gideon is so relieved and grateful of this, he builds an altar, and calls it ‘The LORD is Peace’.

Peace (Shalom) is one of the most significant terms in the Old Testament.  Speaks of a restored relationship between God and man.  We must first have peace with God before we can have the peace of God.  In Gideon’s generation, Israel knew no peace, because they no longer knew God’s presence. Can you imagine with me, a bumper sticker on the back of a camel, ‘no Presence – no Peace’. The general meaning behind the root word (shlm) and it’s variations, is of completion and fulfillment of entering into a state of wholeness and unity.  Peace in this case is much more than ‘the absence of war’, yet I believe Gideon would have been happy with that, however, God gave him so much more.  It can be rendered ‘unimpaired relationship with others and fulfillment in one’s undertaking’, (think on that).  When you visit Israel today, you will hear ‘shalom’ frequently, used as a greeting and as a blessing when departing.  It has been said that in this use, it is rendered Jehovah’s Presence be with you.

Isaiah declares in the Messiah’s birth announcement that He is to be, ‘Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace’ (Isaiah 9:6).  We see the fulfillment in Jesus.  Numerous times Jesus speaks of peace, ‘peace I leave with you; My peace I give you…’ (Jn. 14:27) and it is spoken of Him,

‘But now in Christ Jesus you who once were
far away have been brought near through
the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace…’
(Eph. 2:13,14)

Peace in the Greek (New Testament) is ‘eirene’ this is the Christ ruling power within our circumstances, mindset and desires.  ‘Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts’  (Col. 3:15).  It is in our hectic and chaotic lifestyles that we assume the lack of peace is circumstantial, no – it is a ruling of Lordship. We are allowing Christ to rule on the throne of our life, being totally assured that He is completely capable of taking care of us.  It is our relationship with Him, and confidence in knowing that our choices (one’s undertaking) is indeed in line with His word.

Gideon goes on to accomplish great exploits for God, this is due to his first revelation of God, God is Peace,  God’s presence goes before us and with us, God’s peace rules!  Shalom to you, May Jehovah’s presence be with you!

Study Questions:

1.  Isaiah 26:3 says, ‘You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, whose thoughts are fixed on  You!’   What does this mean to you, and how can you apply it to your life?

2.  In practical terms, how do you maintain peace?

3.  Upon your understanding of Jehovah-Shalom, how would you describe Him to another?

4.  Gideon had only one thing going for him:  God called him.  What is God calling you to, that may be difficult for you to see right now?
In Him, DeDe

