As we endure through 2020, each day brings new challenges. With the arrival of Covid-19, the world went into places we haven’t really seen in a hundred years since the Spanish Flu or the Bubonic… More
One of my favourite superheroes is none other than the man of steel, Superman. He is so powerful, yet so vulnerable. In watching some of the media on Superman, we learn of the special place his father prepared for him, the Fortress of Solitude. It was a place of solace, security, revelation and so much more. Often we found Superman in need of refreshing, in need of wisdom and he traveled to the safety of that fortress. King David also had this revelation of what a fortress was. For a man of war, he certainly had his share of interactions of both residing in and conquering fortresses. Beyond the natural realm he also realized that God was a fortress to him. So let’s explore another name of God, Jehovah Metshodhathi, My Fortress.
Psalms 18:2 (2 Samuel 22:2)
“The LORD is my rock and my fortress (Metshodhathi) and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold”
David was in thanksgiving while writing this Psalm. He combined multiple attributes of God together in one sweeping statement. Many of these overlap and build upon each other but they also have independent elements of significance.
A few years ago, while on a cruise, we had the opportunity to port at the beautiful city of San Juan. Old San Juan is a smaller city and could be walked around in the course of a day. It’s shoreline was breathtaking, the beautiful colours of the buildings and the highlight of San Juan, the fortresses. Castillo San Cristóbal and El Morro, are fortresses built by Spain to protect against land-based attacks and key military location in the Caribbean spanning over 70 acres. Castillo San Cristóbal is the largest fortification built by the Spanish. Equipped with towers, bunkers and supplies it housed 1000’s for long periods of time. It was truly a sight to be seen. Spending the day walking around it, really gave me a new appreciation for what Jehovah Metshodhathi is to me.
When looking up the word Fortress. I love the dictionary definition by Webster. 1. Any fortified place; a fort; a castle; a strong hold; a place of defense or security.
Fortresses were often built on hills, cliffs and mountain sides. They wanted the high ground for the advantage of military operations. Fortress walls were tall and often just as wide, sometimes exceeding great lengths of 40+ feet. They were commonly layered so that if one wall was breached that another interior wall would still be there protecting. These were war machines defending territories and solidifying rule.
So when David spoke of God as Metshodhathi, it was a lot and it means a lot to us as well. Have you ever needed to a place to feel secure in the midst of your enemies. In Psalm 23:5 it states, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil, my cup overflows.” You could certainly be having a feast inside the fortress while your enemies surround your walls.
Communities were protected by fortresses. In time of trouble they would gather within its walls. It was a place of strength for individuals, families and regions. They spoke volumes to those wishing to prey on the innocent. God is revealing his character to us as a Fortress. We can confidently go to him in prayer and ask for his devine help as a fortress in our lives.
Father God I thank you that you are my Metshodhathi, my Fortress. You are my strong safe place in times of uncertainty. When the enemy encircles me, I can run to you for protection. I know that I can sleep in peace within the loving walls of your arms. I pray for your sustaining endurance to uphold me, and provide for me in life’s storms. I thank you that you send forth your arrows from the towers into the enemies camp.
We hear slogans all the time about rocks. “Like a Rock” is just one of them. Growing up, I often heard a phrase about the “Rock of Gibraltar.” It was always mentioned as being really solid, wasn’t gonna be destroyed and last throughout the storms of life. I decided to look up what Gibraltar is actually made of and found that it was made of “Monolithic Limestone.” Limestone is a porous sediment that mixes with other sediments and varies in strength accordingly.
Gibraltar is an extension of land on the straight of Gibraltar. This straight is the only entrance to the Mediterranean Sea from the Atlantic Ocean. The importance of this location has been critical to the region from either a protecting or conquering position. As a result, Gibraltar is a heavily fortified British air and naval base that guards the Strait of Gibraltar. Since the 18th century, Gibraltar has been a symbol of British naval strength, and it is commonly known as “the Rock.” So It was a combination of strength via location, fortification, rock, defense and towering height that makes this place so formidable.
You know who else is formidable?
You got it! My God, and one of His names is Jehovah Sali, “The Rock.”
There’s a passage of scripture in Psalms 18:2 that makes mention of 6 names of God in itself. That’s a pretty powerful passage. We learned about one of those previously as Jehovah Keren-Yish’I (Horn of my Salvation), so we are going to spend a few discussions breaking down the other names found here, starting with “Sali.”
