The Names of God
Invariably, the first question we put to someone new in our lives is “what is your name?” I like to find out the name, for then I can begin to pray for that person, interceding and asking Gods blessing to rest on them and so on. My Sermon today entitled “The Names of God” is a study of the titles and characteristics of his names – which when we grasp an understanding of them, they become a revelation of God Himself.
In Israel, God was sometimes called The Seven. The seven names for the God of Israel over which the writers had to exercise particular care were:
Eloah (meaning God singular), Elohim ( a plural noun meaning God and thus explaining that God is plural “Three in One”), Adonai (meaning My Lord), Ehyeh-Asher-Ehyeh (meaning I am that I am), Yahweh (meaning Jehovah and the titles associated with Yahweh,
El Shaddai (meaning God Almighty) and Yahweh-Tzevaot (meaning God of Hosts or armies)
In the writings of Daniel, God was known as
Elah-avahati, God of my fathers, (Daniel 2:23)
Elah Elahin, God of gods (Daniel 2:47)
Elah Yerushelem, God of Jerusalem (Ezra 7:19)
Elah Yisrael, God of Israel (Ezra 5:1)
Elah Shemaya, God of Heaven (Ezra 7:23)
These names and titles enable us to grasp a wider concept of who God really is, but today I wish to focus my attention on those names which were associated with Yahweh.
The word Yahweh which means Jehovah, is usually translated in most “English” versions of the Bible as Lord, and printed in capital letters – LORD.
these are …
Jehovah-Yireh (Adonai-jireh)—”The LORD will provide”
Jehovah-Rapha—”The LORD that healeth”
Jehovah-Niss’i (Adonai-Nissi)—”The LORD our Banner”
Jehovah-Shalom—”The LORD our Peace”
Jehovah-Ro’i—”The LORD my Shepherd”
Jehovah-Tsidkenu—”The LORD our Righteousness”
Jehovah-Shammah (Adonai-shammah)—”The LORD is present”
In Exodus 6: verse 3 God tells Moses that “He appeared unto Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, (El Shaddai) but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them”. In Other words they knew me only as the God of Power, the God of Strength, the God of Ability, El Shaddai -the All Mighty God, … now I want you Moses and the Israelites held in slavery and bondage in Egypt, to know me as Jehovah,
to see me in another light, a new light! Now, God wanted to relate to them differently than before, it was all about relationship.
On her recent 60th Jubilee Celebrations, Prince Charles referred to the Queen as “Mammy” because HE and not WE relates to her in that role. But WE know her in a variety of other roles.
Understanding that Queen Elizabeth 2nd is Sovereign Monarch, over Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Head of the Nations of the commonwealth, she also fulfils many and various other roles. She is First and foremost a Wife and a
Mother, she is a Grandmother and a Great Grandmother, Head of the Church of England or Anglican Communion of Churches, and Defender of the Protestant Faith. She is Patron of several of the Arts, she is Colonel, or Commander in Chief of most of the British and Commonwealth Military – Army, Navy and Air Forces. She is an honorary member of the Institute of Civil Engineers and holds honorary degrees in law and medicine, and to top all this, is also a dedicated follower of fashion; and did you know that they call her Missis Queen in Jamaica? (they do!) She is all of those things and more, and yet still remains “Charles’ Mammy”. That’s how He relates to her.
In the same way, God is “enthroned” in heaven, ALWAYS,
in eternity past and eternity future, in the present and in our times, and in our today’s and our tomorrow’s. But God has differing and various roles into which he is able to co-exist at one and the same time. In these He differs greatly from the Queen. God can be in Heaven, and God can be in your Church and God can be in my Home and in my Heart – all at the same time –
God is omnipresent – present everywhere.
So for the purpose of today’s study, I want to focus on those names of God associated with the word Jehovah.
First of all we will focus on the name:
Jehovah-Yireh (Adonai-jireh)—”The LORD will provide” taken from Gen 22:13-14 where we read …
“And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold, behind him a ram caught in the thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son Isaac. And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah–jireh: as it is said to
this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be provided”
This was a time of great testing for Abraham, God had to prove the man, and prove his faith. God had to be sure that his confidence was not simply about “talk” but about “walk”? In the same way God puts many and most of his children through times of testing in order to prove and perfect their faith. Here Abraham was being asked to kill his Son Isaac. Yet at the same time this was the Son of promise. For God had promised that through this child would Abraham’s descendants become as the stars of the heavens.
