Names of God – El Shaddai

Photo by Michelle Pearson

Names of God – El Shaddai

If you are as old as I am, and grew up in the church, you probably remember a song by Amy Grant titled, El Shaddai. This song actually uses several of the Hebrew names of God. Names like; El Elyon and Adonai, which we have already looked at, but I want to look at the title name today. The name El Shaddai is another of my favorites, it means Almighty, and Most Powerful, and The Lord is More Than Enough. That’s sort of a “drop the mic” kind of name, isn’t it?

So far, we have looked at 16 names of God, and we’ve only scratched the surface. Originally, I didn’t have this one as the last on the list, but I decided to make it that because it just sums the rest of them up. I mean, think about all the names we have looked at. Names that mean The Lord is My Provider, My Banner, My Healer, etc. But, this name ties them all together…The Lord is More Than Enough.

Once again, we see a name of God that brings us back to the fact that we have no need to fear. He is our Provider, He is our Healer, He is Peace, He is our Shepherd, He is the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, and He is More Than Enough. This name just brings it all together and wraps it up in a neat package. Are you afraid? God is more than enough to calm your fears. Are you tempted? God is more than enough to deliver you from that temptation. Are you distraught? God is more than enough to comfort you.

We first see this name in Genesis 49 in Jacob’s last words to his sons. When he is talking about Joseph in verses 24 and 25 he says, 24But his bow remained taut, and his arms were strengthened by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob, by the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel. 25 May the God of your father help you; may the Almighty bless you with the blessings of the heavens above, and blessings of the watery depths below, and blessings of the breasts and womb.” In these two verses, Jacob uses several of the names of God, names like El Elyon, Jehovah Ra’ah, even one we didn’t look at, Eben Yisra’el, the Stone of Isreal, and El Shaddai. Notice he ends his list with, El Shaddai, here it is translated, The Almighty. Every one of these names is good, and every one is true, but this one just sums them all up.

We see examples of this all throughout Scriptures. Like in, 2 Corinthians 9:8 “And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others” Here we see that Jehovah Jireh, our Provider, is El Shaddai, more than enough. Again, we see it in, Philippians 4:7 “Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” In this one we see Jehovah Shalom, The Lord is Peace, is El Shaddai, more than enough. Also in, Hebrews 13:5 “Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.” So, He is Jehovah Ra’ah, our Shepherd, who is El Shaddai, More Than Enough.

He is Jehovah, the Great I Am, He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last, He is the All-Powerful, Almighty God…The one true God. This is something that you will see me repeating over and over in my writings, because it is so important, especially in today’s world. The fact is that all paths do NOT lead to the same God. We do NOT all worship the same God. As we have seen, we worship El Qanna, a jealous God, and He refuses to be shared with other gods. Jesus said, John 14:6 “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” The Bible also tells us in 1 Timothy 2:5, “For, There is one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus.” I know this is a polarizing subject in today’s society of all-inclusiveness, but I can’t bury the truth. Buddhist’s do not worship the one true God, neither do Hindu’s, nor Shinto’s, nor Muslim’s. This is displayed all throughout Scripture. We see it in Deuteronomy 4:35, 39, 6:4, 32:39, 2 Samuel 7:22, 1 Kings 8:60, 2 Kings 5:15, 19:15, 1 Chronicles 17:20, Nehemiah 9:6, Psalm 18:31, 86:10, Isaiah 37:16, 20, 43:10, 11, 4:6, 8, 45:21, 46:9, Hosea 13:4, Joel 2:27, Zechariah 14:9, and in the New Testament in Mark 12:29-34, John 17:3, Romans 3:30, 1 Corinthians 8:4-6, Galatians 3:20, Ephesians 4:6, 1 Timothy 1:17, 2:5, and James 2:19, to name a few.

Please don’t get me wrong. I don’t harbor any animosity toward anyone for what they believe. You can be wrong, and not be a bad person. I have friends from other beliefs, I have friends who are, according to the Bible, living in sin. I don’t hate them for this. In fact, it makes me love and care for them that much more, because they just need God. They need to experience Jehovah Shammah and Jehovah Jireh. They need to be healed by Jehovah Rapha and comforted by Jehovah Ra’ah. They need to know that El Olam is always there for them and that El Shaddai is all they will ever need.