Psalms 18:2 (2 Samuel 22:2)
“The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold”
This passage in Psalms is actually taken from the life of David in 2nd Samuel. It’s a song of praise and thanksgiving to God by David after a long journey. Many of us know of the great victories of David, like the slaying Goliath and the heathen nations, but the Bible is full of the struggles of David. Almost immediately after his fight with Goliath, he was seen as a threat to the king, Saul. Saul went on to try to kill him. David had to flee his home, and his wife was given to another. He spent years wandering in the wilderness, living in foreign lands, always hunted, always being pursued, always in a place of discomfort. He must’ve asked God many times, Why? What had he done? He must’ve wanted to give up. Maybe he asked if it was vain serving God.
Oh, to be a fly in the wilderness with David. All these questions, but this song speaks to God’s faithfulness in David’s life.
Many years pass while David is living in these conditions. The trials and difficulties continue. I mean, next his entire family is taken from him and his men wanted to kill him. Does it ever end? Eventually, Saul dies and David becomes king. Only half of the kingdom followed him. Another war with Israel occurred. Finally, he rules the whole kingdom. Is there peace? David falls into temptation. David’s son Absalom rebels and takes over kingdom…David flees again. Restored to king. Sheba starts rebellion. You get the picture? This is David’s life. The man who had a heart after God. Chased most of his life by his enemies reflects on his life with these words in 2 Samuel 22:1-2:
“Then David spoke to the LORD the words of this song, on the day when the LORD had delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul. And he said “The Lord is my rock (Sali) and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust;
My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”
So let’s talk about Jehovah Sali (My Rock).
Webster defines a rock as a mass of stony matter, and figuratively as a place of safety, protection, strength, asylum or a firm immovable foundation. A rock denotes something solid and sure. Ageless, able to weather the storm and still remain. David is saying here that Jehovah Sali is the solid rock upon which he stands. The firm foundation of his life. As Isaiah 28:16 says “Therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: “Look! I am placing a foundation stone in Jerusalem, a firm and tested stone. It is a precious cornerstone that is safe to build on. Whoever believes need never be shaken.
Jesus is the Rock, He is the cornerstone on which all else is established. Do you understand the importance of a firm foundation? Do understand what it means to be a cornerstone in a building?
Wait, it gets better. 1 Corinthians 10:4 states “I don’t want you to forget, dear brothers and sisters, about our ancestors in the wilderness long ago. All of them were guided by a cloud that moved ahead of them, and all of them walked through the sea on dry ground. In the cloud and in the sea, all of them were baptized as followers of Moses. All of them ate the same spiritual food, and all of them drank the same spiritual water. For they drank from the spiritual rock that traveled with them, and that rock was Christ.
This story is from Exodus 17:6 and Numbers 20:8-11 where Jehovah was the Rock that spewed forth water for the people. There are so many things to say about this. This rock was not just firm foundation, it was also a source of life. It was the living waters of God that quenches our thirst with spiritual water. It is a well of life and it refreshes us.
Another passage that reveals something I really like is Psalms 144:1 “Bless the LORD who is my immovable Rock. He gives me strength and skill in battle.”
An immovable Rock! Let’s just say that this Rock (Jehovah Sali) isn’t going anywhere. He will be the foundation for your life, for eternity. God is a rock that is not made of a substance of this earth. He is unbreakable, he isn’t going to wear out and he’s not gonna crack under pressure.
In actuality, David’s revelation of God being his rock goes even deeper then all this.
In 1 Samuel 17:49 “Then David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone; and he slung it and struck the Philistine in his forehead, so that the stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the earth.”
Christ was the rock that was in his sling that not only destroyed his enemy, but catapulted him into the beginning of his destiny. God is our Rock “Jehovah Sali”
I thank you Lord that you are my firm foundation, the rock upon which I stand…
You alone are the strength of my hand and the rock that shatters my enemies…
Life flows from you, my Sali, thank you for the refreshing of your spirit upon me today…
It’s funny how things happen – and how God can speak to us through seemingly insignificant everyday things.
A box of Mini Wheats showed up on my porch before I even finished praying. Knee-deep into renovations and only days after ripping out our kitchen, we lost our jobs – in the middle of a pandemic. In a moment’s time we were forced to reevaluate our financial situation. I needed to know God would take care of us.
