A Modern Woman's Perspective On The Kingdom of God on Earth

Showing posts with label Names of God. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Names of God. Show all posts

May 21, 2020

The Fullness Of God -- Part Two

     In the last post, we considered some familiar names of God. We came to know Him as the God Who Heals and the God Who Provides. We explored His Might as the Commander of Heaven's Armies and the One Who Goes Before Us Into Battle. But we also discovered that He is a Jealous God who demands our loyalty to the covenants we share with Him; and we also discerned that our God is able to bring peace to our lives as we trust Him [with confidence] to help us complete our assignments in this life.
     Today, we will expand our view of God and look at more dimensions of His Nature and Character. What is interesting to me is that while each of these names is unique and distinguishable from the others, there is a coalescence among the names that forms a complete whole who is El Shaddai, Almighty God. No other "little g" god can claim His total magnificence and perfection. So, let's learn some more about our Heavenly Father...

Jehovah Mekkodishkem: The Lord Who Sanctifies You.  My husband, Mark, and I have had a personal encounter with this facet of God. In about 2012, He spoke to Mark in the middle of the night, telling him that He wanted to sanctify us unto Him. He gave specific instructions as to the preparations we were to make, and the actions we were to take. It was unlike anything Mark had experienced before and he questioned God. "If this is really from You, I need You to show me that this is Your will". The next night, Mark had the exact same encounter, with the same words and instructions given to him.
     It was at that point that we entered into a personal covenant with the Lord to serve Him wherever He led us and however that looked. It is the same nature of God we see in Exodus 31:13 when the Lord entered into a covenant with Moses and the Israelites: “You are to speak to the people of Israel and say, ‘Above all you shall keep my Sabbaths, for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I, the Lord, sanctify you." I will tell you it is very humbling to encounter Jehovah Mekkodishkem, but equally exhilarating to bow before Him in obedience.

Jehovah Ra'ah: The Lord Is My Shepherd. We are all familiar with the 23rd Psalm, which begins with The Lord is my shepherd. He makes me to lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul and leads me on paths of righteousness for His name sake.... It is easy to see Jesus as our Shepherd. We grew up in Sunday School classrooms where pictures of Him were displayed carrying a lamb across His shoulders; or standing serenely with staff in hand. And we are likely to think of the 23rd Psalm as a peaceful reminder that He is our Caretaker, and we are the sheep that follow His voice; meek and quiet, inoffensive. 
     But there is more to this image of our Good Shepherd. We are told that we can walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death and fear no evil, because Jesus's rod and staff will comfort us. The rod and staff are emblematic of the Lord's comfort and His protection in fending off attacks from our Enemy. In addition, He is seen as setting a table for us in the midst of our enemies -- a table that is a realm unto itself; set with the finest china and the best foods and drink. The Enemy and his hordes are unable to penetrate that realm and we are able to feed upon the Lord and His Goodness undisturbed. 
     Furthermore, our Shepherd exhibits Himself as Defender, Protector, and Keeper by anointing us with oil; setting us apart as holy, and rendering our cup full to overflowing with blessings. All this leaves us declaring Jesus as Jacob did, when he blessed his son Joseph, "[This] is the God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, the God who has been my shepherd all my life long to this day" (Genesis 48:15).

Jehovah Tsidkenu: The Lord Our Righteousness. This name of God is employed by the prophet Jeremiah as he warns those leaders who have led the nations of Israel and Judah astray. They have allowed His chosen people to be scattered and have not cared for His flock as good shepherds should. The prophet predicts, "Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.  In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness' " (Jeremiah 23:5-6).
     I see two different aspects of this name of God. The first is that the Lord will come bringing His justice. He will come as Judge, settling accounts, bringing both retribution and compensation. Secondly, He is also God, the Source of righteousness; man having no righteousness of his own. He is the Righteous God who has provided for our acceptance before Himself through our cleansing by the blood of the Lamb. He wraps us in His righteousness through Jesus Christ the Righteous One! We cannot be righteous on our own, so Christ becomes our righteousness [for us] before the Father. What a benevolent and generous God we serve!

Jehovah Gibbor-Milchamah: The Lord Mighty In Battle. This name is eloquently pronounced in Psalm 24:8, which says, Who is this King of glory? The Lord, strong and mighty, the Lord, mighty in battle! Have you ever thought about what it truly means when we declare, "No weapon formed against me shall prosper"? It is because Jehovah Gibbor-Milchamah stands before you, in all of His glory and splendor, and He defends you. He DEFENDS You.
      So to every obstacle that stands in our way, for every demon or cosmic power or stronghold that we haven't been able to tear down or defeat, we can shout that our God is the mighty Jehovah Gibbor-Milchamah, and He fights for us! He stands with His mighty Sword and He fights alongside us in our battles. He is our Shield and Buckler and we declare that there is no war that He has not won! He will not and cannot be defeated! He is the mighty Conqueror and Defender of those He calls His own.