Knowing God by His Names ~ Shepherd 10

Knowing God by His Names – 10
                            Jehovah-Rohi ~ The LORD is my Shepherd
* Psalms 23:1-6  (please read these verses, even though they may be so familiar)
                  1  The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
                  2  He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads
                      me beside quiet waters,
                  3  he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of
                      righteousness for his name’s sake.
                  4  Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow
                     of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with 
                     me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
                  5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
                     You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
                  6 Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,
                     and I will dwell in the house of the
                     LORD forever
* Key Verse:  ‘The LORD is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want.’  (v. 1)
* Today’s Focus:  The 23rd Psalm along with the Lord’s prayer, is probably the most loved portion of scripture, it is read at weddings, funerals, and quoted numerous times from the pulpit.  Many, when found in a time of pain, frustration or just seeking comfort, turn to these words.  As Ken Hemphill wrote in his article in Christianity Today (2001), ‘names are a means of self-revelation’.   We have seen Jehovah as our Provider, Healer, Banner, Sanctifier, and our Peace.  Now we experience relationship, hands on, guidance, and concern of the Shepherd for His sheep.  The relationship presented in this psalm, written by David, stating … Jehovah-Rohi, the LORD is my Shepherd, expresses the most intimate name thus far in our study.
The word ‘shepherd’ in the Hebrew is Ra’ah (or Rohi) meaning ‘to feed or lead to pasture’.  The role of a shepherd is as we would say in the 21st century …. 24/7.  The sheep rely completely on the shepherd for water, good pasture land, and protection.  The only thing (or One) that stands between the sheep and the elements or danger is the shepherd.  I have heard and read Psalms 23 from the perspective of the shepherd.  My junior year of college, the required course Pastoral Ministry, we too looked at it from the shepherd or pastors point of view.  I would like us also to see it from the sheep’s perspective, what the Shepherd is to us.
As we seek David’s heart when he wrote this passage, we sense deep conviction, experience.  It is told this may have been written in his latter years.  He puts into words a time of reflection, yet speaks of a current relationship. The verbs used are present tense… ‘He makes’…. not ‘He made’, ‘He leads’, not ‘He led’.  Also, we see the confession of further relationship, verse 6, ‘Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.’
He too, once being a shepherd knows the ins and out of that title. David was a shepherd before he was a warrior and a king.  Notice the ‘pronouns’ used…. David does not make large statements such as ‘Almighty God of heaven and earth, governing over mankind’. No, he says, the LORD,  using the covenantal name Yahweh -Jehovah, He is my Shepherd.  God does not get more personal than … ‘my’.  Going on to say, the Shepherd – ‘He makes me lie down, He leads me besides quiet waters, He restores my soul…’
David now expresses himself as … a sheep.  Knowing the reputation of sheep, not so bright, no leadership qualities, (they are followers) and ultimately dependent on another for their survival.   David speaks in humility.  David the sheep .. is satisfied.  In researching the life of a sheep (a great read by the way), sheep are skittish, easily frightened, and tend to wander.  They will only calm down when all their needs are met.  And Who is meeting these needs?  The Shepherd.  David is saying, ‘in my relationship with God, He satisfies all of me, my needs, and my wants.’
We see in the following verses, the pro-active work of the Shepherd in the sheep’s life.  Also, we see the willingness to follow the Shepherds working.  The sheep is being made to lie down, rest, he is being lead beside quiet (still) waters.  An interesting fact about the ‘quiet, still’ waters, the sheep will drown in swift water.  Their wool is like a sponge that absorbs the water so that the sheep can not swim out, so they are taken to a place that does not hold a potential threat.  Look at verse 4, ‘Your rod and staff they comfort me.’   One of the uses for the staff was for counting the sheep, many flocks were numerous, so to loose count or get confused, easily happened.  Since they did not have calculators, or the hand held ‘counter’,  the sheep would pass under the staff, while there the shepherd pauses to inspect the sheep for health, injury, that hands on attention required.  For the sheep, the reassurance of the Shepherd’s presence.   The shepherd is speaking to the sheep.  Many shepherds worked the flocks alone, so conversation was quite limited.  Can you imagine what the sheep heard… words of comfort, discipline, chastisement, encouragement, love. 
John chapter 10, Jesus declares ‘I am the Good Shepherd’, going on to say that He knows His sheep and they know Him, there is conversation, relationship, time spent with one another. I would encourage you to go to this portion of scripture, familiarize yourself with Jesus as your Shepherd.
As the Shepherd provides for the sheep, as wonderful as this is, yet there is something that has stood out to me.  Now track with me, this is good!  Verse 6  ‘Surely goodness and love (mercy, lovingkindness ) will follow me all the days of my life’, as I looked at this in the original Hebrew, I was again reminded just to what lengths God will go to, to get our attention.  David speaks of the Shepherd’s ‘goodness and love’, this action towards us meaning … God’s loyalty, commitment… devotion.  But God, the Shepherd does not stop with merely presenting us with His devotion… His devotion will ‘follow me’.  The word follow, can be translated ‘purse’.  As mentioned in a Hebrew Dictionary, this is the only place in the entire O.T. where, ‘goodness and love’ and ‘purse’ appear together.   The word picture described is, God’s favor chasing down the one whom He loves.  It is NOT  passive in the sense, that God is tagging along behind us.  NO, it is aggressive…He is hunting us down.  Ever felt that way? In knowing this, we can stop and allow Him to catch us.  He is motivated out of love.
God our Shepherd provides for us without sparing a single detail.  We are lacking nothing, resting, eating, FEASTING, walking in victory, fearless, anointed, restored.  I would challenge you, go to the back of your bible (or a bible concordance) and look up all the verses that pertain to shepherd.  It is a fascinating study, and just a glimpse into the heart of God towards us.
Study Questions:
1.  In looking at the 6 verses of Psalms 23, which ones would you describe as, 
     the sense of belonging?
2.  In seeing yourself as a ‘sheep’ before God, how can you better yourself in
     attitude, and responses to Him, the Shepherd?
3.   Verse 3 says, ‘He (the Shepherd) restores my soul’, is there an area,
     that needs the Shepherds touch, His hands on… attention?  If so, can you 
     describe it?   Then allow Him to catch you and get His hands all over you.
4.  John 10:3, Jesus says ‘the sheep listen His voice.  He calls His own sheep
     by name…’.   Are you  listening?  Or are you out romping in the back 40,
     and not paying attention?   What can you do to  better position yourself to
     hear Him?