Brian answered the door and while I was still in my room praying this, he quietly slipped the box in the room. I opened my eyes, looking right at the box.
Doesn’t seem to be much, so let me continue…
When I was seven I found Jesus in the upper room of an old church building. An elderly lady talked about this man named Jesus. I knew I wanted to know Him. She led me through a prayer inviting Him into my heart. That night, alone in my room, I prayed. ‘God, if you are who she said you are, our family needs food.’
I went to bed.
In the morning, there was a knock on the door. A sweet couple was standing there with bags in their hands – groceries. BAGS OF GROCERIES.
God was real.
It didn’t end there. When I looked through the bags, I found a box of my favourite cereal. That’s when God showed me that He saw me, He knew me and He would always be there for me.
I want to take you back to a story in the Bible.
Genesis 16. It’s the story of Sarai’s maidservant, Hagar.
God had given Abram a promise of descendants, but his wife Sarai was barren. They were well up there in age, past the childbearing years. So, Sarai had this ‘brilliant’ idea that Abram should sleep with her servant Hagar to bring forth the promise. He followed through with it and Hagar becomes pregnant. When Sarai saw that this happened, she was quite upset and she dealt harshly with Hagar – to the point that Hagar ran away.
When Hagar flees, she comes to a spring of water in the wilderness. It’s here that an angel found her. She recounts to the angel what had happened to her, why she’s on the run. The angel tells her to return to Sarai and submit herself under her hand. He then continued, saying that the Lord would multiply her descendants exceedingly. He tells her that she is pregnant with a boy and his name would be called Ishmael because the LORD had heard her affliction.
Let’s pick up in verse 13.
Then she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees; for she said, “Have I also here seen Him who sees me?”
It’s here that God reveals His heart in a uniquely powerful way. He showed Hagar that He saw her as an individual – and cared about her. He showed her that she wasn’t forgotten or thrown to the side. She was valuable in His eyes.
Fast forward to May 2020.
This everyday, seemingly insignificant gift was a little reminder of that day when God revealed Himself as Jehovah Jireh, the God who provides. However, this reiteration of who He is also brought out another element of His character to me – God sees me. He is El Roi. He showed me that even though my life was abruptly altered at the actions of another, He wasn’t limited by those actions.
Even when people make conscious decisions to hurt you, God still sees you. He will never leave you or forsake you. He is transcendent, which means that He exists outside of time and space. He knows the EXACT moment that you need what you need. Cry out to Him. Tell Him what happened to you. Expect Him to move on your behalf. He will.
Can I bring it one step further?
There was a bowl and a spoon delivered with the cereal. When I found them, God ever so sweetly revealed to me that He not only sees us and provides for us, He also gives us what we need to ENJOY those provisions – not struggling to make do with less than full provisions.
Here are some prayer starters that you can personalize in your own situation as you pray to God, El Roi, the God who sees.
I thank You that in the midst of my struggles, pain, and life itself, You see me…
As my El Roi, I know that You have not forgotten me…
I’m not an afterthought, but I am on Your mind…
I know that You have seen me this day and provide all that I need…
I thank You that You see beyond my words and You see my heart…
If there has ever been a time that the spirit of antichrist is evident in the world it is certainly now. The Bible speaks of the increase of these things as the day of the Lord comes closer and closer. Opposition to God is no longer a hidden agenda but an outright open assault. Nonetheless, God’s word always has a timely revelation for every season of life. James 4:7 “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
Did I just a quote a passage of scripture that had the word “submit” in it? Absolutely. God’s word is full of life and freedom and even through submission is victory over the enemy found. This leads us to another revelation of God through his name, Adonai, which means Lord and Master.
Our story is found in Genesis 15:1-2 “After these things the word of the LORD (Jehovah) came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.” But Abram said, “Lord (Adonai) God, what will You give me, seeing I go childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?”