Jehovah Shammah: The Name of the New Jerusalem. The Lord is There. I think this is one of my favorite names of God. When God had reached his limit in regards to the blasphemous idolatry of Israel and His chosen people, He showed the prophet Ezekiel that He removed His glory from the Temple and Jerusalem (Ezekiel 10). Then in a later vision, the Lord showed Ezekiel that He would restore Israel and what the New Temple and the New Jerusalem would look like. Ezekiel 48:35 are the last words in Ezekiel and they describe this scene: "The circumference of the city shall be 18,000 cubits [5.11 miles]. And the name of the city from that time on shall be, The Lord Is There."
     This is such a beautiful picture of God's promises for the future! That prophecy came true when the exiles returned to Jerusalem and rebuilt the walls. And again, God’s presence returned to the temple in the form of a tiny baby brought to the temple to be offered back to God by his parents, Joseph and Mary. And His presence will be established for all time when King Jesus rules and reigns from the temple in the New Jerusalem! 
     We can take so much hope from this powerful name of God -- His promises are never-ending. He is already in our future ... The Lord is There! We can't foresee our futures, but we can trust in the God who is already there, knowing He will be faithful in His promises to us! 

     Together with the names of God from the previous post, these additional names give just a hint of the fullness of God's Character and Nature. He is also El Elyon (Genesis 14:22) The Most High God; El Olam (Isaiah 24:8, Genesis 21:33) The Everlasting God; El Roi (Genesis 16:14) The God Who Sees Me; Jehovah Issuwz (Psalm 24:8) God Who Is Strong; Jehovah Chayil (Psalm 18:1) God is My Strength; Jehovah Hoseenu (Psalm 95:6) My Lord and Maker; Jehovah Nekamoth (Psalm 18:47) The God Who Avenges; Jehovah Keren-Yishi (Psalm 18:2) The Lord the Horn of my Salvation; Jehovah Sali (Psalms 18:2) – The LORD My Rock; Ha-Melech Jehovah (Psalms 98:6) – The LORD the King; Jehovah Machsi (Psalms 91:9) The LORD My Refuge.... and so many more!
     Can you see that most of us have barely scratched the surface of the fullness of who God is? He cannot be contained by one Name! He cannot be contained by one Book! Yet we want to define Him and limit our ideas and beliefs about who He is to chapter and verse! It is only through seeking more of Him through the Word [that we have at our fingertips], that we can hope to receive revelation from the Holy Spirit that will transcend our limited faculties. So I hope that I have given you even a small measure of the immense and powerful God who is our everything. How can we not bow down in awe and reverence?

Thanks to Dan Duval of Bride Ministries for his extensive list of the Names of God found here. 

Matthew 6:9     Pray then like this: "Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be Your name."  

May 17, 2020

Do You Know The Fullness of God? -- Part One

     I want to begin a series of articles that will explore the fullness of God because I have been finding myself increasingly focused on pressing into my Father in Heaven in order to gain the most from our relationship. Mind you, it's not all about me and what He can give me, but more about my desire to honor all that He is. And by honoring Him with a fuller and broader understanding of His identity, I know my life will surely be blessed.
     I would venture that most of us have a pretty limited view of the dimensions of God and His Nature. Most likely, that view is biased, depending on what our relationship with our earthly father has been. Granted, our human fathers can have many dimensions, too: loving, generous, strict, athletic, self-centered, angry, critical, encouraging, good provider .... well, you get the picture. They are usually a mixed bag of strengths and weaknesses that can inhibit our impression of the fullness of God.
     I will tell you that as I have researched how God inspired the writers of the Bible to represent Him, I am blown away at the sheer number of ways He is described. And my spirit has rejoiced at the understanding of these names and their meanings. It has opened up a whole new way to pray! Now I can go right to YHWH's heart and address Him in the particular manner and with the particular name that represents the issue I'm praying about. When I'm conversing with God by using the proper name, I know exactly whom I'm talking with, and am able to receive counsel in the correct context. I believe that knowing His names and their meanings can not only enhance our prayer life and create a deeper intimacy with God, but help us to take direct aim at the Enemy in our spiritual battles.
     So, allow me to introduce you to the depth of the God that we love and serve. Over the next couple of posts or so, I want to share some of the Hebrew names of God that illustrate His innumerable and limitless attributes. And I will share a Scripture that shows the use of each name in the Bible. Doubtless, you will be familiar with some of the names and their meanings, but I hope to expand that knowledge and show you a broader scope of our Sovereign God. And as I reveal more unfamiliar appellations, I doubt that you will be able to read the Bible in the same way again.