So, please, take these names of God to heart, and then take Him to the world. Don’t be stopped by political correctness, just trust God for the strength and boldness you need. Remember that 1 Peter 3:15 says, “Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it.” We must always be ready! So, if you don’t know what that hope is, get into His word and find out for yourself. Let’s show the world who our God really is.

Names of God – Adonai

Photo by Michelle Pearson

Names of God – Adonai

The name Adonai means, Lord and Master. Just as in the name Elohim, Adonai is the plural tense with a first-person singular pronoun, once again demonstrating the Trinity. Now, there are those who don’t believe in the Trinity because the word is never used in the Bible. While it is true that the word trinity is never used, the Trinity itself is very clearly portrayed. There are many examples other than the use of plural tenses to refer to one God. There is also Christ’s own words where He said in John 10:30, “The Father and I are one.” Notice He didn’t say the Father and I are like one, or the Father and I are similar, He said we are one. Another example is the name Jehovah, which means “I Am”. When God was talking to Moses through the burning bush, He told Moses to tell Pharaoh that I Am has sent you. All throughout the Bible God the Father refers to Himself as “I Am”, and then Jesus said in John 8:58, “Jesus answered, ‘I tell you the truth, before Abraham was even born, I am!’” See there? He didn’t say I was, He said I Am. He was revealing Himself as God. What he said was before Abraham was, Jehovah!

I could go on, but this isn’t a blog on the Trinity, it’s on the name Adonai, and as I said it means Lord and Master. David used it in the 110th Psalm when he said in verse 1, “The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit in the place of honor at my right hand until I humble your enemies, making them a footstool under your feet.’” If you look at this verse in the original Hebrew, it says, “Jehovah said to Adonai”. Adonai is translated “My Lord”.

God is our Lord, He is our Master. There are so many who claim the name of Christ but don’t make Him their master. I’m sorry to be the one to break this to you, but you can’t do that. He is an all or nothing kind of God. Remember the name we recently looked at, El Qanna? It means that He is a jealous God. The last thing that Jesus said to His disciples before ascending to heaven, what we call the Great Commission, was Matthew 28:18-20, 18 Jesus came and told his disciples, ‘I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’” First, He says, go make disciples. A disciple is one who imitates the one they are following. The Pharisees had disciples, and their job was to follow that Pharisee around and imitate everything he did. God doesn’t tell us to make congregations, He doesn’t tell us to make religious people, He tells us to make imitators of Himself. The name Christian means “Christ-like”. I have a friend, Joshua Hackworth, who said in one of his blogs several years ago that he calls himself a Christ follower, not a Christian because that’s for you to decide. That’s so true if we are living as Christians, then others should recognize us as such. Actually, it’s somewhat arrogant for us to call ourselves Christians. When we do that, we are telling others that we are Christ-like. But, if He is our Lord and Master, we will be following His examples. The other thing this passage says is that we are to teach these new disciples to follow everything that Christ has taught us. Notice He didn’t say to teach them the 10 commandments or to teach them the Lord’s Prayer, He said to teach them the commandments that He has taught us. And, what was the greatest of those commandments? Matthew 22:34-40 34 But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees with his reply, they met together to question him again. 35 One of them, an expert in religious law, tried to trap him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” 37 Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” Love God, and Love Each Other…it’s that simple!

The Bible makes it very clear that we are not saved by our works, Ephesians 2:8-9 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.” But, we are saved for good works, Matthew 5:14-16 14 “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. 15 No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house.16 In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” As with everything, our good works are there to glorify our Father…our Lord and Master. Our Adonai.

If you call yourself a Christian but haven’t made Him your master yet, stop what you are doing and take care of that right now. Go back and read my blog titled “Doulos”. Many of the books of the New Testament started out by saying: Paul, or Peter, or James, or Luke, a doulos of my Lord Jesus Christ. A doulos is a bondservant or a servant by choice. Ask yourself, am I a doulos, or do I try to be my own master?