Little nugget for you, the first LORD is all capitalized, which represents Jehovah (to be discussed on another day). The second Lord is capital “L” and lowercase letters which represents Adonai. This is the same situation as in Exodus 4:10 Then Moses said to the LORD, “O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.” In both these situations God is present and the speaker acknowledges God as “Adonai” meaning Lord and Master. Adonai is another way of saying “Owner” of all things. So, when we use the phrase Adonai, we are saying, I submit to you as my Lord, Master and Owner. This is an act of obedience, sacrifice and surrender to another. What I find interesting in both of these passages and the stories that follow, is that the response of Adonai to God from man acted like a password for the unveiling of Jehovah in their lives. The miraculous power of God was released after both of them spoke of their surrender to Him as Master.
In Romans 10:9-10 we see a well known scripture concerning what one does to become a Christian. It reads, “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.”. This verse very clearly identifies something important that many omit when speaking of Jesus of in their lives. That of Lordship. One doesn’t simply make Jesus their Saviour, without making Him their Lord. All to often, we want a God to save us, we want a Saviour, but we don’t want to surrender to his Lordship.
Even Jesus surrendered to His heavenly father in the Garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:42). His prayer is basically saying to the Father, Adonai, I surrender to you all that I am. I submit to you as my Lord, Master and Owner. This is an act of obedience, sacrifice and surrender to another. Jesus took his intimate relationship, love and respect for his Father in ABBA and followed it up with his submission to his Father as Lord all in one. This is essentially exactly what Jesus did. He surrendered his will, mind, emotions, body and spirit to his Father as his Master. We all know the fullness of the release of power of God that followed with the cross.
This surrender to Adonai is precisely what God is looking for from us. He is the good master, He wants the best for you, to provide for you, protect you and see you flourish. Will you surrender to God this day, or be lead by your own desires and yourself on the throne of your heart. I’m going with my Adonai.
Sample Prayer: I thank you that you are my Adonai. I surrender this day my will, my mind and my emotions to you. I give you my finances, gifts and talents for your purpose. I trust you with my life, for you are good. I submit to your lordship this day.
Have you ever noticed how often characters in art and media possess horns? They are everywhere. There are the little ones with Sully (Monster’s Inc.), or the Beast (Beauty and the Beast). Then you have Dark, Powerful and Mysterious ones like Maleficient. Some characters have them protrude from their skulls while others are adorned with a helmet reflecting their majesty. Horns all through the centuries and still evident today. Many of my favourite characters in games and movies are dressed with the latest fashion of horns. So why all the fascination with horns? It’s because they are awesome. You know who else is awesome? God. And you guessed it, he has a horn in one of his names. Let’s take a look at Jehovah Keren-Yish’I “Horn of my Salvation”.
To look at this. Let’s start with a horn. Horns are used for fighting, protection, and securing dominance. They are symbols of strength, power, and victory. Often, Scripture’s mention of a “horn” is as a literary symbol representing potency and power. We could stop here and you would already get the point of the significance of the horn, but that is just the beginning.
Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, was inspired to prophesy about the physical and spiritual deliverance that Jesus, the Messiah, the Son of David and Son of God, would bring. We see the symbolism of a horn—in this case representing the victorious power of God:
Luke 1:68-69 “Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, For He has visited and redeemed His people, And has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David,”. The Bible uses many examples of horns as power, like in Psalm 75:10, God says, “I will cut off the horns of all the wicked, but the horns of the righteous will be lifted up.” In other words, the righteous will prevail, no matter how strong the wicked seem to be. In Jeremiah 48:25, “Moab’s horn is cut off and his arm is broken, says the LORD” means that the strength of Moab is gone.
The next thing of significance was animal horns were also used as receptacles for oil. This is very significant. 1 Samuel 16:1 “The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve for Saul, when I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and go; I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have chosen a king for Myself among his sons.”
Oil is a symbol of the anointing of God. Anointing speaks to being set apart or consecrated. God’s grace falls upon the individual who is anointing with oil. The horn is a representing of power and combined with the oil within it is a powerful anointing that is produced. I once heard it described that God is the one who unplugs the oil in the horn during anointing. Such was the case of David’s anointing. God was the one who unplugged Samuel’s horn for the oil to pour out upon David. The horn was the vessel by which the anointing oil was carried.
So as we continue, the Horn of Salvation speaks to the power of God bringing salvation to mankind on multiple levels. Salvation by means of power, strength and victory. This is who God is, Jehovah Keren Yish’I. That being said, we can never capture the multiple facets of who God is, and the Bible speaks of another significant instance of the word horn in the Old Testament as God told Moses to build the altar for sacrifices with four hornlike projections on the four corners of it. (Exodus 27:2; 29:12; Revelation 9:13).