Knowing God by His Names ~ Righteousness 11

Knowing God by His Names – 11
                    Jehovah Tsidkenu ~ The LORD our Righteousness
* Key Verse:

‘In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety.
 This is the name by which He will be called: The LORD
 our Righteousness.’   Jehovah-Tsidkenu   Jeremiah 23:6            
 * Brief History:  The prophet Jeremiah began his ministry during the reign of King Josiah. Till this time good kings and bad kings ruled the nation.  Josiah being a good king, instituted taking down the idols of false gods and a great spiritual revival followed, this was until his untimely death.  Those who followed in the seat of ruler ship, ‘did evil in the sight of Jehovah’.  Conditions went from bad to worse.  In short, God gave warnings, folks refused to listen and heed.  Finally, Jeremiah again steps forward and states that God ‘will raise up to David a Righteous Branch, a King Who would reign and prosper and do judgment and justice in the earth, and bring peace and security to Israel, Who would be called Jehovah our Righteousness’. 1  
Jehovah Himself is perfect righteousness, ( Deut. 32:4, Ps. 119:142,144, Ps. 129:4, Is. 45:21).  In summary – in all His dealings, He is righteous.  Being righteous, He can not overlook mans unrighteousness.  The sinner is seen as guilty in the sight of God.  Hang in there with me, there is hope!  Apart from a substitute of offering, the shedding of blood, as seen in the O.T. law of sacrificial atonement, man was doomed.  Here’s where it gets GOOD, let’s proceed.
Today’s focus:  Righteousness, the word alone does NOT hold the same meaning today, as it did when Jeremiah spoke those words.  In it’s true meaning, it is not a popular word in our culture.  Yet without it, our happiness and state of being is at stake, because it involves being in right relationship with God.  Ann Spangler states in her book Praying the Names of God, ‘Jesus and the writers of the New Testament stress that righteousness is not merely a matter of outward behavior but a matter of the heart – of thoughts, motives, and desires.  The goal is not merely to do what God says but to become like Him.’
Soteriology, here’s a word for us.  It is the doctrine of salvation.  It comes from the Greek word, ‘soter’ meaning ‘savior’.  There is a mind set that has been among us …. ‘if I could just get my foot in the door to heaven, I would be happy.’  BUT, those who think this way, do not have a clue what and WHO it takes to get that foot even close to the door.  Salvation is not just mere fire insurance.  In the widest sense, salvation is the total work of God on behalf of man, rescuing man from doom, the power of sin, bestowing His grace, abundant life to live today, and eternal life. (Eph. 1:3-8, 2:4-10; 1 Pet. 1:3-5, John 3:16) 
Righteousness is God’s legal declaration of the believer at the time of his/her salvation.  Based solely on the person and atoning death of Christ, establishing a new relationship with a holy God. 2 (Rom. 3:21-31).  It is a free gift that is bestowed on us through …faith.  Repentance takes us from faith to the feet of God, it is man acknowledging his need for salvation due to his unrighteousness.
He (God) made Him (Jesus) who knew no sin
to be sin on our behalf, (that’s you and me)
so that we might become
the righteousness of God in Him (Jesus) 
2 Cor. 5:21 NASB  (parenthesis mine)
 Righteousness has been defined in the simplest terms as, ‘right standing before God’.  So, it is the atoning work of Christ at the moment of salvation, that gives us the right and ability to stand before God.  Phew!  just these statements alone have taken me days to get my head and hands around, at the dentist appointments, swim lessons, early morning study, and numerous articles and scripture read.  Sit and read the book of Romans from a merely theological point of view, and your head spins with restoration, redemption, reconciliation, propitiation, repentance, faith, regeneration, forgiveness, justification, sanctification, preservation – (deep breath) just to mention a few.
I feel it is safe to say, as I would to my 7 year old, righteousness is taking Jesus, and wrapping Him around me, so when God looks at me, all He sees is Jesus all over me, He doesn’t see DeDe, no longer a sinner, but one of God’s very own.  Righteousness is not attained, but obtained.
‘But now a righteousness from God, apart
from law, has been made known, to which
the Law and the Prophets testify.  This
righteousness from God comes through faith
in Jesus Christ to all who believe (Romans 3:21-22)
The term righteous (tsedek, pronounced tseh-dek) means ‘to be stiff, or ‘to be straight’ in the Hebrew.  The word picture described is .non-bent or bending in a certain direction, (may I add, the wrong direction).  Before we accept the atoning work of Christ, we are bent (some of us more than others – just kidding), He straightens us.  Jesus is our Jehovah-Tsidkenu, our righteousness, our Straightner.  The word of God, declares numerous times the way to go, straight and narrow… yet there are times, God inspired such scripture to show His sense of humor, Prov. 11:8 NRSV   ‘The righteous are delivered from trouble, and the wicked get into it instead.’  Don’t you just love it!  God is good!
Study Questions:
1.   Ephesians 4:24 says… ‘put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness’, verse 25 goes on to say ‘ therefore each of you must put off…’.   Is there an area that you need to revisit and re-evaluate, that requires an exchange of old for new?
2.    As in the day of Jeremiah, people went in and out of God’s favor due to their lack of obedience to Him.  How is your obedience?  If you were a king today, what would follow your name… would it be ‘he/she did evil in the sight of the LORD’ or ‘he/she did right in the sight of the LORD’?
3.   Matthew 5:6 ‘Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled’.  What are you hungering after?  Do you desire more of God and His ways?  Are you purposing to ‘be straight’ in your thinking, actions?
4. Challenge Question:   Read 1 Timothy 6:6-12, Ask God for the grace to pursue a life of righteousness.  
In Him, DeDe  (Ps. 92:4   You thrill me LORD!)