Jehovah Rapha: The God Who Heals -- This is a name well-known among Believers who are determined to do the works that Jesus did; to see the power of God demonstrated in His ability to heal through them. Exodus 15:26 finds God making a promise to the Israelites; a promise that is as real to us today as it was then ... “If you will diligently listen to the voice of the Lord your God, and do that which is right in his eyes, and give ear to his commandments and keep all his statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you that I put on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, your healer.”  
      There is no greater "high" for my spirit than to boldly walk into a hospital room where a man lays dying of cancer, and the spirit of death fills the room, and to be able to call his spirit forward and speak life into it by the power of God that is in him as a Believer. And then to quietly leave and hear reports from the family that he rallied and the doctors are mystified!

Jehovah Jireh: The God Who Provides --  I am concerned that we don't see the depth of this name of the Lord. We may often use this name when asking for financial help, and use it to meet our temporal needs. But looked at within the context of Genesis 22, we find Abraham's use of this sacred name to be life-giving. After being obedient to God's call to sacrifice his precious son, Isaac -- the child of Promise and his old age -- God stops Abraham from sacrificing Isaac and supplies a substitute burnt offering in the form of a ram. In verse 14, the Bible reads, So Abraham called the name of that place, “The Lord will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”      
     But there is another dimension to God in this story; it is more than His Goodness to spare Isaac. It is that He saw Abraham's obedience and knew how much He loved his son, yet the patriarch was willing to be true to his covenant with God, no matter the personal cost.  And then God acted to have a ram ready to replace Abraham's precious son.... God saw the need and He showed up. He's not an indifferent God.

Jehovah Sabaoth: The Lord of Hosts -- "Hosts" is a word that means a company of angels, and oftentimes is defined in military terms, as an "army"; specifically the heavenly angelic army, of which The Lord is the commander. That is true. The Lord is a mighty warrior who will exhibit His Might upon the unrepentant, as in Psalm 59:5, You, Lord God of hosts, are God of Israel. Rouse Yourself to punish all the nations; spare none of those who treacherously plot evil.  Again, in Isaiah 28:22, we see that same picture of the Lord of Hosts: Now therefore do not scoff, lest your bonds be made strong; for I have heard a decree of destruction from the Lord God of hosts against the whole land.
     But did you know that Hannah, the mother of the prophet Samuel was the first to call God by this name? And it had nothing to do with His identification as a mighty warrior. In her struggle with barrenness, Hannah had turned to the Lord in prayer. 1 Samuel 1:11 records this: And she vowed a vow and said, “O Lord of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head.  
     I believe that Hannah understood that the Lord could create from nothing. She knew that every atom and molecule, every cell in her body could be commanded to produce a son just by the voice and command of the Lord of Heavenly Armies. If He spoke it, it would be executed and He would sustain it. This was not a battle to conquer lands, but a battle to create something from nothing, and she believed in the name of Jehovah Sabaoth to see it accomplished.

Jehovah Nissi: The Lord is My Banner -- This name is most closely associated with Moses overseeing the battle between the Israelites and the Amalekites as the ragtag army of Israel fought their way to the Promised Land. In Exodus 17:11, Scripture says, Whenever Moses held up his hand [which held the staff of God], Israel prevailed, and whenever he lowered his hand, Amalek prevailed. When the Israelite men saw this, they rallied behind Joshua, and verse 13 says, And Joshua overwhelmed Amalek and his people with the sword.
     It is important that we recognize that as Israel traveled through the lands of their enemies they knew their God was with them; His very presence was evident in the pillar of fire and the cloud of smoke. But on this day, they knew for the first time, that He was with them in battle. They understood that He fought for them, He led them into battle, He protected them, and He conquered their enemy. It was a day to remember! Exodus 17:15 says, And Moses built an altar and called the name of it, The Lord Is My Banner. 
     So, do you recognize that the Lord is your banner? Do you trust Him to fight for you, to lead you into your spiritual battles, to protect you, and to conquer your enemy, the devil and his demons? And do you raise a banner to Him -- letting the world know that He is your God; that you celebrate and praise Him; making a declaration that you belong to Him? He is our banner, and we are the Lord's!

Jehovah Qanna: The God Who Is Jealous -- God made sure we knew how much store He puts in the covenants He makes with those He calls His own. We first see this name mentioned in the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20... You shall not bow down to them [false gods] or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate Me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love Me and keep My commandments. 
     Throughout the Old Testament, God depicts His covenant with Israel in the nature of a marriage. He is a devoted husband, caring for and protecting and providing for his beloved wife. In the person of Jesus, He is even willing to die for her! But He warns her that He will not tolerate her adultery with other gods; there will be consequences as stated in the Ten Commandments. Joshua reiterates this in Joshua 24:19 as He admonishes them to choose whom they will serve: But Joshua said to the people, “You are not able to serve the Lord, for he is a holy God. He is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions or your sins.  
     Do we, in the 21st Century, fully understand that He is still a jealous God, demanding our complete allegiance and devotion? Or do we spread our love around among the false gods of this world -- wealth, power, status, addiction, self? We would do well to remember the warning He has given us -- love Him and Him alone and He will be faithful with a steadfast love. Decide to bow down or serve anyone else but Him, and our generations will suffer separation from Him. 