In worship, the horns of the altar were dabbed with blood to purify them and make atonement for sin (Leviticus 8:15; 4:6). How is that for a foreshadowing of Jesus’ atoning blood on the cross for our sins. The horns of the altar speak of the power of God’s salvation. It gets better too, that part of the altar also became a place of refuge, sanctuary and salvation for a fugitive At the time of Solomon, taking hold of the horns of the altar was seen as a way to seek mercy and protection, as both Adonijah and Joab did this (1 Kings 1:50 & 2:28 ).
So here we have it, God reveals to us more of his character in his name Jehovah Keren Yish’I. As we call upon him in our daily prayers, he is sure to bring the powerful salvation we all need in our lives.
As I continue to learn about the names of God and the revelations of what they tell me about His nature, I’m constantly finding myself with deeper understanding of who my Saviour is. Today’s name has really grown on me the past few months. So let’s talk about Jehovah Nissi, the LORD our Banner.
There are a few examples of this name in God’s Word that we can discuss, but I want to start with Exodus 17:8-16:
8 Now Amalek came and fought with Israel in Rephidim. 9 And Moses said to Joshua, “Choose us some men and go out, fight with Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in my hand.” 10 So Joshua did as Moses said to him, and fought with Amalek. And Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. 11 And so it was, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed; and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. 12 But Moses’ hands became heavy; so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it. And Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. 13 So Joshua defeated Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword. 14 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write this for a memorial in the book and recount it in the hearing of Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.” 15 And Moses built an altar and called its name, The-Lord-Is-My-Banner (Jehovah Nissi); 16 for he said, “Because the Lord has sworn: the Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.”
A banner is “a flag, military ensign, the principal standard of a prince or state”. They honor champions, and commemorate heroes. They are meant to be seen and not ignored. On the battle field they even have more significance, the banner summons and calls people to it. It is a rallying point. The impact of this never really clicked with me until recently when I watched an old favourite movie of mine, called The Patriot. There’s this epic battle at the end of the movie, the enemy was advancing on them, the front line was faltering. The Flag Bearer fell, and the troops began to retreat.
You see in battle opposing nations would fly their own flag on a pole at each of their respective front lines. This was to give their soldiers a feeling of hope and a focal point. The battle field is often chaotic, stressful, noisy and even worst filled with smoke and debris. So, I’m watching this movie, and all of a sudden Mel Gibson stops what he is doing, grabs this flag off the ground and starts waving it around. He’s screaming like a mad man with the banner. And then it happened, the troops see it, hope surges, courage rises, passion pushes them forward. In that moment your own heart surged, it like “Let me in the fight”. It’s all over, there was no stopping this army now.
This is what was happening with Moses on top of that hill. The banner of God was being raised with his hands towards heaven. When lifting high, the enemy was routed. When let down, the enemy would advance. So they supported the hands to prevail.
This is what God is to us: a banner of encouragement to give us hope and a focal point. Jehovah Nissi is always visible on the battlefield because he is above the chaos. I told my son, who likes to play Apex Legends, that even when Bangalore drops their smoke on the field, when we look up above the smoke, it’s still clear.
Another important thing about banners is that they act as an anchor in times of uncertainty. When we are lost, hopeless and confused that banner reminds us that not only is Jehovah present but He is our standard to tell us what is real and what’s not. Jehovah Nissi is solid anchor of truth that can always be depended on.
The battle with Amalek was not just a physical battle but a spiritual one. Jehovah Nissi is our source of power, hope, courage and deliverance. God gave us other examples of Jehovah Nissi in Numbers 21:8-9 when the bronze serpent was lifted up on a pole and those who looked upon it were healed. How much more was that a foreshadowing of John 3:14-15 when Jesus, God Himself, was lifted up on a Cross for the Salvation of the world! Nissi is powerful! God is rallying the troops together in these last days. He’s calling us to pray. The sleeping giants are awakening and his Banner calls us to arise and conquer. It’s a day to advance and take the territory.
When I was growing up, I remember hearing about the many different names of God. People would use them in our Christian clichés with regularity, but they never really clicked in my understanding the purpose of what those names were really for. It’s like having knowledge, but without knowing how to apply that knowledge, we lack wisdom.
