The last couple of weeks have been difficult–circumstances and battles popping up almost out of nowhere, striking quickly and deeply, bringing into question old victories and exposing unresolved wounds. It has taken until this week to understand the nature of what I now recognize to be a series of little attacks, an effort from the enemy to create a lack of confidence and a subtle level of fear. This truth became much clearer after having heard a speaker’s testimony from our recent women’s conference. Though the attacks she experienced were not quite the same as that which I was encountering, the scenario was familiar.
Similarly, in the book of 1 Samuel, there is an account of an enemy, Goliath, that daily came against the armies of Israel, defiantly and arrogantly intimidating the troops morning and evening for forty days. Using only his words, he attacked their minds, scourging them with fear and destroying their confidence: “Then the Philistine said, ‘This day I defy the armies of Israel! Give me a man and let us fight each other.’ On hearing the Philistine’s words, Saul and all the Israelites were dismayed and terrified.” 1 Samuel 17:10,11 Although the enemy’s attacks were only suggestions bombarding the minds of the people, they were effective.
But…there came a day when perspective was restored. God used a young man–a shepherd and the future king of Israel, David, to dispel the enemy’s lies: “’Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?’” 1 Samuel 17:26b He recognized the attack and boldly declared the truth, saying, “‘You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands…All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.’” 1 Samuel 17:45,46a,47
That day, David proclaimed one of the names of God–Jehovah Sabaoth, meaning The Lord of Hosts or The Lord of Armies. He professed with confidence who was on His side and defeated the enemy.
Today, stand up. Declare Jehovah Sabaoth. Remember who is on your side.
One of the most beautiful names of God is a prophetic name given in the Old Testament, a reference to the coming Messiah–Jehovah Tsidkenu–The Lord Who is our Righteousness. It’s reference: “’The days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. 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 Righteous Savior.’” Jeremiah 23:5,6 If that doesn’t send a reverberation of excitement and a shout of joy through your soul, then I don’t know what will.
God foretold, through the prophet Jeremiah, that there would be a day that a King would come (getting excited again) and do what is right and just and would save. And again referenced in Jeremiah 33: “‘In those days and at that time I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David’s line; he will do what is just and right in the land. In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. This is the name by which [he] will be called: The Lord Our Righteous Savior.’” Jeremiah 33:15,16 Hallelujah! That right there is something to sing and dance and shout about!
Jesus, the Son of God, the perfect Lamb, the perfect Sacrifice, the Priest of priests, the King of kings, the Lord or lords, the only One worthy to open the scroll in Revelation 5:5, this same Jesus is The Lord Who is our Righteousness. Jesus is Jehovah Tsidkenu! HE is our righteousness! Romans 3:10 says, “As it is written: ‘There is no one righteous, not even one;…’”. But…, “It is because of [God] that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God–that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.” 1 Corinthians 1:30 “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:21
Today, remember: Jesus, who came for the salvation of the Jews, has extended His incomprehensible grace to us, the gentiles (Romans 1:16) and because of His grace and mercy, we may know His righteousness, too! He is our Jehovah Tsidkenu! Glory be to God!
The draw of peace is captivating. A greedy hunger for it sometimes consumes me. I ache for it like I ache for the warmth of the sun on a bitterly cold day. There is a longing to dwell in its embrace, to bask in its intimacy. Scriptures like, “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you,” (Isaiah 26:3) beckon to me and fill me with a yearning for their promise. But alas…peace’s nemeses are always just around the corner and on the prowl, ready to riddle life with conflict and battle.
In Judges 6, Israel found themselves in a pickle and in need of peace and relief. They had been under judgement from the Lord for seven years because they had turned toward evil. The Lord allowed the Midianites to bring their oppression upon the Israelites, and the Israelites, much like us when the pressure is on, turned back toward God and cried out to Him for relief during that time. God relented and gave them a leader to take them on to victory–Gideon.
When God commissioned Gideon with the task, He sent an angel of the Lord and when he first appeared to Gideon, Gideon was feeling anything but peace. In fact, he asked the angel: “’Pardon me, my lord,’ Gideon replied, ‘but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us?’” vs 13a
Gideon’s discouragement and lack of confidence continued and even culminated with a request for a sign from the angel, and the angel of the Lord granted him the sign. When this happened, Gideon, “…exclaimed, ‘Alas, Sovereign Lord! I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face!’ But the Lord said to him, ‘Peace! Do not be afraid. You are not going to die.’ So Gideon built an altar to the Lord there and called it The Lord Is Peace.” vs 22b-24a Here Gideon declared another of God’s names–Jehovah Shalom–The Lord is Peace.
In the midst of Israel’s uncertainty and Gideon’s uncertainty, God revealed Himself. He heard the cry of His people; He called Gideon, reassuring Him and meeting him at his point of need. He did not condemn Gideon’s hesitancy but overwhelmed him with miracles.
Today, let Jehovah Shalom give you peace and reassurance as He leads you into the miraculous.
Some of the most beautiful scenery I have ever beheld lies in Ireland, Northern Ireland, England and Scotland. The vibrant green countryside in each of these countries is lined with ancient gray stone walls, dotted with verdant leafy trees and placid ponds, quiet streams and woolly sheep…rolling hills and pastures as far as the eye can see. There is a tranquil solitude that rests in these places and that sets one’s soul at ease.