Jehovah Shalom: The Lord Is Our Peace -- I could find evidence of this name of God only once in the Bible. Yet, I find it interesting that "Shalom" and it's meaning of peace is used quite commonly among Believers. But when we read about the circumstances under which this name of God is revealed in the Old Testament, it carries more significance than we give it today.
     In Judges 6, Gideon is called by God to defeat the Midianites, who have been oppressing the Israelites. In fact, the angel of the Lord greets Gideon by saying, The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor. This is the speech of war, not peace, as we know it. Gideon doubts that this calling is truly from the Lord and asks for proof. God provides the proof by sending fire to produce a burnt offering upon the meat and unleavened cakes Gideon had placed upon a rock. The Bible records in Judges 6:22-24 that Gideon perceived that he was the angel of the Lord. And Gideon said, “Alas, O Lord God! For now I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face.” But the Lord said to him, “Peace be to you. Do not fear; you shall not die.” Then Gideon built an altar there to the Lord and called it, The Lord Is Peace. To this day it still stands at Ophrah, which belongs to the Abiezrites.
     But that's not the end of the story! The word "Shalom" is a derivative of a Hebrew word that means "sound" or "complete", and in its own sense means "absence of strife". The result of Gideon recognizing Jehovah Shalom was that he no longer doubted that the Lord was leading him; he had no fear to complete assignments God gave him to tear down the altar to Baal and the Asherah poles that accompanied it, and to build an altar to the Lord where they had stood. We must understand the fullness of that name, Jehovah Shalom. It gives us confidence that comes from the harmonious state of body, soul and spirit to receive the power from the Lord to be "mighty men and women of valor". We are not to sit idle in our state of peace, but trust [in confidence and wholeness] that we can carry out assignments from the Lord. 
     Finally, Shalom comes from the root word Shalam, which means "to finish, complete, repay, reward". It denotes perfection in the sense that a condition or action is complete. And once we recognize that perfection and completeness are attributed to the power of God, we know we can enter into a relationship with Him that will provide the power and peace our souls and spirits seek.

    These are just a few of the names of God with which we are most familiar. The next post we will explore less common names, but that are nevertheless accurate portrayals of the magnitude of Almighty God. This may not "stir your soul" as some more exciting topics might, but I would ask you to consider that it pleases our Father when we seek to recognize [and then utilize] His unique and distinguished names. He wants us to know more about Him. And as we begin to incorporate these powerful names in our prayers and daily conversations with Him, I believe we will see a growing manifestation of His presence in every aspect of our lives. Be blessed with the magnificence and greatness of our God!

Proverbs 18:10      The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe.