Names of God – El Qanna

Photo by Michelle Pearson

Names of God – El Qanna

Exodus 34:14 says this, “You must worship no other gods, for the Lord, whose very name is Jealous, is a God who is jealous about his relationship with you.” El Qanna means Jealous God…thus, His very name is Jealous. I know what you are probably thinking, isn’t jealousy a bad thing? It can be, but God is jealous of our time with Him, He is jealous of our worship. I am not a “jealous man” because I can trust my wife, but if my wife were to start giving her affections to another man…watch out.

All throughout the Bible, God refers to us as His bride, Paul said in his second letter to the Corinthian Church, 2 Corinthians 11:2 “For I am jealous for you with the jealousy of God himself. I promised you as a pure bride to one husband—Christ.” If you are a Christ follower, you are the bride of Christ, and he is jealous of our praise, our affection, and our worship.

There is a great worship song. I first heard it performed by David Crowder, but it was written by John Mark McMillan. This song is called, “How He Loves”, and it says:

And He is jealous for me,
Love’s like a hurricane, I am a tree,
Bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy.
When all of a sudden
I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory.
And I realize just how beautiful You are,
And how great Your affections are for me.

He loves us so much, that He gave His only Son to die on the cross for us. Think about this for a minute. First, Christ left Heaven to come to earth as a man, that alone was a huge sacrifice. But, then He lived a life, literally as a homeless man, and ministered to people, many of which rejected everything He said. After that, He was beaten beyond recognition and hung on a cross to die. His body was then buried in a borrowed tomb, then on the third day, He overcame death and the grave by rising from the dead. He did that for you and me, so we must praise Him.

In Deuteronomy 5:9 God told the Israelites, “You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations of those who reject me.” Many of you may be thinking, but I don’t worship other gods like they did back then. Don’t you? We often think of other gods being Buddha or some other idol, but what about money, or your career, or your house, car, or other worldly possessions? Do we spend more time with God than we do with our homes, or cars, or friends, or jobs, or even our TVs? The truth is that we all have things that we put before God, and He is jealous of them. He deserves our attention, and He demands our attention.

We’ve all heard people say, “It’s not about religion, it’s about a relationship.” Sometimes those clichés lose their punch, but it is so true. God does not want religion, He does not care about organ music, or stained-glass windows, or any of that garbage, all He cares about is a relationship with His Church…His Bride.

I’ve mentioned this before, but it bears repeating. Every time that religion is mentioned in the New Testament, except for one verse, it is mentioned in a negative light. The people that Jesus had problems with were the religious people, not the “sinners”, and Paul kept talking about how he left the religion of his fathers to follow Christ. The one time that religion is mentioned in a positive light is in James 1:27, where it says, “Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.” So, what God sees as pure religion is helping widows and orphans, and keeping yourself pure. That’s it! Pure religion is glorifying God!

God’s love for us is unspeakable. One of my favorite verses in the Bible is the last verse in the book of John. The whole book is talking about all that Jesus did for us out of His love for us. It talks about His baptism at the beginning of His ministry, it talks about His ministry and how He was rejected by the religious people. In chapter 17 it recounts His prayer for us just before He went to the cross. It goes on to talk about His betrayal and crucifixion, His resurrection and ascent to heaven, and then it ends by saying, John 21:25 “Jesus also did many other things. If they were all written down, I suppose the whole world could not contain the books that would be written.” Stop for just a minute and think about what this verse is saying. Look around at the room you are in and think about how many books it would take to fill that room. My office is small, about 12’X12’ with 8’ ceilings, so it’s about 1,152 cubic feet. That means that, if each book was about 1 cubic foot, it would take almost 1,200 books to fill this little office. But, to write down all the things that Jesus did for us out of love, the world couldn’t contain the books…wow! What a humbling thought! He loves me that much.

Let’s all, purpose in our hearts to love God as much as He loved us. I won’t write it all here, but stop for a minute and read 1 John chapter 4, starting at verse 7, and fall in love with God. You may think you already love God, and you probably do, but do you love Him like He loves you? Probably not, I know I don’t.