In the New Testament there are two Greek words that are used to communicate the English of “word”. This is “logos” meaning spoken word, and “rhema” often translated as revealed word or illuminated word. Rhema is the word that is translated in Luke 5:5 “And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.” It was this revealed word that enlightening Peter to let his net down.
My father attended Rhema Bible Institute when I was a child and later he had a license plate with word “RHEMA” on it. I can remember sitting in the car with my parents and someone reading our license plate and my parent saying “Yes, the Rhema word, get ahold of it”. Not sure why, but that moment always stuck with me. Fast forward to the future now, and those names of God starting coming back to me while in prayer. It started being illuminated to me how God’s character is revealed in his name and that all we need from him is captured in his name. God’s name is powerful, intentional, and provisional for every circumstance we can experience in this life. So today we are going to continue on our journey of prayer and the names of God. This one is one of my favourites (I have a lot of favourites), Jehovah Tsaba.
Jehovah Tsaba (Lord of Hosts or Lord our Warrior)
Our story is found in 1 Samuel 17:42-51
42 And when the Philistine looked about and saw David, he disdained him; for he was only a youth, ruddy and good-looking. 43 So the Philistine said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. 44 And the Philistine said to David, “Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field!”
45 Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts (Jehovah Tsaba), the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. 47 Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give you into our hands.”
48 So it was, when the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, that David hurried and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine. 49 Then David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone; and he slung it and struck the Philistine in his forehead, so that the stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the earth. 50 So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him. But there was no sword in the hand of David. 51 Therefore David ran and stood over the Philistine, took his sword and drew it out of its sheath and killed him, and cut off his head with it.
I always loved this story, I mean who doesn’t. There is so much to take from it. The Philistine cursed David and disdained him, having full confidence in his abilities and weapons of war to conquer this ruddy shepherd boy. But David was bold and knew who his God was. He identifies all the weapons that his enemy is carrying with him, a sword, a spear and a javelin. They didn’t phase him. He didn’t respond with “Oh ya, I got a slingshot”. He declared what he already knew, that all that he needed was Jehovah Tsaba.
It says “I come to you in the name of the Lord of Hosts”. He went into battle with the name of God, Tsaba! He didn’t go in with the name of David, or Saul or the name of a nation, but simply Tsaba. His proclamation was that the Leader of the armies of God was with him in battle. It is his strength that carries us in battle. The Lord of the Hosts in the best of the best. The champion of champions. He is the general of the armies of heaven and when you fall this day, all the earth will know He is God. For Tsaba doesn’t save by swords and spears, these are his battles and his name alone brings victory.
What battle are you in? What weapons has your enemy brought to destroy you? Rise up this day and remind your enemy that Jehovah Tsaba is with you, the Lord of the Hosts, the mighty warrior, and by his name you enter battle. Thank you, Jesus, that you are my Tsaba and today I enter battle with your name. You are everything I need as my enemy seeks my destruction…
We are living in an increasingly strange world. In the midst of voluntary and involuntary isolation, we find ourselves often feeling alone. We not only ask where everyone is when we look outside, but also even ask “Where is the Lord?”in all this? I’ve been doing some blogs on the praying through the names of God because each of God’s names reveal to us more of His character. As we know more of His character than we can have more revelation of His nature. This revelation helps us as we pray to the all powerful God. Today we are going to discuss His name of Jehovah Shammah.
With all this Covid-19 taken place all around us, it’s stirred up lots of conversation about end times and the book of Revelations. The Bible does speak about many adventures coming as we get closer to Christ’s return, but the main point of all these things leads us to the return of Jesus. That brings us to the name of God, Jehovah Shammah, which means The Lord is There.
It is originally referenced in Ezekiel 48:35 “The distance around the entire city will be 6 miles. And from that day the name of the city will be ‘The Lord Is There (Shammah).” In this passage, it speaks of the New Jerusalem and that the Lord will be there. After all things are said and done, God will establish a new heaven here on earth with the New Jerusalem. This verse in Ezekiel reveals that God’s physical presence will dwell among us in the New Jerusalem. How amazing will that be? You see throughout time, we have seen God be there with us and even live amongst us with the life of Jesus, but now it will be established forever.
