YAHWEH ~ I AM

Just before God introduced Himself as YHWH, He gave another description of Himself. 

“God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM.’ And he said, ‘Say this to the people of Israel: I AM has sent me to you.’” Exodus 3:14

In the course of two verses, God showed Himself to Moses as I AM and YHWH! Continuing to explore our 7 points of Yahweh and why this name is so important. 

3. Yahweh is with us. God exists! 

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him and without him was not any thing made that was made.” John 1:1-3

God is here, whether we recognize that He is or not. He interacts with us and among us.  He is not obligated to do so. He simply is and He does so because He loves us. 

4. Yahweh is unchanging. 

He is the same today as He was yesterday and as He will be tomorrow. We live in a world that wants us to conform to it’s way of thinking. Well that has obviously been going on for centuries. In the book of Hebrews it says: 

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings, for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, which have not benefited those devoted to them.” Hebrews 13:8-9

Does that sound familiar? We have all sorts of strange teachings going on around us today. And because we as christians do not conform to them we are considered intolerant.

5. Yahweh is wholly other than us. We are made in God’s image, yet God is not like us. 

“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:9

God is holy and He is higher, He is infinite and He is all being, all knowing, omnipotent. Just like the Psalmist says (Psalm 8:4) what are we that God is even mindful of us. We GET to approach the throne of grace because of what Jesus did for us. But even though we get to do that, let us never forget who He is! 

He is I AM! 

(7 points are from an article written by Jenna Martin, a youth ministry worker and freelance writer, expounded on by my own studies.)

YAHWEH ~ HOLY OF HOLIES

Of all the names of God that we have studied, Yahweh is the Holy of Holies! (My thoughts) I have found studying this name the biggest struggle. Why? Because while I never want to mishandle the Word of Truth, this is the one that humbles me the most. I FEAR mishandling this one. Not because I am afraid that God will blast me, or even be disappointed in me if I do. But because this is the one that is the all encompassing, the Holiest, the one most revered. 

There are seven points that I found in my studies that point to the importance of this name of God. We will break these up into a couple of days. 

1. Yahweh is self-existent. God does not need us nor does He need the air that we need to breathe. Nor does He need water or food. God is infinite! He was here before time began and He will be here when time as we know it ends. God does not need us. Which brings us to the most awe inspiring next point. 

2.  Yahweh is Relational. When God introduces Himself as Yahweh, He said He was the God of your Fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. (Exodus 3:15) He personalized Himself right there. He let it be known that even though He does not need us, He had relationship with these great men in the past and he desires relationship now. Another example of this is in Psalm 19. The first 6 verses of this Psalm in the original text use Elohim, which we know is a name of God as Creator. 

“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to Day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard. Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world In them he has set a tent for the sun, which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber, and like a strong man, runs its course with joy. Its rising is from the end of the heavens, and its circuit to the end of them, and there is nothing hidden from its heat.” Psalm 19:1-6

But in verse 7 the Psalmist shifts to use Yahweh, in our translations LORD and it is talking about his personal relationship or experiences with God. 

“The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure making wise the simple; the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.” Psalm 19:7-10

Everywhere you see LORD was YHWH in the original text. Do you see how personal it is. Yahweh is for us. Yes He is the Creator of the universe but when He touches your life and you know Him, you let Him revive you and speak to you and give you direction and wisdom and you take it, it is the sweetest relationship you will ever have. Sweeter even than honey!

We will continue the 7 points tomorrow. 

YAHWEH

When reading your Bible you may have noticed that you will see the word lord written three different ways: lord, Lord or LORD. When you see the word as lord it is always referring to men. When you see it written as Lord, it is referring to the Hebrew word Adonai. But when you see it written in all caps, LORD this is the Hebrew name of God – Yahweh, or actually YHWH. 

This was considered the personal, sacred name of the God of Israel. Eventually it would be spoken only by the priests. And eventually, over time the Jewish people felt that the name was too holy to be pronounced aloud at all. They would substitute this name with Adonai when referring or reading the name of God. 

Yahweh appears in the Hebrew Scriptures over 5,000 times in every book of the Bible with the exception of the book of Esther and Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon only mentions Yahweh once in verse 8:6. 

One of the first instances of Yahweh that I could find was in Genesis 2:4.  

“These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens.” Genesis 2:4

But one of the most significant places in scripture that Yahweh exists is in Exodus. 

“God also said to Moses, ‘Say this to the people of Israel: The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations.” Exodus 3:15

Remember when you are studying scripture that every time you see LORD, in all caps, this is referring to Yahweh. His name is higher, His name is greater, His name is above all. He is the Holy One of Israel and He is the Holy One of my heart! He is the same today as He was yesterday and He is the same today as He will be tomorrow. You can trust Him to always be. Yahweh may be too Holy to speak aloud but I think you can always call on Him in your heart. 