Knowing God by His Names ~ Rock 12

Knowing God by His Names 12
                                    Jehovah-Tsur ~ The LORD is My Rock
* Psalms 144:1    Praise be to the LORD my Rock, Who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle.
* Psalms 94:22    But the LORD has become my fortress and my God the rock in whom I take refuge.
* Psalms 62:1-2  My souls waits in silence for God only; from Him is my salvation.  He only is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold, I shall not be greatly shaken.
Today’s Focus:
Since this is a bible study, we are going to ‘dig’, go deep and do some research… follow along with me as we explore the Psalms and see Him as our ROCK!
I’d like us to participate in a short exercise, don’t worry – I’m not going to have you close your eyes and picture yourself standing in a meadow of flowers, listening to the soft breeze, (that is for another time, – just kidding).  When I say the word .  chair  – what imagery comes to mind?  Stop, think on that a moment.  With a group of 10 people the word ‘chair’ can have 10 different images.  For some the chair may mean, a wooden straight back type.  Or possibly, a leather brown lazy boy, placed next to a roaring fire.  Mine would be, an over stuffed soft pale yellow floral print, near a window, under a reading lamp.  Even to maybe one, a chair may mean, small – uncomfortable fixed in tight facing the corner of a room.
This is why it is important to research the history, even the culture and meaning of a word for understanding the intent of the author at the time of his writing.  This is what is known as Etymology – the study of the origins of words.  It comes from the Greek word, ‘etymon’ meaning – original or true meaning.  Also, we may go a step further, which is called Lexical Semantics, known as the study of how and what the words can denote, this lending to concepts or word pictures.  Word pictures can truly become … ‘a picture is worth a thousands words’.
This is where we pick up our study today.  In the above verses from Psalms, David uses ‘imagery’ to describe his God.  The LORD is my Rock,  Jehovah-Tsur .  We will go to the original Hebrew, and possibly see the Rock as seen by David and others.
The word David chooses to use in these verses, is ‘tsur’ (or sur), the Strong’s describes it as, a rock or boulder, a refuge, also an edge as a precipice.  It is large, solid – room enough to stand.  It can also be translated ‘strength’ as found in Psalms 18:2 (KJV) ‘The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, (sur) in whom I will trust…’  We will see that verse again.
The concept of the rock as a refuge is fascinating, in that it can imply ’emergency’ refuge.  An example…picture with me, the event of Elijah, (1 Kings 19) he is running, worn out, the Lord comes to him and speaks encouragement.  Verse 12, ‘after the fire came, a gentle whisper.  When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.  Then the voice said to him, ‘what are you doing here, Elijah?’  The wording in the Hebrew suggests a specific cave… the very cave where Moses saw the glory of God pass before him,  (Exodus 33:21-23)
Then the LORD said, “There is a place near Me where you may stand on a rock. When My glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by.  Then I will remove My hand and you will see My back; but My face must not be seen.”
The rock, providing shelter, protection, a ‘platform’ (if you will) for an encounter with Jehovah.  He too can be our ‘hiding place’ a solid form of protection.  Psalms 91:1 ‘he who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty, and Psalms 32:7 ‘You are my hiding place, you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.’   There is wisdom in taking shelter,  Proverbs 22:3 ‘the prudent sees evil and hides himself, but the naive go on and are punished for it’.
The majority of the terrain of the country when these Psalms were written was flat, and rocky.  David spoke of what he knew.  Today if we were to write and describe our God likened to David’s imagery, one might say  ‘God is my steel framed pillar full of rebar, One Whom can withstand the elements and no weapon can penetrate.’
Speaking in architectural  terms, ‘every structure must have a foundation’. The rock foundation of our faith.   Ephesians 2:18-22 (NIV) states that Jesus is that foundation.  HE is the corner stone that sustains the whole structure. The foundation at times may determine a structures ability to withstand the storms, tests of time etc.

For through Him (Jesus) we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the chief cornerstone.  In Him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in Him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
1 Corinthians 10:1-4 (NLT)

 I don’t want you to forget, dear brothers and sisters, what happened to our ancestors in the wilderness long ago. God guided all of them by sending a cloud that moved along ahead of them, and he brought them all safely through the waters of the sea on dry ground. As followers of Moses, they were all baptized in the cloud and the sea. And all of them ate the same miraculous food,  and all of them drank the same miraculous water. For they all drank from the miraculous rock that traveled with them, and that rock was Christ.
There is a theological word… that too comes into play with ‘word imagery’, known as  ‘theophoric names’.   These are names which include or derive from the name of God.  Example… Daniel, – meaning God (el) has judged or judge of God.  Today when deciding on a name for a child, some may refer to a book and find one that sounds nice, appealing or go with the going trend.  Rarely do we regard or consider the meaning of that name.  In bible times, many were named according to family line or as a prophetic statement, also character traits desired in the child.  In the book of Numbers (1:6, 3:35) we find two folks with names expressing God as their rock… Zurishaddai (meaning my rock is Shaddai or rock of Almighty) and Zuriel (meaning my rock is El or rock of God).  How would it be or how would we carry ourselves if we too carry the name of God…. we may not have such names as previously mentioned… (long and hard to pronounce) but we indeed do carry the name of God… Christian, a character trait… follower of Christ.  When a word has the ‘suffix’ of ‘ian’ it implies association with the beginning of the word. We are in association and known for Christ.