December 27, 2019

A Tree, an Oath and The Everlasting God

     As I've explained before, I am once again beginning in Genesis and reading the Bible through to Revelation. Each time I take this journey, I glean more spiritual knowledge of my Creator and Savior. Words and verses jump out at me that I've never taken notice of before, and as I research the history and meanings behind these new treasures, I am always overwhelmed by the glory of God.
     So, this time I found a Biblical jewel in Genesis 21:33. It reads, Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba and called there on the name of the Lord, the Everlasting God. There is so much in this one verse that I'd like to share. First of all, let me set the scene ... Abraham is sojourning in the land of the Philistines, and there arises a quarrel over a well that King Abimelech's servants had seized from Abraham. When Abraham approaches the King about this slight, Abimelech tells Abraham, "God is with you in all that you do" and asks Abraham to swear that they will deal with each other from that day forward with honor and trustworthiness. The Bible records that Abraham gave the king sheep and oxen and set aside seven ewe lambs as a witness that it was he who had dug the disputed well. Then verses 31 and 32 say, Therefore that place was called Beersheba [well of the oath], because there both of them swore an oath. So they made a covenant at Beersheba. 
     Which leads us to verse 33 and the notice that Abraham plants a tamarisk tree. Something so notable is not by accident. He could have planted any number of trees or bushes. Why the tamarisk? Here's what my research showed:  It is an extremely slow-growing tree and has to be cared for in order to do well. To a Bedouin or a Jew, you don’t plant a tamarisk for yourself, you plant it for the generations to come. From this story of Abraham in Genesis, we get the idea that Abraham planted this tree to say, “for generations to come, my family is going to be here”. “This shade is for the generations to come, I’ll never get to use it.” Other significant facts about the tamarisk tree is that it sends its roots down deep and scatters huge numbers of seeds. So Abraham didn't plant the tamarisk tree for his own comfort or use, but rather he was planting the seed for generations to come -- as shelter and protection; not only for his generational line but for all who are of his spiritual seed.
     I want you to connect all the dots that are laid out before us in this verse. From the significance of the tamarisk tree, we see that the place where Abraham plants it also has some meaning. Beersheba, which means "well of the oath" was founded at the site where Abraham and Abimelech made their covenant.[mentioned in Genesis 21]. In biblical terms, a covenant is a mutual agreement confirmed by calling on the name of the Lord.
     But this isn't the only time that this important city appears in biblical history.  Jacob had his dream about a stairway to heaven after leaving Beersheba. (Genesis 28:10–15 and 46:1–7). Beersheba was the territory of the tribes of Simeon and Judah (Joshua 15:28 and 19:2). The sons of the prophet Samuel were judges in Beersheba (I Samuel 8:2). Saul, Israel's first king, built a fort there for his campaign against the Amalekites (I Samuel 14:48 and 15:2–9). The prophet Elijah took refuge in Beersheba when Jezebel ordered him killed (I Kings 19:3). The prophet Amos mentions the city in regard to idolatry (Amos 5:5 and 8:14). Following the Babylonian conquest and subsequent enslavement of many Israelites, the town was abandoned. After the Israelite slaves returned from captivity in Babylon, they resettled the town. According to the Hebrew Bible, Beersheba was the southernmost city of the territories settled by Israelites, hence the expression "from Dan to Beersheba" to describe the whole kingdom. The city has been destroyed and rebuilt many times over the centuries, and today is a thriving metropolis with a population of over 209,000.
     Now I want our dot-connecting to end at this final destination ... Abraham plants the tamarisk tree in Beersheba  and there calls on the name of the Lord, the Everlasting God.  First, we need to understand that in the Hebrew Bible "to call on the name" of someone indicates a dependency on, and an obedience to that person. You are, in essence, summoning aid from someone who is not only able, but willing, to respond. Here, in Genesis 21:33 Abraham is planting seeds [both physically and metaphorically] for generations to come as he declares an oath to the God whom He depends on; whom he obeys; and whom he trusts will respond. And he tells us that the name of that God is "the Everlasting God" ... El Olam.
     Now you are most likely familiar with the more common names of God: Adonai [Lord, Master]; Yahweh [Lord Jehovah]; El Elyon [the God Most High]; Jehovah Jireh [the God who provides]; Jehovah Rapha [the God who heals]; El Shaddai [the All-Sufficient One]. So, now I would like to introduce you to El Olam [the Everlasting God]. The Hebrew word olam, means "eternity, in the sense of not being limited to the present". But it also means "for ever and ever" or from the most distant past time to the most distant future time. At the heart of El Olam is His continuity, His definiteness, and His unchangeability.
     We get that sense of Him when we consider His pronouncements of an everlasting covenant -- one which is not separated into Old and New, but a covenant with His creation that is represented by that tamarisk tree -- seeds are planted that will benefit generations to come -- where by mutual agreement [through our faith and His promises] we Believers can count on His presence being secured to us every moment of every day. It is continual, definite [undeniable and certain], and unchangeable [permanent, enduring, abiding, lasting, indestructible, irreversible].  He is El Olam and we can trust in Him forever! 

Genesis 17:7   I will confirm My covenant with you and your descendants after you, from generation to generation. This is the everlasting covenant: I will always be your God and the God of your descendants after you.

Luke 1:55   Keeping his promises to Abraham and to his descendants forever.

June 13, 2019

Have We Neutered God? We Can't Ignore The Lord of Hosts!