Names of God – El Olam

Photo by Michelle Pearson

Names of God – El Olam

John 3:16 says, “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” In order for God to give us this eternal life that He promised, He must first be an eternal God, and that is what this name is telling us. The name El Olam means, “God Eternal”.

An eternal God is one of those things that is very hard to comprehend. We can almost grasp the idea of a God with no end, but no beginning? That’s a lot harder. We are finite creatures, trying to explain an infinite God. We try to explain it with a circle, but the reason it’s impossible to grasp is that everything in this world is finite. You had a beginning, your parents and grandparents had a beginning, this nation had a beginning, even the world itself had a beginning. But, the Bible tells us that God is everlasting, He had no beginning and will have no end, and this is just one of those things that we have to accept on faith.

The Psalmist put it this way, Psalm 90:2 “Before the mountains were born, before you gave birth to the earth and the world, from beginning to end, you are God.” One beautiful thing about God being eternal is that He never changes, Malachi 3:6 “I am the Lord, and I do not change. That is why you descendants of Jacob are not already destroyed.” Could you imagine a God who is eternal, but keeps changing the rules? That would be chaos! I have worked for companies before, that were constantly trying to “reinvent” themselves. They would change things, just to change them. But, our God never changes. I’ve heard people say, “but what about salvation? Weren’t the Old Testament people saved by keeping the law? The answer to that question is, absolutely not! The Bible makes it infinitely clear that the law was never meant to save, read the book of Romans, particularly chapters 5-7. And, if you look at Hebrews chapter 11, what we call the faith chapter, the writer names many Old Testament people and says that they were made righteous by their faith.

Not only does our God not change, He is patient…very patient, Isaiah 42:4 “He will not falter or lose heart until justice prevails throughout the earth. Even distant lands beyond the sea will wait for his instruction.” We often have a problem with God’s patience. We always want things to happen in our timing, but God does things in His timing. Remember, He knows the beginning from the end, and always has our best in mind. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” So let’s trust him and be patient.

And, He can be trusted, He is our eternal Rock, Isaiah 26:4 “Trust in the Lord always, for the Lord God is the eternal Rock.” Remember what Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us, Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.”

Jesus put it this way in John 8:58, “Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was even born, I am!” Notice He didn’t say, “I was before Abraham”, He said, “I Am!” Remember the name, Jehovah means, I Am? You see, God operates outside of time. Think of it this way. If time were a straight line, the beginning of the line being creation, and the end of the line, is the end of the earth. We are all somewhere on that line, but God is off to one side of the line. He can see both ends and everything in between. God can see the end from the beginning, Isaiah 46:10 “Only I can tell you the future before it even happens. Everything I plan will come to pass, for I do whatever I wish.”

Let’s circle back to John 3:16. What does eternal life mean? When does it actually begin? Here’s the thing, we all assume that this eternal life starts when we die. We figure that we accept Christ and then when we die we get this prize…everlasting life. But that’s not at all what it is saying. First of all, in order to accept Christ, you have to repent. Repentance means turning away. It means doing a 180 and going the opposite direction. Accepting Christ is not a “get out of Hell free card”, it is a change of heart, of attitude, and of direction. You must fall in love with Christ. Let’s face it, if you are married and only spend one hour a week with your spouse, how long do you think that marriage would last? And yet, we try to do that with Christ. If you are not completely in love with your Savior, then stop now and get to know Him. Here’s what I’m getting at. Eternal life does not start when you die, or when you get to Heaven, it starts when you fall in love with Christ. Eternal life can start right here, right now, it can start today. John 11:25 says, “Jesus told her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying.’” See what I mean? He didn’t say “after death”, He said, “even after dying.”

We serve an eternal, unchanging, patient, loving Father. Revelation 1:8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega—the beginning and the end,” says the Lord God. “I am the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come—the Almighty One.” For more about His patient, unchanging love, study 1 Corinthians 13, then go back to my blog entitled “A More Excellent Way”.