Let’s discuss a few times where God was there in our midst in Biblical times. In Genesis 39:2 “The LORD was with Joseph, and he was a successful man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian.” And further, Genesis 39:21 “But the LORD was with Joseph and showed him mercy, and He gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison.”
In these verses, Joseph was in difficult times as a slave and prisoner. Life was not easy for him but these verses show that God was there in the midst of his adverse situations and it makes a difference. How would Joseph survived the slavery and pit without God being there with him? We don’t always realize he is there but God is there making a difference.
Another way of describing this is with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. They were thrown into a fiery furnace for not worshipping anyone but Jehovah. What happens, though, is that three men were thrown into the fire but a 4th showed up (the son of God) and was there in the midst of the fire with them walking about. How exciting is that to be in the worst trial of your life, literally thrown into burning blaze to have the son of God walk around with you in the midst of it.
So these were examples of Jehovah Shammah in the Old Testament but now in the new covenant, His presence is constantly with us when Christ accomplished the work of the cross. Galatians 2:20 “I am crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me.” And in Ephesians 3:17 is just one of many scriptures that reveals Christ resides in us “That Christ may make His home in your hearts through faith”. Jehovah Shammah feels very much like Immanuel (God is with us), this is because it would be difficult for God to be there and not be with us. So the two are really tied together. I believe there is still yet another revelation of Jehovah Shammah. I’ve shown you one perspective of what Shammah means, and it’s one thing to know that God is with you, but it’s another thing for your enemies to know that God is there by your side.
Let’s read in 1 Samuel 4:5-8
“5 And when the ark of the covenant of the Lord came into the camp, all Israel shouted so loudly that the earth shook. 6 Now when the Philistines heard the noise of the shout, they said, “What does the sound of this great shout in the camp of the Hebrews mean?” Then they understood that the ark of the Lord had come into the camp. 7 So the Philistines were afraid, for they said, “God has come into the camp!” And they said, “Woe to us! For such a thing has never happened before. 8 Woe to us! Who will deliver us from the hand of these mighty gods? These are the gods who struck the Egyptians with all the plagues in the wilderness.”
What does this say to our enemies when Jehovah Shammah is there in our midst. What confidence does it give us, to know that daddy God’s presence is there amongst us. Shammah is not only a confidence that God is here but is a reminder to your enemies who they are up against. So just know as you go forth this day that Jehovah Shammah is not only there with you, but that your enemies also know it too, and that’s a scary thing for them. Shammah’s got your back.
I hear that name all the time. It carries a variety of meanings and certainly is expressed contextually many different ways. My friend was speaking of Thor, god of thunder, as possibly being the most powerful character in the marvel universe. I mean, Thor duel wielding Mjolnir and Stormbreaker is like an unstoppable force. Norse and Greek mythology are full of gods and demi-gods. Brian talks about studying them in high school, venturing through things like Homer’s Odessey. (Fun fact, I never learned Greek Mythology as I went to a Christian high school) Very fascinating stuff, especially how these lores of old have continued to blend into our culture century after century. Yet no matter how many gods are discussed in literature, there is only one with a capital “G”, God.
God is defined by Webster’s dictionary as: The Supreme Being; Jehovah; the eternal and infinite spirit, the creator, and the sovereign of the universe. Supreme ruler of power, dominion and authority. Superior to all others.
That’s a pretty solid definition right there. Think about how many comic book characters have been created to replicate the magnitude of this being. We have the Beyonder, the Phoenix Force, Living Tribunal, the One-Above-All and yes, even Deadpool. Each and every one continues to fall short of God. Why? It is because as a created being we could never fully describe an indescribable God. So God reveals himself to us in his nearly 1,000 names to help us out a little.
Today, let’s discuss the Hebrew word for God, Elohim.
Elohim אֱלֹהִים ʼĕlôhîym, el-o-heem (God, Judge, Creator)
Genesis 1:1 is the 1st time God reveals himself as Elohim. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” That word for God is Elohim and is used over 2,000 times in the Bible. It is in the plural form and used specifically in reference of the Supreme God. This is how God introduces himself in the Bible as our Creator.
He is Transcendent
As our Creator, Elohim introduces us to a Transcendent God. This means that he exists apart from and not subject to the limitations of the material universe that he has created. Romans 1:20 states “Since the creation of the world his invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.” Revelations 1:8 sums this up “I am the Alpha and the Omega”, says the Lord God who is and was and is to come, the Almighty.” This revelation of God operating outside of time, means he is not limited to time. He is timeless. Time is part of a creation that he transcends.