     Please don't be offended by the title of this blog post. It is not intended to be a witty or clever way to gain your attention. Rather, it is a very real question that must be asked in light of the condition of the world under the stewardship of Christians and "the Church". Let me explain.
     Any serious student of the Bible knows that names are important; they have meaning and power, and are prophetic. The name Abram means "exalted [or high] father", but God changed his name to Abraham, which means "father of many". The name Daniel contains "el", generic for god, but means "God is my judge", indicating that the God who revealed himself to the Israelites is Daniel's judge. Again, that same God is revealed in the name of Elijah, [containing both "el" and "jah", or "yah", a shortened version of Yahweh], and means "My God is Yahweh".
     In the same way, God reveals His character and how He wants to be perceived and experienced through the names He goes by. And He is known by many names in the Bible. But when Moses asked Him [in the burning bush] who he should say sent him to the Israelites, the answer was, "I am has sent you". From that moment a tradition was born that His name was too sacred and divine to be uttered. So YHWH, [or Yahweh, or Jehovah] became the accepted name for God, speaking of His immediacy and His presence. It appears in the Bible over 6500 times according to the Jesus Film Project, an organization founded by Campus for Crusade founder Bill Bright.
     I honestly don't know the exact number of names for God in the Bible, but I see over 20, and the ones we are most familiar with include Jehovah [Lord], Adonai, [Lord, Master], El Shaddai [The Lord Almighty] and Jehovah Shalom [The Lord is Peace]. But there is another name that is important to remember and know. It is Jehovah Sabaoth, or The Lord of Hosts. This is the character of God that we most desperately need to recognize in today's world environment.
      The word Sabaoth is translated "hosts" or "armies". In its most literal sense, it means “horde.” The name Jehovah Sabaoth designates God as the commander of the armies of the earth, the stars in the heaven, and invisible heavenly angels. Ultimately, all things, both seen and unseen, are under His command. Another accepted translation is "The Lord of Armies". This name denotes His universal sovereignty over every army, both spiritual and earthly. The Lord of Hosts is the king of all heaven and earth.
     In 1 Samuel 17:45, David recognized Him .... David said to the Philistine, ‘You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD of Hosts [Jehovah Sabaoth], the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. He appears again in Isaiah 3:15, What do you mean by crushing My people And grinding the face of the poor? Declares the Lord God of hosts, and in Jeremiah 48:1, Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel,
“Woe (judgment is coming) to [the city of] Nebo, for it has been destroyed! Kiriathaim has been shamed, it has been captured; Misgab [the high fortress] has been shamed, broken down and crushed.
And Psalm 24:10 provides a clear picture of Jehovah Sabaoth: You ask, “Who is this King of Glory?” He is the Lord of Victory, armed and ready for battle, the Mighty One, the invincible commander of heaven’s hosts! Yes, he is the King of Glory! This is our powerful God! 
     In all, various Bible scholars note the name Jehovah Sabaoth, the LORD of Hosts, appears approximately 276-295  times in Scripture -- nearly 10 times more than any other name.  Author and founder of In Christ's Image Ministry, Francis Frangipane says, "From the sheer number of references alone, we see that 'the Lord of Hosts' [or the God of Armies] is the revelation of the God Most High most frequently demonstrated to mankind in the Bible". Author Dean Briggs states, "Lord Sabaoth paints God in the bold military colors of a divine warrior ... He is a real and present threat to evil expressed in the ascendancy of justice, righteousness, truth and salvation."
     Yet many of our Bible translations substitute "Lord Almighty" [NIV, for instance] for "Lord of Hosts [Armies]" and we lose the sense of Him as our Commander in our spiritual battles. The Israelites certainly saw Him this way when He destroyed Pharoah's army at the Red Sea. Elisha's servant certainly understood who He was when the LORD of Hosts opened his eyes and he saw that the mountain was full of "horses and chariots of fire". 
     Throughout the Bible God reveals Himself as a warrior; a champion who wars on behalf of His people to dethrone other nations and their gods. Jehovah Sabaoth fights to destroy earthly kingdoms and strongholds, and to restore justice for all those under the oppression of the god of this world, Satan. So He fights on behalf of us as a loving God who wages war against our Enemy. His warfare is an expression of His love and His covenant with us. 
     Yet, if He is the Commander of Heaven's army, and our Commander in our spiritual battles, shouldn't we be fighting alongside Him as Believers, striking fear in the heart of those who serve Satan? After all, we are the living army of God! Shouldn't the kings of this earth dread our prayers to the Lord of Hosts and fear our service to Him? And if we're not, what is the problem? 
     Can you agree with me that we live in a society of "political correctness"?  As followers of Christ, we have made no real impact on the cultural battlefield.  We can't even claim we've won the battle in our church buildings! How many denominations won't take a stand against abortion, homosexuality, corruption in politics, or the deterioration of the family unit and marriage? Have we forgotten our Commander's battle cry? Those who put forth Satan's agenda on abortion, sexual perversion, sexual confusion, and all other ungodly strategies have rendered us nearly impotent in the war for righteousness and justice. We don't fight back in the arena of public opinion because we're only supposed to exhibit God's loving traits, isn't that right? 
     The men of the Old Testament were called "valient men", "valient warriors" and often depicted as "arrayed for battle". Lord Sabaoth told them to go to war! Yet, we of the New Testament covenant somehow think that the God who is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow -- the God who never changes -- has somehow changed!  No! Jesus came, as God, to increase YHWH's government on the earth. He came to conquer "the works of the devil" on behalf of the powerless.  James 5:4 tells us, Listen! Can’t you hear the cries of the laborers over the wages you fraudulently held back from those who worked for you? The cries for justice of those you’ve cheated have reached the ears of the Lord of armies! Jesus came as Lord Sabaoth to wage war on Satan, and to defend those who have no power of their own [no reputation, no rights, and no recourse] in the hope of restoring justice and peace to the earth.  
     But what is our role? There is a time to stand up and to fight alongside Lord Sabaoth's angelic army to defeat the hordes of Satan's army. Seeking peace from an Enemy who doesn't know the meaning of that word will only lead to slaughter. As author Dean Briggs writes in Ekklesia Rising, "Don't be fooled. The promise of peace will not occur by robbing God's victorious army of its weapons... Lord Sabaoth does not emasculate His people to achieve peace. He empowers them. We must avoid human sentimentality in our conception of God's shalom. Peace is not some gauzy, idealized pacifist notion where everybody mutually agrees to lay down arms. Don't kid yourself. Satan will never have an ounce of restraint, kindness, or due process. He must be forcibly restrained."
     Jesus came to restore dominion of the earth back to man, and I can guarantee you Satan won't give it up without a fight! We must realize that we have the full resource of Heaven's army at our disposal. Jesus told us to "Occupy" until He comes. That means we have to be in full battle mode, with our spiritual armor on, and ready to defeat all his weapons of war: tyranny, cruelty, trafficking, murder, pornography, war, famine, and disease. We must listen with an alert spirit for His commands and strategies, and battle plans. It's time we hearken to the voice of Lord Sabaoth! We've abandoned the battlefield for too long, and our nation and the world is paying the price. The prophet Micah tells us "the mountain of the house of the Lord" will be established in the latter days. Lord Sabaoth will reign supreme and we shall never again have to train for war. Until then, we must occupy!

