To know God is to be His child.
Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Psalm 100:3
I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name. Isaiah 45:3
I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart. Jeremiah 24:7
Studying the names of God has been a challenge, as well as a joy throughout my journey with Him. As I stated in an earlier blog – I first came across this teaching in the late 1980’s while participating in our church’s newly formed Prayer Group. Something that I have gleaned over these decades of study is that God’s names not only reveal much about His own character, but also about His works and His relationship to us.
Remember the story of Hagar and the “God Who Sees [Me]”? We learn from this encounter between Hagar and God that we are never alone. He sees us in our distress and angst. He sees us in our joys and successes, also. He cares intimately about us, just as He did an outcast slave girl.
Most of the names covered in this series are found in the Old Testament. Some are names that God gave to Himself. Others are given to Him at the time He interacted with people in a life changing manner. These are the names that Jesus knew and that His followers knew as well. As believers in Christ, we understand that Jesus came that we might know the one who sent Him, His Father. He came so that we might know God.
I recognize these names of God born out in the stories of Jesus. Take the story of Jesus calling the disciple Nathanael in John’s Gospel, John 1:44-51. Just after Nathaneal exclaims, “How could anything good come out of Nazareth?”, Jesus sees him approaching with Phillip. Jesus reveals a truth about Nathanael that amazes him and discovers the Jesus “saw him under the fig tree before Phillip called him” El Roi – the God Who Sees Me revealed in a miraculous way to Nathanael.
I challenge you read scripture seeking insight into the character, works, and relationship with God through-out the Bible, whether in the Old or New Testaments. My prayer is that this time spent getting to know God through His names will enrich your faith and your journey with Him!
So, while there are many more names, this third in our series of the Hebrew names for God, “Know God: It’s All in a Name” will explore three more names. We will then end the series in the next blog with one endearing name that Jesus reveals.
Know God as Provider:
YAHWEH-Yireh (or Jehovah-Jireh) “The Lord Will Provide” (pronounced yah-WEH Yir-EH)
This Hebrew name for God means the Lord will provide. It is one of the most popular names of God. To understand its origin, we must go to well-known story in the timeline of God’s history with His people, the sacrifice of Isaac, Abraham and Sarah’s son.
Then Abraham looked up and saw a ram caught by its horns in a thicket. So, he took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering in place of his son.14 Abraham named the place Yahweh-Yireh (which means “the Lord will provide”). To this day, people still use that name as a proverb: “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.” Genesis 22:13-14.
What a very poignant reminder of Abrahams faithfulness and of the great provision of God. I can only imagine the actual scene, from the extreme terror Isaac experienced to the great distress and agony flowing from Abraham, and the great compassion God had to have felt at their pain. God knew the end of the story as they walked up the mountain, and I believe that Abraham was believing that death of his promised son would not be the end either.
What mountain are you climbing right now? What mountain looms in front of you that is stretching every ounce of faith and obedience in your soul? What fear or pain or decision feels insurmountable? Remember Jehovah-Jireh – To this day, people still use that name as a proverb: “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided,” and believe that on their own mountain God will provide.
Just as He provided a ram for Abraham to sacrifice that day, He provided all that we would need to be forgiven of our sins and to be in right relationship with Him on another mountain called Golgotha. Jesus was the sacrificial ram on that mountain. He will not stop providing all that we need to live this life as His disciple.
Do you know God as your Provider?
Know God as Healer:
YAHWEH-Rapha (or Jehovah-Rapha) “The Lord Who Heals” (pronounced yah-WEH roh-FEH)
Yahweh Rapha is the Hebrew name for God meaning the Lord who heals, in both body and soul! The Hebrew Rapha means “to restore” or “to heal”. This is the name God proclaims to the Israelites in Marah, three days into their journey from the Red Sea in the desert. They were thirsty and Moses turned the bitter water sweet so they could have their fill. Then he said these words:
He said, “If you will listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in his sight, obeying his commands and keeping all His decrees, then I will not make you suffer any of the diseases I sent on the Egyptians; for I am the Lord who heals you.” Exodus 15:26.
The Israelites had suffered greatly at the hand of the Egyptians, for hundreds of years. There was much in the way of healing, body and soul, these people needed. God knew, that while water was their immediate need, their need for deeper healing came in the healing power He offered them. God reminds His people that as He kept them from the suffering He inflicted on the Egyptians, He will continue to heal them and restore them from their years of slavery.
We can call upon Jehovah-Rapha today for our own physical, emotional, and spiritual healing. He is after all, the Great Physician.
Do you know God as your Healer?
Know God as your Rock:
Yahweh Tsuri “The Lord Is My Rock” (pronounced yah-WEH tsu-Ree)
The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection.
He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety. Psalm 18:2.
Yahweh Tsuri is the Hebrew name for God that means the Lord is my rock. I admit this is one of my favorites because it perfectly describes His steadfast faithfulness and endurance. He is my rock! He is omnipresent. Always with us! He is our strong tower – built of rock – a symbol of His protection.
Rock or stones are everywhere in Judean landscape, playing a key role in the story of the Israelites. Rocks were used to build altars, as well temples, houses, and city walls. Rocks were made into piles to commemorate key events in Israel’s history. They were used for shelter and offered shade in the wilderness. They were even used as a pillow for Jacob’s head on his return to Israel.
Yahweh Tsuri is prevalent in New Testament references to Jesus, and the imagery of rock is used in his teachings. Jesus is the Capstone or Cornerstone, the Rock on whom the church will be built. He tells to build our house on rock, not sand.
Some of the encouraging Bible verses that use Yahweh Tsuri:
- He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he. Deuteronomy 32:4
- There is no one holy like the Lord; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God. 1 Samuel 2:2
- The Lord lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be my God, the Rock, my Savior! 2 Samuel 22:47
- May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. Psalm 19:14
- Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress; I will never be shaken. 62:2
To know God by His names will enrich your faith, your prayer life, and your whole relationship with Him.
Thank you, my fellow pilgrims, for joining me on journey through the character, the works, and our relationship with God. As always, my prayer is that you will know God, and thereby love and serve Him well!