The writer to the Hebrews reminds us that Abraham believed that even if he did kill the boy, God could still keep his word and raise him up back again to life. So he raised the knife to slay the boy and in that moment God stopped him and provided a “ram caught in the thicket behind him” for the sacrifice instead.
Jehovah–jireh means God will provide, and this is the very nature of God who lavishly gives us all good things to enjoy and to enrich our lives. If all looks like death around you right now, remember that God is the one who can bring life out of dry bones, and hope out of the deepest despair.
He is a very present help in times of trouble.
Lets consider another name:
Jehovah-Rapha—”The LORD that healeth” taken from Exodus 15:26 where God said, …
“If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his eyes, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put
none of the diseases upon thee, which I have put upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee.”
Essentially God was telling the people through Moses that if they will walk with Him in holiness, then they will walk in health and happiness also. You see God is concerned about our holiness, … He has been from the very beginning, yet these wayward and disobedient children of Israel, proved that holiness by self effort was and is impossible. That’s why God sent Jesus, to be OUR holiness. When we walk in Jesus, trusting Him as our Sin bearer and Saviour, we will also walk in happiness and healthiness, for the Lord is our healer still. The happiness and healthiness flow from the holiness we enjoy in Him. Praise God for evermore. It is when we walk apart from him or in disobedience to him, or in ignorance of him, that we leave the way open for all kinds
of sickness and pain to strike at us. It is only His Grace that can enable us to walk as we should, free from sin, free from care and worry, and free from pain and sickness. If you are not walking by his grace, then he cannot be your healer.
Then there is the name:
Jehovah-Nissi (Adonai-Nissi)—”The LORD our Banner” which comes from Exodus 17: 8-15 where we read, …
“Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim. And Moses said unto Joshua, Choose us out men, and go out, fight with Amalek: tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in mine hand. So Joshua did as Moses had said to him, and fought with Amalek: and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed:
and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed.
But Moses’ hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. And Joshua discomfited Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword. And the LORD said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua: that I will utterly blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven. And Moses built an altar there, and called the name of it Jehovah–nissi:” The Lord our Banner.
Here in Northern Ireland, Banners and Flags seem to have a significant importance for most, yet as many of you have discovered, regardless of how loyal you may be to your country or to your flag, there inevitably comes a point for all, when you feel let down, or betrayed by your flag, by your government, or by your fellow-countrymen. Such is human-nature, which is why for me, my loyalties can lie only in the flag of Heaven. (A blood stained banner which carries only one word, the word LOVE) The Cross of Jesus Christ in undeniable and unmistakable proof if proof were needed that God loves us and that he cannot, and will not fail us.
When our whole world was headed to Hell for its disobedience,
when God was even sorry that he had made us at all,
Jesus stepped up to the Cross, in Love He laid down his life, stained the earth with his blood, and made us all “the righteousness of God”. God so loved the world. That’s why LOVE is the flag flying high from the castle of my heart, for the King is in residence there. Jehovah-Nissi – Is the Lord your Banner, your Flag? Have you given him love for love?
One of my favourite names is:
Jehovah-Shalom—”The LORD our Peace”
from Judges 6:22-24 where we read the story of Gideon
and the Angel: we read there…
“And Gideon saw that this was the angel of the LORD; and Gideon said, Alas, O Lord GOD! forasmuch as I have seen the angel of the LORD face to face. And the LORD said unto him, Peace be unto thee; fear not: thou shalt not die. Then Gideon built an altar there unto the LORD, and called it Jehovah–shalom:”
Gideon was a mighty man in the eye of God, but he had very
low self esteem in is own eye. He was fearful for the future of
his family and his nation, yet one day in this story God sent him an Angel, whose intervention in his life removed his fears and replaced them with “the peace of God”. If you go today to the land of Israel, most will greet you there with the word “Shalom” meaning peace. But this word means more than peace, it means prosperity, it means rest, it means comfort – and the Apostle Paul writing to the Philippian Church says
“And the Peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus“. (Phil 4:7) and if Paul could not understand it, I recon I cannot fully understand it either, Yet you don’t have to understand it to enjoy it. Jehovah-Shalom – God our peace.
When Gods Peace reigns in your heart, nothing disturbs or distresses you any longer. Lord Jesus bring us there.