When I consider this, it is not hard to imagine the first part of Psalm 23 and its promise of green pastures and quiet waters, and although it is easy to focus on this part of the psalm, basking in the promised peace found there, and even cling with hope to the rest of the psalm, there is much more to it. In fact, here, gently interwoven into this song, is a revelation of God’s character and a revelation of another of God’s names:
“The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”
The jewel nestled in this beautiful and promising psalm is Jehovah Raah–The Lord is my Shepherd. And this far-reaching, all-encompassing name does not just mean “The Lord is my Shepherd”; it actually has an extended meaning. Jehovah Raah can also be translated as “The Lord is my Friend” or “The Lord is my Companion”. When you combine the idea that the Lord is not only the One who gives you rest, refreshes you, guides you, lovingly chastises you, protects you, prospers you, and gives you a lasting legacy, but He does all of those things while being your constant companion and friend, it is wondrous.
Today, consider your Shepherd, Jehovah Raah, and the loving friendship and companionship that He freely offers you, His sheep.
When my sister was a teenager, they discovered that she had tumors in her head. An initial MRI revealed that there were five. The night before a second MRI and the scheduling of a surgery, my mom went to our church’s evening service while my dad stayed at home with us. Overwhelmed when she got there, she shared with the other believers the situation and instead of conducting the normal service that night, they decided to pray and intercede.
When my mom got home, she went to tuck in my sister and say goodnight. My sister told her that there had been a man in her room that evening. My mom, immediately filled with concern, asked as calmly as possible what the man said. “Nothing,” said my sister. Well, where was the man in the room? “Up there,” said my sister, pointing to the upper corner of her room near the ceiling. Suddenly, spiritual discernment kicked in, and my mom asked what the man did. “He just smiled at me,” said my sister.
The next day, the MRI revealed that the tumors had shrunk. A confounded doctor decided to postpone the surgery…a bit after that, another MRI, this time revealing that all the tumors had disappeared. My sister, having had that Heavenly encounter, was healed by the hand of God Almighty–Jehovah Rapha.
In Exodus 15, God Himself reveals this name, Jehovah Rapha–The God Who Heals. “He said, ‘If you listen carefully to 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.’” Exodus 15:26
People often question whether God still performs miracles, including healing: “Was that just for ‘Bible Times’? If he does still do these things, perhaps it’s only on a rare occasion. And what if I ask Him for that, and it doesn’t happen, what does that mean?” No one can explain God’s timing or His “yes” or “no” but do not be afraid to ask Him for a miracle–even healing.
Today, if you need healing–physical, mental, emotional or spiritual, ask God. Let other believers pray with you and intercede, and let Jehovah Rapha do what only He can do.
When my parents divorced, it was a very difficult time. My mom shared with me that there was one day in particular where she was at her end, nothing was going right, and it hit her all of a sudden—all of the pain, the frustration... And in the midst of this moment, falling apart, she cried out to God, “Don’t you ever need a hug?” She said she had no idea why those particular words came out of her mouth, but a little while later, the phone rang.
It was a friend. Her friend said she had been taking a nap when she felt a tap on her shoulder. She thought it was her husband but when she looked, he was not there. She tried to go back to sleep but…she felt it again. This time she heard a voice say, “Call Barbara.” So, in obedience, she called my mom and told her she had no idea why she was calling except… (a long pause as the Lord gently dropped these words into her heart), “Do you need a hug?” This Godly woman, sensitive to the Holy Spirit, came over to the house and, like a loving momma, held my mom as she wept. The Lord heard and He provided.
In Genesis 22, there is another story of the Lord’s provision. God asked Abraham to sacrifice his only son, an unimaginable sacrifice, but Abraham took his son to Mount Moriah ready to obey. As they ascended the mountain, Isaac asked his father about the lack of a lamb for the sacrifice. “Abraham answered, ‘God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.’” (vs 8a)
The Lord stopped Abraham right before the sacrifice of his only son and instead provided a ram. It was there Abraham revealed one of the names of God—Jehovah Jireh—The Lord Will Provide. “So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, ‘On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.’” (vs 14) And it was provided, not just for Abraham that day, but ultimately for the whole world. For you see, many years later, Mount Moriah also became the place the Lamb of God, God’s only Son, was sacrificed.
Today, remember…the Lord—your Jehovah Jireh—will provide. As He has done before, He will do again.
To know the names of God is to know who God is. Each name declared in the Old Testament reveals the very character and nature of God. The Lord reminded me of this recently, of how important it is to know His names and to declare them and make them personal. He took me back to the account of the battle between the Amalekites and the Israelites–where Moses lifted his hands in the battle and the Lord gave the Israelites victory (Exodus 17).
He opened my eyes wider to the passage and showed me it is a place where one of His names is revealed–Jehovah Nissi–meaning The Lord is my Banner (Exodus 17:15). After the battle with the Amalekites, Moses built an altar to the Lord and declared this name, but why did Moses choose this name? What was its significance? Let’s consider a couple of things:
#1. In the battle with the Amalekites, there was some “dirty-dealing” on the part of the Amalekites. Moses’ remembrance: “Remember what the Amalekites did to you along the way when you came out of Egypt. When you were weary and worn out, they met you on your journey and attacked all who were lagging behind; they had no fear of God.” Deuteronomy 25:17-18 Moses makes it clear that not only did the enemy come from behind, they attacked the weak and helpless first, engaging when the Israelites were “weary and worn out”, but the Lord fought for them and brought them victory.
#2. In regard to the idea of a banner, it signifies allegiance–that for which you are willing to live or to die. The colors, pictures and symbols on a banner represent your country, your king, perhaps your commander, the standards, values, laws and principals by which you live, as well as your heritage and legacy. Basically, in a nutshell, the banner proclaims your identity.
Altogether, perhaps the significance in Moses’ declaration is this: “You are my God–the one who fights for me, the one who gives me victory over my enemies. My allegiance is to you alone, my king, my commander, my protector. You are my legacy. My life and my identity are found in You alone, Jehovah Nissi.”
Today, declare Jehovah Nissi, the one who fights your battles, your protector…the one in whom you find your identity.