A word picture offered from Psalms 18:1-2 is that of the process of becoming strong, to strengthen. The word used here for strength is (hezeq) denoting such.  So it is, that as we are founded on the rock, we are growing stronger, and take refuge in the process.
                I love You, O LORD, my strength
                The LORD is my rock and my fortress
                and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in
                Whom I take refuge.
Much of what we see of David, was his greatest desire to live in God’s presence.  Each day of his life, every aspect of God’s character surrounding him.  God as a ROCK symbolizes His sheer strength, ability to protect, His solidness.  The Psalms are peppered with praise and adoration, explore these, hear and sense God as the One whom we too can run, find shelter, stand solidly on!
May we echo the words of Hannah in 1 Samuel 2:2  ‘There is no One holy like the LORD.  Indeed there is no One besides You, Nor is there any rock like our God’.
Study Questions: (only 3 this week, pray and ask God to reveal Himself to you as YOUR Rock)
1.  When thinking of a ‘rock’ what first comes to mind?  Is it a pebble size, or large and inviting to come and rest upon.  How would you describe the Lord as YOUR rock?
2.  Psalms 62:2 says   ‘He alone is my rock and my salvation…’.  When you are faced with a hard task, or frustrated situation, to whom do you go?   Where do you seek comfort, strength?
3.  Psalms 94:22, says  ‘the LORD has become my fortress and my God the rock…’ now – couple that with Psalms 27:8 ‘ My heart says of You, “Seek His face!”  Your face, LORD I will seek.’.  Knowing at times, it is a process to get your feet solidly on the foundation that will not be moved… what are you going to do about beginning that process or even sustaining it?
Resources used in this study:   Wikipedia Website; Reading O.T. Terminology; Lexicon of Greek Names; Names of Christ – by T.C. Horton/Charles E. Hurlburst; Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon, Theological Dictionary of the N.T.; The Strong’s Concordance; The Complete Word Study Dictionary of the Old Testament; The Vines Expository Dictionary; The New Bible Dictionary;  The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament; Complete Jewish Bible, New American Standard; New International Version; King James Version; Young’s Literal Translation; New Revised Standard Version.
In Him, DeDe  (Ps. 92:4   You thrill me LORD!)