Another familiar name is:
Jehovah-Ro’i—”The LORD my Shepherd” from Psalm 23
“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still
waters… ” Christians all over the world know this Psalm better than any other, for they can identify with the sentiments expressed therein by David the youngest son of Jesse. I have preached many sermons from these precious words and in doing so, have both comforted and challenged my own heart as well as my listeners. One thought rises to the surface above all others that come from these verses, and the thought comes from the Parable which Jesus told about the Lost Sheep in Luke 15. Here Jesus likened that sheep to a “repentant sinner” yet we all know that a sheep is incapable of actual repentance – but if you think about it, what the sheep actually did was allow itself to be found, to be lifted, and to be carried by the Shepherd – and that’s repentance!
Some among you may think that I don’t speak about repentance often enough in these broadcasts, but repentance is not about telling people to repent, repentance is about offering people another way to live. Repentance is about a change of heart and a change of direction, a change of mind;
but what are we changing our minds from, and what are we changing our minds to? We dare not tell people to change – until we show them the purpose for change, the road to change and the benefits of change. Thank God I can tell people that there is a Shepherd in search of them, who will lift them out of every pit, and carry them all the way home.
Praise God – The Lord is my Shepherd.
New Testament Theology appreciates the term:
Jehovah-Tsidkenu—”The LORD our Righteousness” where Jeremiah 23: 5&6 prophesies of the Messiah.
“Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto
David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute judgment and justice in the land. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, The LORD is our righteousness”. Once we as Christians grasp this glorious truth that our own righteousness, and our own efforts, and our own religious observance will not do, and once we lay hold of the righteousness which is freely offered us in Christ, then we have truly gotten the message and meaning of the Gospel – The Lord is our Righteousness.
And Finally a comforting name:
Jehovah-Shammah or (Adonai-shammah)—meaning
“The LORD is present” where the prophet Ezekiel is talking of the city of Jerusalem, in chapter 48 verses 30-35; we read…
“And these are the goings out of the city; on the north side four thousand and five hundred reeds by measure: and the gates of the city shall be after the names of the tribes of Israel; three gates northward: the gate of Reuben, one; the gate of Judah, one; the gate of Levi, one: And at the east side four thousand and five hundred reeds; and three gates: even the gate of Joseph, one; the gate of Benjamin, one; the gate of Dan, one: And at the south side four thousand and five hundred reeds by measure; and three gates: the gate of Simeon, one; the gate of Issachar, one; the gate of Zebulun, one. At the west side four thousand and five hundred reeds, with their three gates: the gate of Gad, one; the gate of Asher, one; the gate of Naphtali, one. It shall be eighteen thousand reeds round about: and the name of the city from that day shall be,
The LORD is there. (the Lord is Present) Jeru-Salem.
There are many wonderful gifts that God has given to his Church, many wonderful graces which are afforded his children, and many glorious prospects awaiting the redeemed in heaven – but one blessing above all others must be the very presence of God among us. It was there at the beginning in the Garden when God created man. It was there in Israel when Moses led the people through the wilderness to the land of promise, in a pillar of cloud and a pillar of fire. It was there in the Ark of the Covenant and there in the Holy of Holies in the great tabernacle and temple, – Jehovah-Shammah – Immanuel, God with us at Bethlehem and here and now with us and in us in the person, power and presence of the Holy Spirit. The hymn writer could say: “And He walks with me and talks with me, and He tells me I am his own, and the joy we share as we tarry there none other has ever known”.
NOW THIS FINAL WORD
My Intention in today’s study is to help you to understand that in JESUS (that name means Emanuel – God with us) we have the embodiment of every one of the names of God. So that if you need provision, – you can call on Jesus, if you need a healing, – call on Jesus, if you need peace in the midst of your storm, – then call on Jesus. If you need protection, love, justice and the presence of God in your life, then you can call on Jesus, (morning, noon or night) and in Jesus you have everything that God promised and provided throughout the pages of Biblical History. If you need lifting and carrying, then call on Jesus for Jesus said:
“He who has seen me has seen the Father” John 14:9, and “I and the Father are one” John 10:30.
God has given to Him, a name which is above every other name. Praise God for evermore.
In Jesus God came to live with us, and in the Holy Spirit, God came to live in us.
Does He live in You? God Bless You… Amen.