He is Immanent
The second thing that is revealed of Elohim is that He is Immanent, permanently pervading and sustaining the universe. God, in his immanence, is the source of everything in the universe.
He is Omni-Present
A third attribute of Elohim is that He is omni-present. God is everywhere, Jeremiah 23:23-24 describes this, “Am I a God near at hand,” says the Lord, And not a God afar off? Can anyone hide himself in secret places, So I shall not see him?” says the Lord; “Do I not fill heaven and earth?” says the Lord.” Elohim fills the heavens and earth with his presence. God is a omni-present God.
He is a Triune God
The last thing we learn from this introduction to him is that Elohim is a triune God. Elohim is the plural form God, captured as Gods. He follows up his opening statement in Genesis 1:1 with Genesis 1:26-27, “Let Us make man in Our image and Our likeness…in the image of God he created them; male and female.” On a side, I find that passage interesting because it denotes that there is a feminine part of the Godhead that is represented when they created females in their image. Countless scriptures dive into the details of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. What does this mean? Quite simply, that there are 3 distinct people in one being known as Elohim. All three of them are God for us. So here they are representing a family which we are a part of.
The God of all that exists reveals himself as the Creator. What a way to introduce yourself. That’s my God, good ol’ Elohim.
Many Christians around the world are taking time to fast and pray. Fasting is a spiritual discipline that allows you to petition God in a powerful, yet intimate way. It focuses on depriving yourself of things that are of value to you (such as food, drinks, social media, etc.) so that you can cry out to God in desperation.
To illustrate, I want to tell you a story.
Imagine that you’re a young, vibrant woman who has been through more than your fair share of things. Your parents have both died and your selfless uncle has graciously taken you under his wing as his own. You are all he has and he is all you have.
Then one day, the king calls for all the single, young women to be gathered together. You fit the description they’re looking for. The queen has been banished and the king needs a new queen.
Sounds exciting, right?
Except, this isn’t really your home. You live here because of circumstances beyond your control, but your heart longs for your home, your own people. Your heart longs for the Jews.
All the women vying for the limelight undergo a serious regimen of beauty preparations. Somehow, some way, you find favour among those running the show. You find yourself with more beauty options than the other girls. You’re assigned 7 choice maidservants from the palace. You get the best of the best accommodations.
No one knows who you really are. That’s the way you want it.
Everyone loves you – except the other women. They wish they were you.
They say you’ll never have a second chance at creating a good first impression. That’s especially true in your situation. You have one chance to meet the king; one chance to make a lasting impression.
The results are in. The king is enthralled. The royal crown is placed on your head. You are now the queen.
One day, you find out that there is an evil plot against the Jews. A plan to eliminate your own people – a plan to eliminate you.
Still, no one knows who you really are.
Your beloved king agrees to annihilate your people. He has no idea that you are the target.
What do you do? Desperate times call for desperate measures. You must go before the king to reveal your true identity. You know this is what you must do, but it is certain death if you do. It is forbidden.
The king has proven to be ruthless, banishing his previous queen only to prove a point. There’s no reason why he wouldn’t shower the full extent of the law on you.
You look back on your life and resolve that you were made for such a time as this.
You will go before the king. You will petition for your people. You will expose the evil schemes at work within the kingdom.
If you die, you die.
In desperation, you ask your uncle to gather all the Jews.
“Fast for me.” You say. “Fast with me.”
The time has come. You put on your royal gown. You stand in the inner court of the king’s palace. Your head drops as you silently whisper one last prayer.
The king sees you. This is the moment. When you lift your eyes, you catch a shimmer of the golden sceptre.
You will not die. You will live. For such a time as this.
When you expose the atrocities, the king reverses the plot.
Your people are saved. You are saved.
If you want to read the full account of this story, check out the book of Esther in the Bible.
Through fasting, Esther was able to not only endure a stressful situation, but to overcome it as well. Fasting was a key part of this ordeal.
We can also incorporate fasting into our lives and enjoy the benefits that come along with this type of discipline.
If you’re interested in fasting, let me know in the comments. I’ve put together this Fasting Guide 2020 for you to use.
Remember, you were made for such a time as this.