Micah 4:4    Each of them shall sit [in security and peace] under his vine and under his fig tree, with no one to make them afraid, for the mouth of the [omnipotent] Lord of hosts has spoken it.


November 5, 2018

Knowing Who All That "I AM" Is

     Exodus 3:14 reads, "God said to Moses, “I AM who I AM.” And He said, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” We are all familiar with this passage and God's referral to Himself in this manner. But who is I AM? How are we to know the God we serve?
     It should come as no surprise to us that the magnificence and character of who God is, is revealed to us through Scripture by the names He chooses [for Himself] in order to reveal His true nature to us. By understanding His attributes and characteristics, it gives us the opportunity to know His promises and to learn to trust Him. The problem is, our English translations of the Bible don't necessarily make it easy for us to identify the fullness of God's nature. It takes an understanding of the Hebrew names of God to begin to see Him revealed in our Bibles.
     I can remember the excitement I felt the first time I saw one of His Names that had heretofore been hidden from my understanding... It was in Genesis 16:13, which reads, Then she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, “You are God Who Sees”; for she said, “Have I not even here [in the wilderness] remained alive after seeing Him [who sees me with understanding and compassion]?”  In Hebrew, "the God Who Sees" is translated EL ROI. This is the character of God in which He never sleeps; He sees, He is aware; He is the great Omnipresent God.
    And there are so many other places in the Bible that a serious student can encounter more of the nature of our Mighty God. So, I'd like to share some of God's names with you, and invite you to study them further; to gain a more intimate knowledge of who our God is.  When he says I AM, these are just some of the names by which you can come to know Him. He truly is the One True God.  Come meet Him:
      YAHWEH:  Because it was considered blasphemous to utter the name of the Hebrew God, it was only written and never spoken.  The Hebrews represented their God with 4 letters (Yod Heh Vav Heh), which became transliterated by the Romans to YHWH.  This name is often interchangeable with Jehovah or Lord, in small capitals.  This is the God of Israel's most revered name.
     ELOHIM:  The Creator.  It was God, as Elohim, that created the heavens and the earth.  Here is an interesting fact:  The him ending of Elohim is a plural ending in the Hebrew language; meaning more than one.  It is actually this name for God (Elohim) that is used in Genesis 1:1:  In the beginning God(s) created the heavens and the earth. This indicates that it was the blessed Trinity --- God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit --- who were involved in the creation.  They are one in being and character, yet three persons united as one Creator.
      ADONAI:  This name means Lord or Master.  This name represents God's lordship over me; his total possession of me, and my total submission to Him as Lord and Master.  Thou Art my Lord (Adonai); I have no good besides Thee."  Psalm 16:2.  We serve Him as willing slaves.
      EL SHADDAI:  The All-Sufficient One.   All of our needs are met in Him.  God is the source of everything we receive, and it is in His power --- not ours --- that His purposes will be fulfilled.  You get the meaning of this name through "God Almighty".  When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty (El Shaddai); walk before me faithfully and be blameless. Genesis 17:1.  Only through God, the All-Sufficient One, could Abram realize his role as Father of our Faith.
      EL ELYON:  The God Most High.  This name designates God as the sovereign ruler of all the Universe; everything is under His control and under His dominion. Neither man nor Satan can interfere with His authority.  I will cry to God Most High (El Elyon), to God who accomplishes all things for me.  Psalm 57:2.  
      JEHOVAH-JIREH:  The Lord Will Provide.  In the character of this name, our God sees, knows and provides all our needs.  If we worship Him in obedience, all our needs will be met.  The Lord will provide (Jehovah-Jireh) as it is said to this day, 'In the mount of the LORD it will be provided.' "  Genesis 22:14.  As Jehovah-Jireh, God has not only provided for our salvation through the death of His Son on the cross, but He is able to see and provide for "our daily bread"; those day-to-day needs. 