Names of God – El Elyon

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Names of God – El Elyon

The Most High God! In Old Testament times, as it still is today, people had many gods. But, most of the pagans recognized that the God of the Hebrews was more powerful than their gods, they feared the God of the Hebrews, because He is the Most High God. In fact, even Satan himself recognized this fact. Isaiah recounts Satan’s fall from Heaven, and in Isaiah chapter 14 Satan gives 5 “I Will” statements, the last of which is, Isaiah 14:14 “I will climb to the highest heavens and be like the Most High.” You see…even Satan himself had to admit that God is the El Elyon…the God Most High.

We find the first reference to this in Genesis 14:18-20, 18 And Melchizedek, the king of Salem and a priest of God Most High, brought Abram some bread and wine. 19 Melchizedek blessed Abram with this blessing: ‘Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. 20 And blessed be God Most High, who has defeated your enemies for you.’” Many scholars believe Melchizedek to be an early appearance of Christ, and I agree. You see, Melchizedek is only mentioned after this in Psalm 110, where God the Father is speaking to God the Son and says, Psalm 110:4 “The Lord has taken an oath and will not break his vow: ‘You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.’”

The only other time we see him mentioned is in Hebrews chapter 7, where the writer goes into more detail on Melchizedek. First, we see in verse 2 that his name means “King of Justice”, and he is the King of Salem. Salem, or Shalom, means peace, so he is the King of Peace. The writer goes on to say, in verse 3, “There is no record of his father or mother or any of his ancestors—no beginning or end to his life. He remains a priest forever, resembling the Son of God.” And it goes on to talk about how Melchizedek was greater than Abraham.

So, what does it all mean? Okay, so He’s the Most High God, what does that mean to me? I could take you through the Bible and show you in Daniel 4 where King Nebuchadnezzar met El Elyon, or in Numbers 24 where Balaam met El Elyon, but we need to know just what that means to us. What this all means, is that, no matter what happens, He is in control. Look at Jeremiah 29:11-13, 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. 12 In those days when you pray, I will listen. 13 If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.” The Most High God has a plan for my life! That’s amazing!

Allow me to give an example from my own life. This isn’t an easy task because there are so many that I had to sit here and decide which one to share. You see, from the day I proposed marriage to Michelle, on Christmas Eve 1983, we decided to follow God no matter what that meant. On our wedding announcement was Psalm 48:14, “For that is what God is like. He is our God forever and ever, and he will guide us until we die”, the song we often sang was a song by Dr. David Livingston called, “Lord Send Me Anywhere”…and He did. Michelle and I have moved more times than I can count and have lived in 7 different states and it was all because El Elyon had control of our lives and we trusted Him. Years ago, there was a popular bumper sticker that read, “God is my co-pilot.” The problem is that isn’t good enough. God must be your pilot…you are nothing more than a passenger along for the ride.

This particular time happened in January of 2007. Our youngest son, Caleb, had expressed interest in acting, so Michelle had entered him in an acting competition the previous summer and he was accepted to go to their competition in Orlando, FL, we were living in Ohio at the time. So, we made that our family vacation and took him to Orlando. While we were there one of the judges, a Hollywood agent, signed Caleb on the spot and told us that we needed to get him out to LA. On the way back to Ohio, we prayed about it. We told the Lord that, if He wanted us in LA, then He needed to make it very clear. At that time, I was serving as a youth pastor in a small church that couldn’t pay me, so I had a management job at an insurance claim office. When we got home from vacation, my first day back to work I was called into the boss’s office. He informed me that my position didn’t exist anymore, handed me a severance check, and showed me to the door.

Some of you are probably thinking, “does God really send people to LA?” I know that’s what my father-in-law asked. Here’s the thing though, as a direct result of us moving to LA in 2007, Caleb now owns a movie and TV production company. He doesn’t make “Christian films”, he just makes films with good messages and uses his business to witness to actors, directors, grips, and anyone he can on set. Caleb believes that, if he can be a conduit for God to change Hollywood, they can change the world.

You see, God had a plan for us, He had a plan for Caleb, and He has a plan for you. He truly is the Most High God. He is orchestrating all of this and He already knows the outcome. Isaiah 46:10, “Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, ‘My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure’;” Remember, He is the Alpha and the Omega…the beginning and the end, The Most High God.