Knowing God by His Names ~ Presence 13

                        Knowing God by His Names – 13
                           Jehovah-Shammah ~ The LORD is There
Key Verse:    Ezekiel 48: 35b  ‘And the name of the city will be:  The LORD is There.’
Brief History – Context of name used in Scripture: Ezekiel was born during the reign of King Josiah (his prophetic messages are dated approximately 593-571 for you history buffs).  Ezekiel was born of a priestly lineage, and raised in the temple environment.  The beginning of his ministry he proclaimed that Jerusalem and the Temple would fall to destruction due to the sins of the Israelites.  Following these events taking place,  Ezekiel again gave a prophetic word, describing a time when God’s 
Temple and the city will be rebuilt.  The last verse of Ezekiel is a prophetic statement revealing that the name of the Holy City would be ‘The LORD is There’ {Jehovah-Shammah}.  This not only being a name for the New Jerusalem, (noting –  most commentators agree that this vision has not yet been fulfilled), but this is a name that reveals much about the nature and character of God Himself.  As Nathan Stone writes, ‘it is the most fitting name with which to climax the Old Testament revelation of God.’  Yahweh, Jehovah desires relationship, to … be with us.
Israel had been known for following and worshipping a God that dwelt in their midst.  In the cloud by day, and the pillar of Fire by night, (Deut. 1:33) between the Cherubim in the Most Holy of Holies, (Ex. 26:33, 1 Kings 8:6, 1 Sam. 4:4).  Track with me as we dig deeper, and explore God dwelling, His presence with us.
Let us again, look at the Hebrew wording… the word Shammah, (or sham) meaning basically…’there’, but you know me, I can not stop ‘there’… (sorry for the pun), here is where it gets interesting…. it comes from the root word, ‘asher’ (an adverb) denoting the summing up (if you will) of where, when, how and what… so the LORD will be or dwell …. in our what, our where, our when, and our how.  I’d like us to look at a New Testament word, that likens to this…. the word is ‘mesos’, translated from the Greek – meaning midst or with…. it is all encompassing, denoting .enveloping from within… Matthew 18:20 ‘… where two or three come together in My name, there I am in the midst of them’.  The LORD is there… can you in a sense see Him pointing His finger… there I am… right there, as He taps us on our shoulders all around the group, heads down and bowed.  The same root word is used in Matthew 28:20 ‘… and be sure of this, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’  We can follow up that verse with, Heb. 13:5 ‘Never will I leave you or forsake you.’
GODISNOWHERE for many of us, we may interpret this to read ‘God is No Where’,  we have lost sight of Him during times of trouble, sickness, financial trials, ‘guilt from sin’ – spiritual dullness, dryness. 1 Isaiah 29:13 says ‘…These people come near to Me with their mouth and honor Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me.’   We are the ones who are far off.  As one author writes ‘when we take God for granted, we diminish His role in our life.’   Put God back where He should be and place the proper dividing lines and read it again…GOD IS NOW HERE, completely different perspective isn’t it.
David addressed this in Psalms 139, he had come to a place, where he was understanding the interaction God had in his life, from the beginning, to his present circumstance, also that he was unable (as with all of us) to escape and run from God’s presence.  Have you too felt like running from God?  Well, put your packed bags down… it aint gonna happen.   ‘Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?’ (verse 7). 
Genesis 1:2 ‘the Spirit of God hovered over…’, God is Omnipresent, a large word for  ‘everywhere all the time’.  It has been defined also as ‘God being wholly present in every part of His domain at the same instant’. God wants so bad to be with us… He has gone from hovering, to dwelling in the cloud, the fire, residing in the Temple, then …sending His Son…And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth’, (John 1:15).  Let’s bring this down, so we can get our hands and head around it….this Presence is now in the believers – as living temples of God. 
 ‘Do you not know that your body is the temple (the very sanctuary) of the Holy Spirit Who lives within you, Whom you have received [as a Gift] from God? You are not your own.’ (1 Cor. 6:19 The Amplified)

 For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.  (2 Cor. 6:16 NASB)
Just as Israel of the Old Testament, the Church, the body of Christ, is also called the habitation of God. He is in me, and in you, and in the pastor dripping with the five fold ministry.  How exciting to know, that God’s presence has pursued us…. may we know Him as our ever present, Presence.  May He stamp us with ‘God is There’.
Study Questions:
1.  Psalms 46:1 says  ‘God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in times of need.’  It can be translated to read… Our God is abundantly available for help in tight places.  Are you in a tight place, and wondering where is God?  He is near…. now call to Him.
2.  The eternal, unchanging, all-powerful, all-knowing, Sovereign God, dwells in us, we in essence are ‘God carriers’.  Knowing this, is there an area of your life, a habit that needs addressing? (I know, now God is really messing with you).
3.  Has there been a time in your life when God has revealed Himself to you as Jehovah-Shammah?  This week share with someone, how the God of the Universe has made Himself known to you in a real way.
Resources used in this study:    1 Jehovah Shammah – article by Scott Snowden (Green Valley Christian Church), Exploring the Old Testament – by Samuel J. Schultz & Gary V. Smith; The Names of God – by Lester Sumrall; Names of God – by Nathan Stone; Reading O.T. Terminology; Lexicon of Greek Names; Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon, Theological Dictionary of the N.T.; The Strong’s Concordance; The Complete Word Study Dictionary of the Old Testament; The Vines Expository Dictionary;  The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament.
Translations Used:  New American Standard Bible, New International Version, King James Version, Young’s Literal Translation, Revised Standard Version, New Living Translation, The Amplified Bible.  For devotional insight – The Message.
In Him, DeDe  (Ps. 92:4   You thrill me LORD! – with Your ever abiding presence)