      JEHOVAH-NISSI:  The Lord My Banner.  A banner, in ancient times, was a standard that was carried into battle as a rallying symbol for those fighting.  And, make no mistake, we are all in a spiritual battle these days against the forces of Evil.  Therefore, we must remember that the Lord goes out before us; He is our banner in this fight.  We are to put on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6), and under His banner, our victory is certain.  Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, That it may be displayed because of the truth. Psalm 60:4
      JEHOVAH-MEKODDISHKEM: The Lord Who Sanctifies You.  As Believers in Jesus Christ, we are sanctified, or "set apart" for the righteousness that comes from faith.  We are set apart by following Christ, observing the Sabbath as a Holy day, and accepting the promise that comes through trusting the Word of God.  And you shall keep My statues and practice them; I am the Lord who sanctifies you (Jehovah-Mekoddishkem).  Leviticus 20:8.
      JEHOVAH-RAPHA:  The Lord Who Heals.  Our need for healing, whether as an individual or a nation, is the result of our sins.  Through His power as Jehovah-Rapha, God can cleanse us of our sins and renew our spirits.  He can heal us physically, spiritually and emotionally.  We must first examine ourselves, recognize that we deserve to be judged for our sins, and then ask God to forgive us and heal us.  Heal me, O Lord (Jehovah-Rapha), and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for Thou art my praise.  Jeremiah 17:14.
      JEHOVAH-SABAOTH:  The Lord of Hosts.  This was the name of God during an extreme time in the history of Israel.  They had been repeatedly disobedient and God was about to deliver them over to their enemies.  It is the name that prophets such as Isaiah and Jeremiah used for God.  It is the name for those who find their own resources inadequate in the midst of a struggle.  This is the name of God to run to when there is no other help.  It is the name that reminds God's people of exactly who He is --- not only the One who delivers, but also the One who judges.  This name of God meets our failures and offers deliverance.  The Lord of Hosts (Jehovah-Sabaoth) is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold.  Psalm 46:7.
      JEHOVAH-SHALOM:  The Lord is Peace.  Jesus is our Prince of Peace, Jehovah-Shalom.  He is the One who reconciles us to God, and enables us to stand before Him face to face without fear.  He will keep us in perfect peace, if our mind is focused on Him.  This name of God is perfectly expressed in John 14:27:  Peace I leave with you; my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be fearful.  This is our Jehovah-Shalom speaking to us.
      JEHOVAH-RAAH: The Lord My Shepherd.  This is perhaps our most well-known name for God.  He designed us as we are so that we would see our need for Him; to see our absolute poverty of spirit without Him.  Like sheep, we are lost without His guidance and discipline; we stray from His path of righteousness and need Him to bring us safely into rest, provision and peace.  When I follow the Good Shepherd, surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.  Psalm 23-6.
     The descriptions I have provided for each of God's Names do not encompass the entirety that all those Holy Names mean. But they give you a baseline, so to speak, to begin your own discovery of His magnitude and immensity. And these are by no means all the names that God is known by. Since I first published this list in a 2012 post, I have come to know other names of my God: El HaNe'eman - The Faithful God: (Deuteronomy 7:9). El HaGadol - The Great God: (Deuteronomy 10:17). El HaKadosh - The Holy God: (Isaiah 5:16). El Yisrael - The God Of Israel: (Psalm 68:35). El HaShamayim - The God Of The Heavens: (Psalm 136:26). El De'ot - The God Of Knowledge: (1 Samuel 2:3). El Emet - The God Of Truth: (Psalm 31:6). El Yeshuati - The God Of My Salvation: (Isaiah 12:2). Immanu El - God Is With Us: (Isaiah 7:14). El Olam - The God Of Eternity (Genesis 21:33). El Echad - The One God: (Malachi 2:10). "ELAH" is another name for God, used about 70 times in the Old Testament. Again, when combined with other words, we see different attributes of God. Some examples: Elah Yerush'lem - God of Jerusalem: (Ezra 7:19). Elah Yisrael - God of Israel: (Ezra 5:1). Elah Sh'maya - God of Heaven: (Ezra 7:23). Elah Sh'maya V'Arah - God of Heaven and Earth: (Ezra 5:11). 
     I am so blessed that the Holy Spirit has revealed greater knowledge of who my God is; that I can begin to embrace bigger and bigger concepts of His inherent qualities. And the end result is not just more knowledge of Him, but the ability to love Him more; to possess a deeper love based on all of Who He is. I hope this knowledge leads you, as it has me, to a more intimate relationship of love and trust with our multi-faceted Creator.

Psalm 91:14     The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love Me. I will protect those who trust in My name".