Names of God – Jehovah Mekoddishkem

Photo by Michelle Pearson

Names of God – Jehovah Mekoddishkem

This name of God is only found twice in the entire Bible, and they are both in Exodus chapter 31. This name means The Lord Who Sanctifies You, or The Lord Who Makes You Holy. But, like some of the other names we have looked at, although it only appears twice as a name of God, it is illustrated throughout Scripture.

So, what does it mean to be sanctified, or holy? I mean, we hear these words a lot, especially holy. We hear about how God is holy, the Holy Bible and, of course, songs like Holy, Holy, Holy. But, did you know that you are supposed to be holy just like God is holy? So, what does that look like? The Hebrew word for sanctify or holy is Qadash and it means, to be set apart. We, as Christ-followers, are called to be set apart. The apostle Peter wrote in 1 Peter 1:15-16, 15 But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. 16 For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.” Notice he says, “For the Scriptures say,” he is quoting Old Testament Scripture here; specifically Leviticus 11:44-45, 19:2, and 20:7. Then, he goes on, just a little later in the same letter to say, 1 Peter 2:9 “But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.” Let’s look at what this verse is saying. First, he says we are a chosen people. I’ve said it before. The Bible often refers to us as being adopted, and that means we were chosen. We weren’t thrust upon God, we weren’t an accident…He chose us! The next thing it says is that we are royal priests. David Guzik had this to say about that phrase, “The offices of royalty and priesthood were jealously separated in Israel, but Jesus, who is our King and Priest, has brought them together for His people.” So, in Christ, we are both royalty, and priests. After that he says that we are a holy, or a set apart, nation. As believers, we must be set apart from the world. Romans 12:2 says, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” See what it says? “Let God transform you…by changing the way you think.” Don’t be like the world, be transformed, be a holy nation! But Peter wasn’t finished there, he went on to say that we are to be God’s very own possession. The KJV says, “a peculiar people”. So, don’t be like the world…be peculiar, be set apart, be God’s very own possession. Peter ends that verse by saying, as a result of being these things, we can show others the goodness of God, because He has called us out of the darkness they are in and into His perfect light.

How do we do this? How can we be set apart? Well, the first thing we need must do is, we must die to ourselves. Romans 8:13 says, “For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live.” Singer-songwriter, Joshua S. Porter of the band, Showbread, changed his name to Josh Dies to remind himself that he must die to himself daily. That’s what we must do, not change our names, but remind ourselves that we are nothing without Christ, and die to our sinful nature.

Once we are holy and set apart, and in His perfect light, we must show the world that light. In Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, He said this, Matthew 5:14-16 14 “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. 15 No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house.16 In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” We are the light of the world! So many people today that claim the name of Christ think they are the judges of the world, and that their job is to stand on a street corner and hold signs to condemn people of their sins. News Flash, sinners will sin! It’s not our job to point that out, it’s our job to be a light. Once we have shined God’s light, His light will expose their sins. Look at the Parable of the Great Feast in Luke 14. After he was rejected by the first people he invited, he sent his servants out to bring in the homeless and outcasts. Read that account carefully, did he say to clean them up and then bring them in? No, he said, 21 “The servant returned and told his master what they had said. His master was furious and said, ‘Go quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and invite the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame.’ 22 After the servant had done this, he reported, ‘There is still room for more.’ 23 So his master said, ‘Go out into the country lanes and behind the hedges and urge anyone you find to come, so that the house will be full. 24 For none of those I first invited will get even the smallest taste of my banquet.’”

So, keep in mind that our job is to be holy like He is holy and to be salt and light to the world. Earnest Humphries, the pastor I grew up under, used to always say, “Your life may be the only Bible that some will ever open.” If you proclaim the name of Christ, the world will be watching. So stop judging and start shining!

Names of God – Jehovah Sabaoth

Photo by Michelle Pearson

Names of God – Jehovah Sabaoth

This one is, by far, one of my favorite of the names of God. But, it didn’t become my favorite until about 10 years ago. You see I grew up reading the KJV which translates it as “the Lord of hosts”. Now, that isn’t a wrong translation, but in today’s language, it didn’t really mean anything to me. Then, one day I read it in the NLT which translates it as “the Lord of Heaven’s armies”, or “the Lord of angel armies” and that changed everything.