Knowing God by His Names ~ Jesus 14

 Knowing God by His Names – Jesus
                             Jesus ~ Yeshua (Yahweh, He is Savior)
*  Key Verse:  Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place
                     and gave Him the name that is above every name,
                     that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
                     in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
                     and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ
                     is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
                     (Philippians 2:9-11)
* Today’s Focus:  This week we wrap up the 14 week study, we have taken just a glimpse at the wonderful names of our LORD. I can not think of a better way to conclude this study then take even a closer step forward, and literally stand at the feet of Jesus.  I have had women praying for me, for this particular weeks study. I so desperately want to do Him justice – investigate and proclaim Him as He really is.  Just the name alone is a large task, then add in the power and authority that accompanies the identity of Jesus – wow!
In today’s culture, the name Jesus, for the majority, flippantly flies off our tongues, without a second thought.  For some, they use it in vain, for others, used habitually only in routine, ‘in Jesus name, Amen’.  I have known a few, who see Jesus and the use of His name as a ‘I want it, to get it, use it’ mentality, like a magic wand waved over their desires.   Yet, there are those, to them the name is precious, intimate and spoken with respect.  Here is where we too, stand today.  All the names studied to this point have described God, Who and what He does, I would propose they all culminate into one name…. Jesus Christ. 
According to the New Testament all of God is expressed and displayed in Jesus.  ‘For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form’ (Col. 2:9).  Jesus, Himself said in John 14:9 ‘he who has seen Me has seen the Father’.  In Acts 2:36, and Acts 17:3, it explicitly says that Jesus is the Christ.  He is the long awaited Messiah, whom over 100 prophecies were fulfilled (that alone is a study in itself),  stating –  ‘Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.’
* Meaning and Historical Usage:
Both Joseph (Matt. 1:21) and Mary (Luke 1:31) were instructed at different times to name the Son of God, Jesus.  I am amazed at the wisdom of God in this, no confusion, no arguments, the decision whether to name Him – Amminadab or Jeconiah, no it HAD to be Jesus. There was nothing unusual or outstanding about the name.  It was a common name, and many Jewish parents named their boys Jesus, up until the second century.  In some cultures the name is still popular. It takes the Person behind the name to unveil the true impact of the name.
 The name Jesus is Iesous in the Greek, (ee-ya-sooce) being used 972 times, meaning ‘salvation’. It comes from the Hebrew word Yeshua or Y’shuah, the name in which Joshua is derived. In short, it is a compound name, Yah, (Yahweh/Jehovah) – yasha (savior, deliverer) Jehovah our Savior. The name speaks of His mission and purpose to man kind, ‘to seek and save the lost’ (Lk. 19:10)
Andrew Murray a well known Theologian says ‘a name is a word or expression in which a person is represented to us.‘  The name and title of Jesus varies as we progress through the New Testament.  The disciples knew Him first as Jesus, then the Messiah (Christ). Thus prior to His resurrection He was primarily known as Jesus Christ.   After His resurrection, He often was referred to as Christ Jesus.  Paul first knew Jesus from a heavenly perspective, (Acts 9:1-6) his experience reverse to those of the disciples, he was faced with His Lordship, then knew Him in an intimate way as Jesus. He frequently uses Christ Jesus in his writings. Even Stephen calls out when he was being stoned, ‘Lord Jesus!’ (Acts 7:59).
There is a divine release every time the name of Jesus is used in a godly manner.  ‘At the name of Jesus every knee should bow.’ (Phil. 2:10-11)  When there is a bowing of knee and heart, we are in what I call God space.  The world and all it has to offer ceases to exist – if only for a short moment.  There is amazing power and authority in the name.  Jesus declares 17 times ‘in my name…’
                    Believers gather  – Matt. 18:20
                    Welcome a child – Mark 9:37
                    Receive a person in need – Mark 9:41    
                    Request for divine provision – John 14:13
                    Holy Spirit is sent – John 14:26
We see the disciples operating in the anointing of the Spirit through the name of Jesus, Acts 3:6-7, Peter heals the crippled man, ‘in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.’  Taking him by the hand, he helped him up and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong’.
We are also baptized  in the name of Jesus, this is found in what I call the  ‘Peter Package’ Acts 2:38,  ‘Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit’, (see also Acts 10:48).  Baptism identifies us with Jesus and with the community of believers.  We are going down in the waters dead to self, coming up alive in the character of Christ, we now share in the benefits of the fullness of God, yet also carry the responsibly of that name.  Go, do, be in MY name!
Getting Serious:
Satan does NOT want people to find out about the true worth of the name of Jesus.  He is afraid of the name.  ‘Signs will accompany those who believe.  In My name they will drive out demons, they will speak in new tongues.’ (Mark 16:17)  He knows, so he does everything in his power – so we will not.  Charles Stanley writes, ‘Satan is capable of deceiving you, craftily manipulating you, and seducing you… he’s going to come back again and again.  Paul didn’t just admonish us to be strong in the Lord-he told us how to be strong’. 
We are told to put on the full amour of God, (Eph. 6:10-18) in doing this we are wrapping ourselves in the name and identity of Jesus Christ.  When we speak the name of Jesus and stand clothed in His nature… we are telling the devil, ‘you have to go through Jesus to get to me!  Whaoo! What an awesome thing to shove in Satan’s face!  Let’s do more ‘shoving’… feel free – shove away!  Declare ‘in Jesus name – I am a child of the King – get back and take a hike!’ (ok, so I get a little excited!)  James 4:7 (1 Pet. 5:8-9) ‘Resist the devil and he will flee’.  Most of the time, we cower in defense, SO many Christians are sitting in defeat….let’s stand and take an aggressive offense!
I dare to be so bold as to say, that the picture of Jesus has become so distorted that at times we still see Him on the canvas painting (and leave Him there) … picture the painting seen most often of Him, standing at the door knocking, dressed in His white rob, with a soft facial expression (true of Him)  BUT … NOW…. when you need Him most, to fight against an area that you struggle with …. picture what is found in Revelations chapter 5… He is standing… beside the throne of God, all saints and angels bow and cry out Worthy, Worthy is the Lamb… awesome!  I’m not done yet…. now we go to chapter 19… Jesus is now seen not as the slain Lamb, BUT the Victorious Warrior… (vv.11-16) ‘He sat on a white horse… His eyes are a flame of fire….He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, His name is the Word of God, on His thigh is written  KING of KINGS and LORD of LORDS!’  Hebrews 13:8 ‘Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.‘  Now… Who do you want in your corner!
YOU are a daughter of the KING….  YOU are a son of the KING….  of the Most High God… and you know … it says in the Epistles – that Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father….  BUT —- He does not hesitate to get up… from the throne, and DO BUSINESS!  Ps. 68:1 says ‘let God ARISE… let His enemies be scattered’ as He stands, everything and everyone take notice… allow Jesus to ‘arise’ on your behalf…  speak His name, if only as a whisper, allow it to grow to a loud declaration!
One Last Thought:
 Listed among the 10 Commandments, is the command to ‘not misuse the name of the LORD your God’, (Ex. 20:7),  ‘Lotish et Shem YHWH Eloheicha I’shav’, in the Hebrew, it can be translated ‘do not make His name worthless’.  Stop… Pause…think on that.  May we know Jesus so intimately, His name precious on our tongue.  Oh too, that we would ‘know Him that is true’ (1 John 5:20) may we (know) ‘ginosko’ Him, to become fully acquainted by experience our Lord Jesus Christ. 
I would encourage you, spend an afternoon, thumbing through your bible, looking up all the references that refer to ‘in Jesus name’, it is astounding. 
Study Questions:  (Peeking further at qualities and names Christ is known for)
1.  Look up Revelations 3:14  ‘These are the words of the __________, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation’. (NIV)  Notice the words are in red, Who is speaking and what name does He attribute to Himself?  This name meaning  ‘it is done, so be it’.  So as you stand in Jesus name, you take on ‘all’ His names and qualities.   He is the final authority on any situation or circumstance we may encounter.
2.  1 Cor. 1:24 says that ‘Christ is the power of God…’ meaning Jesus is extraordinary force or supernatural power.  The word is ‘dunamis’ in the Greek…. now look up these verses…. Mark 9:39, Acts 2:22, 1 Cor. 12:10, see the word ‘miracle’ – it is the same Greek word (dunamis).  It would be safe to translate, 1 Cor. 1:24 to also read, ‘that Christ is the Miracle of God.’  Is there an area of your life that you NEED Jesus to be your miracle… call on His name, the power of God.
3.  Same verse, 1 Cor. 1:24, continues on to say that ‘Christ is the Wisdom of God’, this wisdom is ‘sophia’ in the Greek.  Wisdom is practical, knowing how to do something that needs to be done.  James 1:5 says… ‘if any one lacks wisdom let him ask of God’.  Faced with a situation you do not know how to handle?  Seek Jesus, the ‘wisdom’ – ‘the practical solution – how to work it out’ of God.

