NAMES OF JEHOVAH #1
T. PIERCE BROWN
(This is the first of two articles dealing with some of the compound names of Jehovah).
The kind of God a person believes in determines many things about the way he will live and worship. It therefore behooves us to determine as fully as possible the nature of God so our lives may be lived in harmony with His will and that our worship may be acceptable. A comprehensive study of the nature of God would take a book, but we want to examine a few of the attributes of God as revealed by some of the names by which He is called. In this article we are not dealing with the instances when Jehovah is compounded with Elohim or Adonai or Sabaoth, or where Elohim is compounded with Shaddai or Elyon or Olam, all of which are very significant. We now want to consider the instances in which Jehovah is compounded with seven appellations such as Jehovah-jireh, “the Lord will provide” (Genesis 22:14), Jehovah-rapha, “the Lord that healeth” (Exodus 15:26), Jehovah-nissi, “the Lord our banner” (Exodus 17:8-15), Jehovah-shalom, “the Lord our peace” (Judges 6:23-24), Jehovah-raah, “the Lord my shepherd” (Psalm 23:1), Jehovah-tsidkenu, “the Lord our righteousness” (Jeremiah 23:6) and Jehovah-shammah, “the Lord is there” (Ezekiel 48:35). Most of these names are spelled in different ways as we read of them in different sources.
When Abraham was going with Isaac to offer him as a sacrifice, Isaac had asked, “Where is the burnt offering?” and Abraham had replied, “God will provide.” Here he used the word Elohim, without the article, indicating the all-pervading supreme power would provide. When in verse 18 he called the name of the place Jehovah-jireh, meaning “The Lord will provide,” he used the word Jehovah, the primary signification of which is probably the self-existent one. In our thoughts for today we want to consider the Lord as the One Who Will Provide.
God is love, and the nature of God makes it certain that He will provide for all the needs of His children. Let it be understood that His provision does not guarantee that all our needs will be met, but the lack is not in God, but in us. This is true in all areas, physical and spiritual.
For example, the Lord has made provision in earthly matters to feed every man and beast that lives. If natural resources were properly used and shared, there is no one that would lack. The Lord has provided us with salvation and pardon. Titus2:11says, “For the grace of God hath appeared, bringing salvation to all men.” It is not the grace of God that is lacking, but the faith of man to appropriate that grace on His terms.
Not only has the Lord provided us with grace and pardon through the Lamb of God, but when we accept that pardon on His terms, He promises that if we ask, He will give wisdom needed for living in accordance with His will (James 1:5). He provides protection from undue temptations and strength to bear them (1 Corinthians10:13). He provides a peace that passes understanding (Phil. 4:7), eternal life, and every spiritual blessing we need (Ephesians 1:2). All of this is simply on the basis of our surrendering to Him in faithful obedience.
In Exodus 15:22-26 we find a story of bitter waters that were made sweet and another name given to Jehovah which signifies, “The Lord who heals you.” We are thankful that God is not like some of the “healers” or great physicians of today who leave all minor matters to subordinates, keeping themselves in reserve for only those cases that call for their expensive expertise. There is no minor child or ailment in the family of God that cannot be brought directly to the attention of the Lord who heals.
The treatment of the Great Physician is not only to relieve the patient from pain, but also to get him able to perform his duties promptly and properly. God’s ability to heal us from the diseases of the body, and even protect us from having many of them if we would but follow His will properly is worthy of a whole article. Yet His function as One who cures of the disease of sin is far more significant. We do not need Medicare and other forms of insurance to take care of the expense, for the price has already been paid when the cure was offered.
Those who are teaching that salvation is by grace only should consider this example. Although it is by grace through faith, and even if the doctor should say, “Just trust in me and I will cure you,” he always means, “Take the medicine I prescribe, the way I prescribe it.” We neither earn nor deserve the cure, not can we pay for it, but we must accept it on the terms offered. It is sad the even those who profess to be gospel preachers do not seem to know that although one cannot be saved from the disease of sin on the principle of having kept some law, it is still necessary to take the prescription which provides the cure before one can be cured.
In Exodus17:15Israelhad fought with Amalek and, by God’s grace and power had conquered. “And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovah-nissi” which means, “The Lord is my banner.”
When Moses held up his hand with the rod of God in it,Israelprevailed. When he let it down, Amalek prevailed. Aaron and Hur helped him hold up his hand, for Moses’ hands were heavy. He got tired. From this story, we can get tremendous lessons. First, although Joshua was strong and courageous, and Moses was brave and faithful and needed to fight against God’s enemies as God directed, they could not do it in their own strength, wisdom and power. Not only did they need to cooperate and hold up the hands of Moses, they had to depend on God for the victory. Those who are in the forefront of the battle against the forces of evil, both in and out of the church, need to have others hold up their hands and support them, both financially and morally. But through the fight, and afterwards, we need to know that the Lord is our banner. Fighting is not enough. Paul said, “Fight the good fight of faith” (1 Timothy6:12). That is not the same as fighting the bad fight of opinion or traditions or envy. If we do not practice and teach what we do under the banner of Christ, by His authority and in His power, we are doomed to fail.