We find this name used 269 times in the Bible, both the Old and New Testaments and this name is important because it, once again, speaks of God’s protection…He is the Lord of Heaven’s armies. Let’s look at just what that means. There is an old hymn that says, “He could have called Ten Thousand Angels.” That is a lot, but it isn’t quite accurate. You see, this song was taken from Matthew 26:53, which says, “Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels?” So, how many are twelve legions? One legion is equal to six thousand troops, so twelve legions are 72,000 troops. Each troop was roughly a horseman and 10 footmen, that’s 792,000 angels. So, when Jesus told His disciples that His Father would have sent twelve legions of angels, what He was saying was that He would send more angels than they could count. In fact, there are far more angels than that in Heaven. According to Revelations 5:11, there are: “Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands.” Now, this translation from the NASB is the most accurate. The KJV translates it as ten thousand times ten thousand, but the Hebrew word that was translated here as myriads is the Hebrew word “Murias” which is where we get the word myriad. Murias is translated as, “an innumerable multitude, an unlimited number.” You know, when we were kids we used to say, “infinity times infinity”? Well, that’s what myriads and myriads means. This is Heaven’s armies! So, what exactly are you afraid of? There is a great worship song by Chris Tomlin titled, “Whom Shall I Fear” and the chorus says:

“Whom shall I fear
Whom shall I fear

I know who goes before me
I know who stands behind

The God of angel armies
Is always by my side

The one who reigns forever
He is a friend of mine

The God of angel armies
Is always by my side”

The God of Angel Armies is always by my side…isn’t that an awesome thought? Have you noticed a common theme in many of these names of God? Jehovah Shalom, The Lord is Peace; Jehovah Ra’ah, The Lord is my Shepherd; Jehovah Sabaoth, The Lord of Angel Armies; they are all talking about His protection of His children. He is the Lord of Peace, so we can have perfect peace and contentment. He is our Shepherd, so we can lie down in those green pastures and feast before our enemies because He is watching over us. And, He is the commander in chief of Heaven’s armies…again, God’s got this!

We often think that God’s got too much to do to worry about my little, insignificant problems. Don’t you think it matters to God when you are cheated out of something? Check out James 5:4, “For listen! Hear the cries of the field workers whom you have cheated of their pay. The cries of those who harvest your fields have reached the ears of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.” He’s listening to your cries, and He’s there for you.

We are His adopted children, He chose us. Malachi 3:17 says, “’They will be my people,’ says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. “On the day when I act in judgment, they will be my own special treasure. I will spare them as a father spares an obedient child.” Here’s the thing, none of us deserve His favored. I hear people everywhere, both Christian and non-Christian, saying, “You deserve this,” “You’re worth it”. We deserve nothing but punishment, but through His grace and mercy, He has forgiven those of us who have asked for it. My wife wrote this on Facebook recently, and I couldn’t agree more, “So many Christians have gotten on the bandwagon of telling themselves and others “you are worthy”. Where does the Word of God say so? The Bible does point out over and over our unworthiness, though, in order to highlight God’s love and grace – His UN-merited favor. So, please, don’t tell me I am worthy … I know I am unworthy… but, I also know that Christ is worthy and that His Gift has made me worthy … nothing else … And, that I am loved.

When one focuses on whether they are worthy or not, they are not focusing on God, His love, His Mercy, and His grace … the story we are here to tell. Not to tell others they are worthy! In fact, we can never have this gift unless we admit our sin and unworthiness, and give ourselves to Him to live in exchange for His Gift of Grace.” Romans 3:23 “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” Amen!

Here’s the beauty of all of this. I don’t have to be worthy!  People who believe in works-based salvation are constantly living under the stress of being good enough. They think, “what if I sin right before I die?” The Bible makes it very clear that salvation has nothing to do with how good we are. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.” So, don’t try to be worthy, just live every day to glorify the one who set you free.

Know this, although you are not worthy, you are loved. You are loved by Jehovah Sabaoth, the Lord of Heavens Armies…therefore, whom shall I fear?

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