Extended Challenge:    
For a better understanding of the phrase ‘in’ Jesus name…. go to the book of Ephesians… starting in chapter one, read slowly each phrase where it says… In Him or In Christ….  allow the Spirit to show you all the privileges you now have as a child of God.   All the while noting what Jesus did to give you those privileges.   Continue on to the end of the book, I would challenge you to read it from a couple different translations, possibly finishing up with The Message, to give a devotional feel. 
Personal Note: What a joyous journey full of intrigue, and insight through this study, I pray you too were challenged by the multiple names of our One God.  Continue on.. get to know Him intimately by the names He reveals to YOU through His word… Savior, Alpha & Omega, Hope of Glory, Bread of Life, Purifier, Lamb of God………….on and on.
Resources used in this study:   Living & Praying in the Name of Jesus – by Dick Eastman & Jack Hayford; Article – Restoration of the Sacred Name (Author Unknown); Article – How Did the Name Jesus Originate? – by Dr. Lee Warren, B.A.,D.D.; He Shall be Called – By Robert J. Morgan; When the Enemy Strikes – by Charles Stanley;  The Name of Jesus – by Kenneth E. Hagin;  Lexicon of Greek Names; Theological Dictionary of the N.T.; The Strong’s Concordance; The Complete Word Study Dictionary of the Old Testament; The Vines Expository Dictionary;  The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament.
Translations Used:  Complete Jewish Bible, New American Standard Bible, New International Version, King James Version, Young’s Literal Translation, Revised Standard Version, New Living Translation, The Amplified Bible.  For devotional insight – The Message.
In Him, DeDe  (Ps. 92:4   ‘You thrill me LORD!’  – Keep thrilling – in Jesus Name! )