Shophet ~ Judge

“There is only one lawgiver and Judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?” James 4:12

If we are not careful we will put ourselves in a position of judge over someone else. My friends this is a very dangerous position to be in. If we are living under the grace and mercy of Jesus, it is our responsibility to treat others with grace and mercy as well. Believe me I know this is a very hard thing to do at times. But it is a command from scripture, we have no other choice. 

“Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things.” Romans 2:1-2 

Now we immediately may think we aren’t judging others or maybe we are only judging those who are doing really bad things so we are ok because we aren’t doing the “really bad things”. But that is not what scripture is saying. It says we have no right to pass judgment on others. There is only one God and one Judge and we can’t explore this lesson on who God is as Judge over creation without exploring the idea that we are not. 

I’m going to tell a little story. Years ago when I was a young mama who stayed home with my kids I was working VBS at my church. I knew another mom who had also been a stay at home mom with me who was dropping her kids off every day at VBS. I heard a couple of other women talking about how angry and irritated they were that this other stay at home mom was not working like the rest of us were. What these women did not know is that this mom who was dropping her kids off was going through a very heartbreaking situation at home and this particular year she needed the time where she knew her kids were being taken care of as much as she wanted her kids to learn about Jesus. Her life and world was falling apart as she knew it and she had things she needed to take care of. The point is this, we never know what is going on in another persons world or another persons mind when they are doing the things that they are doing. Our job is not to judge them, that belongs with the Lord because He is the one with the power to save them. Our job is to love them. 

“For with the judgement you pronounce you will be judged. And with the measure you use it will be measured to you.” Matthew 7:2

I remember finding this verse years ago and all I could think was OUCH! I know that I truly do not want God to use the measuring stick with which I have judged others at times to judge me. But I can say learning this verse was beneficial for me as it comes to mind when I fall into my old human ways of doing that very thing. What we need to remember is to extend grace, extend mercy because we do not know the battles someone else may be fighting. 

“For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.” James 2:13 

Oh sweet Lord, help us to remember this verse, help us to write it on our hearts and to show mercy to others. The same mercy we pray will be  shown to us. 

Shophet ~ Judge

“For the Lord is our judge; the Lord is our lawgiver; the Lord is our king; he will save us.” Isaiah 33:22

This is by far not the most popular of the names of God and truthfully I struggled a bit with studying it. But one thing I have learned while studying scripture is that we must study all of it, not just the parts we like the best. I think it is hard for us to think of God as a judge because well we don’t always see judges in the best light. Sometimes we will tend to see the judge as someone who is sitting high on a bench looking down their noses at us. But that is not who God is. He is not sitting up on a throne in heaven just waiting to blast us. That’s also not how all human judges are either. In fact, I have had very limited experience with judges but the ones I do know and have seen are fair and execute their judgment based on the law. In fact I know one personally and I know that she doesn’t look down her nose at people. I know that she is fair, honest, and is heartbroken over some of the judgments that she must execute. 

That is more how we should see God as Judge. He is fair and just, honest, upright and I am sure heartbroken over some of the choices that we make. He is perfect in His judgment. Quite frankly I would much rather have God as my judge than most people. And when we do sin, whether it be toward another person or a private sin that no one knows about it is toward God because we are His. 

“Against you — you alone — I have sinned and done this evil in your sight. So you are right when you pass sentence; you are blameless when you judge.” Psalm 51:4

God is blameless when He judges. The sentences that He passes on us will always be fair and just and meant to turn us toward repentance and not toward blame and shame. 

In fact we can know from scripture that it is His desire to give us grace when we sin. 

“Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him.” Isaiah 30:18

Knowing how God judges does not make me afraid of His judgment. I thank Him for the grace with which He judges me. 

Jehovah-Tsidkenu ~ The LORD our Righteousness!

“How then can man be righteous before God?” Job 25:4

This question was asked by one of Job’s “comforters,” Bildad the Shuhite? But it is a good question to ask. I used to really struggle with thinking of myself as righteous. I did much better to think of myself as a filthy rag. But that was even after I had become a Christian. There was something in me that felt like I should walk down the aisle at church on Sunday morning and publicly repent of all my wrongdoing for the week. I am not saying I necessarily did that every week but I was living in the shame and guilt of my past choices as well as my present choices. I was measuring myself completely by the law and well let me just say that is no way to live. I just knew that God really couldn’t accept my filthy rags because He was so Holy and I was so filthy. I just could not see that I really could think of myself as righteous. It sounded pious and uppity and I knew I would not be able to measure up. Bildad was asking a good question when he asked that question in Job. (Even though his timing may have been a little off if you ask me. Don’t send Job’s buddies to comfort me in my time of need.)

