Monday, November 28, 2022

The Names of God - Jehovah Shalom

Jehovah Shalom - God is my peace.

Another verse that has been continually returning to my thoughts over the past year or so is Philippians 4:6-7  'Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.'  God wants me to live in peace - without anxieties or concerns.  

This is an outstanding promise, and one I find utterly challenging to take advantage of.  Its so easy to get worried, anxious, and concerned about a multitude of things.  The most tangible example for me currently is when we have thunderstorms in the summer.  I used to love thunderstorms as a kid.  Now that I have a house of my own and experienced some intense prairie thunderstorms with hail that shattered windows and stripped the vinyl siding off of nearby houses, I actually get physically anxious when an extreme storm is forecasted for our area - my heart beats faster, adrenaline kicks in, and I can't stay seated.

God doesn't want me to feel like this!  He wants me to 'cast all my cares upon Him, because He cares for me.'  There are times (like in the middle of a thunderstorm) where I have to sit down and consciously focus and meditate on these promises to release my anxiety.  

Etymology

Gideon gave God the name Jehovah Shalom.  Gideon's life was fear filled up until that point.  He claimed his family as the smallest and weakest family of the smallest and weakest tribe in Israel.  And Israel was the smallest and weakest nation around.  God found Gideon anxiously threshing wheat in a winepress because he was afraid his enemies will find him and steal it.  And when he realized Who showed up to talk to him, he was afraid for his life because 'I have seen the Lord face to face!'  God replied 'Peace. Do not be afraid.  You are not going to die.'  This exchange clearly had a profound impact on Gideon because he built an altar there and called it 'The Lord is Peace' - Jehovah Shalom.

Application

My quality of living is so much better when I've given all my worries, anxieties, and concerns to God.  He doesn't want me to just leave it at that though.  God wants me to share this lighter living with others who are still weighed down.  I'm reminded of St. Francis of Assisi's prayer:

"Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me bring love.
Where there is offence, let me bring pardon.
Where there is discord, let me bring union.
Where there is error, let me bring truth.
Where there is doubt, let me bring faith.
Where there is despair, let me bring hope.
Where there is darkness, let me bring your light.
Where there is sadness, let me bring joy.
O Master, let me not seek as much
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love,
for it is in giving that one receives,
it is in self-forgetting that one finds,
it is in pardoning that one is pardoned,
it is in dying that one is raised to eternal life."
Photo by Colton Duke on Unsplash


Thursday, November 17, 2022

The Names of God - El Roi

El Roi - God sees me.  

Our church is doing a sermon series this summer called 'This Verse Changed My Life.'  One of the verses that had a significant impact on my this year is Genesis 16:13 'Then she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, El-Roi; for she said, “Have I also here seen Him who sees me?”'  

Hagar - Sarah's (Abraham's wife) servant - gave God this name after she ran away from Sarah.  She was distraught, emotional, and pregnant.  God promised her things would work out for her and her son if she returned to Sarah.  Hagar clearly had special moment with God because in giving him this name I believe she was saying, 'You understand me.  You see the full spectrum of my life experience - you know and perceive me.  Thank you for seeing me and my predicament and meeting me where I'm at.'

I Am Seen

I was personally encouraged when this story and name El Roi was re-illuminated for me again this year.  Honestly, for the impact its had on me, 'personally encouraged' sounds weak.  God sees/perceives/recognizes me - every part of my life.  He knows where I've been, all my past experiences, my current situation, when I feel overlooked or ignored or taken advantage of, and all my foibles, faults, frailties, fickleness, and fears.  He groks the entire context of my life, understands who I am, the promise of my life, my potential, and wants to encourage me, too.  Remembering this is an immense comfort for me. 

Nathanael had a similar experience the first time he met Jesus.  In an instance he flip-flopped from being super skeptical to being a completely sold out, convinced follower of Jesus after Jesus said '...I saw you under the fig tree...'  at the end of John chapter 1.  What would make Nathanael do such an about face?  Like his Father, Jesus truly sees.

The names of God - El Roi - God Sees Me. Do I see others?
Photo by Amanda Dalbjörn on Unsplash

Isn't being seen a foundational human desire?  It certainly seem to be for me.  I often find myself longing to be genuinely perceived, understood, recognized, and known by someone - particularly people in authority that I admire.  When I let the truth that God sees (and has seen) everything about me sink into my soul though, it changes me.  I'm not as frustrated when I'm interrupted.  I'm not as disappointed when I'm overlooked, misunderstood, or forgotten.  I am seen, heard, and understood by the One who matters most.

Application

God doesn't want me to just be comforted by this realization.  He wants me to live it out, be his ambassador, and truly see others as He does.  I need to slow down, pause, and sincerely consider other's perspective, experiences and context in life beyond me.  Then further, make them aware that they are seen too.


The Names of God

The Names of God

I loosely try and use the Lord's prayer as a model in the morning for my own prayers - at least lately.  See this link for previous prayer patterns I've practiced (love that alliteration).  More specifically, I've been considering who God says He is - how He's revealed His greatness through His name to me personally - and thanking Him for that.  Hallowed (or great) be Your Name...  I've found this combination of thankfulness and remembering His greatness to me particularly potent in a positive way.

The Bible actually focuses a lot on God's names.  Often there are phrases like 'bless the name of the Lord', 'for your namesake' and, like above 'hallowed be Your Name.'  Names carry an enormous significance in the Bible.  Many of the different names of God in the Bible came from different people's experiences with God and actual 'revelations' they had of who God is.  Essentially they're saying 'I experienced the living God in this way...'  

As I consider the kaleidoscope of all the different names of God from the Bible, I find God is ready and more than able to meet my needs for living, anywhere, anytime.  God the Seer, God of ages, God the healer, God my peace, God with me, God of all comfort, God the provider, God my hope and protector, etc.

So what are some of the names of God that I remember and I'm specifically thankful for?

The names of God - a view above the clouds
Photo by Taylor Van Riper on Unsplash




The Names of God - Jehovah Shalom

Jehovah Shalom - God is my peace. Another verse that has been continually returning to my thoughts over the past year or so is Philippians 4...