Exodus Part Four: Deep Dive
THE NAMES OF GOD | RUBEN MICHAEL ELS
Throughout the Bible and more specifically through the Old Testament, we see that names held specific meaning and therefore weren’t just a means of identification, but held significance as to the character or nature of the individual as well. Names were more descriptive and we tend to find this not only in the names of people but of places as well. Throughout the Old Testament and much of scripture God is referred by different names, either by names He revealed to us or by names that His people ascribed to Him in reference to something God had done, thus remembering His nature. Each name gives us a deeper and more intimate knowledge of the nature and character of God. Here are a few from the Old Testament:
Meaning All-Sufficient One or Lord God Almighty – this name occurs seven times in the Old Testament. ‘El’ is translated as ‘God’ and is used in conjunction with other words to designate various aspects of God's character. ‘Shaddai’, which many believe is derived from ‘shad’, meaning ‘breast’ in Hebrew. This refers to God completely satisfying and supplying the needs of His people, as a mother would her child. Let us be reminded that God is the One who sustains us, reminiscent of Jesus’ words in John 6:35, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty’.
Meaning the highest God – this name occurs twenty-eight times and ‘Elyon’ literally means ‘Most High’ and is used in ways that both describe parts of God’s character but also in a sense that refers to His substantive being. This name highlights God’s sovereignty, majesty and His preeminence above all things. This name should remind us that God is above all things and that we have no need to fear, for Christ, who has been raised from the grave, has been seated at God’s right hand and has a position above all rule, power or dominion and all things are under His feet (Ephesians 1:20-21). If God did not spare Christ on our behalf, will He not also give us all things in Him (Romans 8:32)? Let this be a bedrock upon which we build our confidence and trust in God.
There are many other names for God in the OT, some others are:
Adonai, meaning ‘Lord’ or ‘Master’
Jehovah Nissi, meaning ‘The Lord My Banner’
Jehovah-Raah, meaning ‘The Lord My Shepherd’
Jehovah Rapha, meaning ‘The Lord That Heals’
Jehovah Shammah, meaning ‘The Lord Is There’
Jehovah Tsidkenu, meaning ‘The Lord Our Righteousness’
Jehovah Mekoddishkem, meaning ‘The Lord Who Sanctifies You’
El Olam, meaning ‘The Everlasting God’
Elohim, meaning ‘God’, ‘Judge’, ‘Creator’
Qanna, meaning ‘Jealous’
Jehovah Shalom, meaning ‘The Lord Is Peace’
Jehovah Sabaoth, meaning ‘The Lord of Hosts’
All the names of God are meant to give us a deeper understanding His nature and how He relates to us. There are many we can focus on but for the purpose of this Deep Dive I want to focus more specifically on one that points us towards Christ and that is Jehovah-Jireh — The Lord Will Provide.
God’s provision of his promise — jesus
Although this name is only used once, the reason I have chosen to focus on it as the most significant is:
Christ claimed to be the fulfilment of the law (Matthew 5:17-18) and that the Old Testament pointed to His coming (John 5:39, 46); Paul also claims that all the promises of God in the Old Testament are fulfilled in Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 1:20). Not that the Law is nullified or that the righteous requirements are done away with, but rather that Jesus met the righteous requirements on our behalf and we no longer have to fulfil them. Christ was and is the means and the ends of its fulfilment (Romans 10:4).
In so doing, the New Testament claims that through Christ, the Lord has provided a way for us to be forgiven of our sins (Matthew 1:21), be brought to God (1 Peter 3:18) and have eternal life with Him (1 Thessalonians 5:10, Romans 6:23, 1 John 2:25, 5:10).
Jehovah-Jireh is introduced to us in Genesis 22, where an Angel of the Lord stopped Abraham’s hand from killing Isaac, the child of the promise (Genesis 17:19, Galatians 4:28), as a sacrifice; and God provided a ram to be sacrificed on the altar instead. The nature of this incident was quite prophetic because God would ultimately provide an all-sufficient and perfect sacrifice in Jesus Christ and this time, there would be no stopping the hand at the altar. The end result in Genesis 22 is that ‘Abraham called the place “The-Lord-Will-Provide” as it is said to this day, In the Mount of the Lord it shall be provided’. Genesis 22:14. This ‘shall be’ is prophetic because it points to a day thousands of years later, where the Jesus Christ gave His life willingly, securing our forgiveness and saving us from our sins (Matthew 1:21). Therefore, Christ was the final and unrepeatable sacrifice for our sins (Hebrews 9:12).
Applying an understanding of this to our daily lives will give us a confidence to live free from doubt when it comes to living up to the legal requirements of the law, we live by grace (Romans 6:14) and have been saved by grace (Ephesians 2:8). So we are to live in confidence that Christ has paid for our sins and live from that place of freedom. We can also be assured in all areas of our lives that God will provide for us because if He has already given us Christ, will He not also give us all things in Him (Romans 8:32)? Let the fact that He has already provided for us eternally give you a confidence daily that regardless of what our circumstances are, He will provide for us in one way or another. So let us praise Him as the psalmist did for what He has already done (Psalm 77:11).
John 19:30 It is finished.
For further study on this topic see the following resources:
Blue Letter Bible - https://www.blueletterbible.org/study/misc/name_god.cfm
Wayne Grudem - Systematic Theology, Chapter 27 (The Atonement)
John M. Frame – Systematic Theology, Chapter 4 (The Lord’s Covenants)