NAMES OF JEHOVAH
T. PIERCE BROWN
(This is the second of two articles dealing with the compound names of Jehovah.)
The reason for these articles is that it is of crucial importance for us to think of God as He actually is revealed in the Bible, not as some imagination might devise. How we think of God determines the way we live. Let us now examine some of those compound names and the implications for us.
In Judges 6 we find the Israelites had done evil again and had been delivered into the hand of the Midianites, but Gideon was called to fight them. An angel tried to strengthen his faith and Gideon built an altar and called in Jehovah-shalom (Judges6:24). The Lord is our peace. Even as we fight the good fight of faith, we may have “the peace of God that passeth understanding” (Philippians 4:7). The reason we can have the peace OF God is because we have peace WITH God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1). The only way to have the kind of peace that only the Lord can give is to stop fighting against God and fight on His side. That starts as we surrender in obedience to the gospel. Then we put on the whole armor of God and continue the battle. The fact that Joshua was getting ready to fight one of the most amazing battles of all time did not keep him from building an altar and calling it Jehovah-shalom, the Lord of peace. The fact that the hosts of Midian may have numbered into the millions and Gideon only had 300 did not prevent him from having peace. In the Lord’s army today, we have men who apparently are so concerned with having peace that they surrender to the forces of compromise and evil. The peace that God wants and gives is a different kind of peace. It involves much, but includes the tranquility of soul that one may have when he knows that God is on his side and will help him fight whatever battles confront him. When the Lord said to him, “Peace be unto thee; fear not; thou shalt not die” (Judges6:23) he gave him a reason for having peace, for God would protect him. God does not promise us deliverance from physical death, but a greater promise. In John11:26He says, “Whosoever liveth and believeth on me shall never die.” An adequate discussion of the values of peace, the proper methods of having peace, and results of achieving the kind of peace God wants would take more space than is available. But our God is a God of peace, and it behooves those of us who are fighting against odds as great as Gideon had to find the peace that God will grant on His terms.
In Psalm 23:1, Jehovah-raah is a Shepherd-God. That is probably one of the most familiar passages in the Bible, to Christian and non-Christian. What is involved in having the Lord as a Shepherd is not as widely recognized. David gives a portion of them. When he says, “I shall not want” he does not mean that he will not desire anything. He means that God will provide for his every need. All of the things involved in green pastures, still waters, a prepared table and the comfort of the rod and staff are all usually emphasized as coming from the Shepherd.
Equally as important are some of the things that Jesus emphasizes. “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (John10:27). The fact that the Lord is the Shepherd is of little value unless He has sheep that hear His voice and follow Him. There are many that claim the Lord as Shepherd who are not paying any attention to His voice and following Him. All those who claim they need no authority for what they do religiously, but both live and worship according to their own feelings are in this category. The fact that the Shepherd would lead beside still waters and into green pastures, providing all the rest, food and care that is necessary is of little value when the sheep refuse to eat the food He provides.
When Jeremiah was prophesying about the Messiah that was to come, he said, “This is the name whereby He shall be called (Jehovah-tsidkenu), THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS” (Jeremiah 23:5). To recognize God as a righteous God who will always do what is right, no matter what our concepts or circumstances might be is worth a great deal to us. There are some that seem to think that God’s mercy and love are so great that they will cause Him to overlook sin. Even though it would be the right thing to do to punish us, He is presumed to be so loving that He will not. Though it is important to know and teach that, the name, Jehovah our Righteousness means more than that. We read in 1 Cor.1:30, “But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who was made unto us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption: that, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.” In 2 Cor. 5:21, Paul says, “Him who knew no sin He made to be sin on our behalf; that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” The problem of discussing such a profound theme in a short article is that in trying to make it short and simple, one is in danger of perverting the truth. But the fact that the Lord is our Righteousness involves at least this much. Neither the Jews nor we could attain righteousness by the works of the law or our own works. It comes through the faith of Jesus Christ (Romans2:20-22). It is through Him, by Him and in Him that we are reckoned righteous. Titus 3:5 tells us, “Not by works done in righteousness, which we did ourselves, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, which He poured out upon us richly, through Jesus Christ our Savior.” The “faith of Jesus Christ” is not the faith that Christ had, but the faith “that was once for all revealed to the saints” (Jude 3). That means that in obedience to the gospel, as we are baptized into Christ (Rom.6:3) where all spiritual blessings are (Ephesians 1:3), we are reckoned righteousness. It is because of our connection with Him, so God treats us as joint heirs with Him (Rom.8:17). There is little doubt that even the prophets who spoke those profound words did not understand the true meaning and depth of that of which they prophesied (Eph. 3:5).
The last name we shall consider in this study is that found in Ezekiel 48:35 where the prophet says, “It shall be eighteen thousand reeds round about: and the name of the city from that day shall be, Jehovah is there.” Without trying to give an exegesis of Ezekiel, it should be evident to any serious student of the Bible that a large portion of the prophecy has to do with thekingdomofChrist. Such passages as Ezekiel 34:23-25, 36:24 and others where they will have a shepherd and God will make a covenant of peace with them are too often referred to in the New Testament for there to be a doubt that he is speaking of the Lord’s church. He climaxes this prophetic vision with the name of the city that he calls Jehovah-shammah, the Lord is there. This reminds us of so many statements in the New Testament from those in the Great Commission on through the Bible. “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20). Matthew18:20, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name there am I in the midst of them.” This same language is continued on into Revelation 21:3, “And I heard a great voice out of the throne saying, Behold the tabernacle of God is with men, and He shall dwell with them, and they shall be His peoples, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.”
For those of us who have had friends forsake us in time of difficulty, or as we had to stand for the truth of God, or for whatever reasons it may be, such promises as those in Hebrews 13:5, “I will in no wise fail thee, neither will I in any wise forsake thee” are very comforting. The primary purpose of these two articles relating to some of the compound names of Jehovah has been to emphasize the kind of God we have that we may appreciate Him more, give Him the glory He deserves and serve Him better.