The truth of the matter is that the only way we can approach God and be righteous is once we have accepted Jesus. Prior to Jesus, the only way to be righteous was to live under the law and to strive to keep the law to the letter. And still, they must at certain times bring the blood sacrifice to atone for sins that they had committed. But once Jesus became our blood sacrifice, once and for all we can now approach the throne of grace boldly because His righteousness, His blood covers us. 

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33

Once we have accepted Jesus we are to seek His righteousness. It’s all in the verb. There is a huge difference in striving to keep the law and seeking the kingdom and his righteousness. Let’s look at the definitions of strive and seek. 

Strive – make great efforts to achieve or obtain something, struggle or fight vigorously. 

Seek – attempt or desire to obtain or achieve something, ask for (something) from someone. 

The definitions themselves make me tired. Under the law the people had so many rituals and laws that they had to keep. I know for me it would have been a constant struggle. But with Jesus, all we really must do is pursue and seek Him. And all the things can and will fall into place. That is not to say that life will be perfect. But we will be perfected in Christ in order to approach the throne of grace. 

“And the effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever.” Isaiah 32:17

When we pursue Him and His righteousness, the benefits are a life of peace, quietness and trust. Kind of reminds me of the words of an old hymn. 

“My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness.” 

That’s the best place for my hope to be, on Christ, the solid rock! 

Jehovah-Tsidkenu ~ The Lord is our Righteousness!

“Behold the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In those days Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will dwell securely. And this is the name by which it will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness.’” Jeremiah 33:16

I heard it said just the other day that when God repeats something in scripture he means for us to “get it”!  Well this is one of those places that is repeated almost verbatim. Yesterday I showed you the first place Jehovah-Tsidkenu was in Jeremiah 23:6 and this is the second place and it reads almost identical. So I think the Lord intends for us to “get it”. This prophecy is pointing to Jesus. He is fulfilled the promise that there would forever be a king from the Davidic line in that He is our King of Kings on the throne today. And he is the one who will always be the executor of  justice and righteousness in all the earth. 

As we look to Him for our righteousness, we can feel small and inept because we know that our righteousness could never measure up to Jesus righteousness as He walked this earth as a sinless man. But even though our righteousness in our human efforts can never measure up to Jesus, that is not how we are supposed to look at it. In fact, if that is how we are trying to measure it we will fall short and scripture shows us that we will. 

“As it is written: ‘None is righteous, no, not one.’” Romans 3:10

But what we have to do is realize and grasp the fact that we are righteous and can be righteous only through the blood of Jesus that we believe. 

“But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it- the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood to be received by faith.” Romans 3:21-25

We are righteous in the eyes of God through our faith in Jesus. Our righteousness is not something we earn. If you believe in Him who was crucified and raised again, you are righteous already. Your sins are washed away no matter what they are. This means your past sins, your present sins, as well as your future sins. If they are sins in your thought life, of your tongue or if you struggle daily with sins none are any worse than the other and they are all washed away in God’s eyes. This is not meant to give us a license to sin. Because of this gif of grace we have received, we should want to put away the sin. But we can know that even when we do mess up, because we will as there is only one who ever walked the earth sinless, that we are still righteous to approach the throne of grace! Only because of Jehovah-Tsidkenu ~ The Lord our Righteousness! 

Jehovah-Tsidkenu ~ The Lord our Righteousness

There are a couple of places in scripture that this name of God specifically appears. However, we can see the Lord’s righteousness throughout scripture. We will look at the first place that the term appears. 

“In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness.’” Jeremiah 23:6 

The context of this verse in the book of Jeremiah is prophecy by Jeremiah for when God will gather the flock of Israel who had been taken captive to Babylon. God is stating that he will gather His people back to Israel, into His Promised Land and that they would be blessed. They would have leadership and they would multiply. Even though by this time it appeared that the line of Kings of David had been cut off, God was going to make good on His promise that the Messiah would come from the Davidic line and that He would raise up a “Branch of David”. He would bring Israel back to The Promised Line, He would raise up a king and His people would be blessed. And in it Israel would “dwell securely”. 

When we look at the word righteousness, we often look at it more negatively than positively. We think of it as “self-righteousness”. However we are made righteous through the blood of Jesus. Jehovah-Tsidkenu puts righteousness in it’s rightful place. Our Lord is our righteousness. We are made righteous because of God, not because of anything we have done. God was planning to save Israel and bring them out of captivity back to the Promised Land because of His righteousness not because of anything they had done. 

We are made righteous through His blood. Not because of anything we have done. In the book of Isaiah it says “and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6). So many times we think we are supposed to try to be good enough to come to Jesus BEFORE we come to Him when the truth of the matter is no matter how “good” we think we are, it is still going to be as a filthy rag to Him unless and until we have the blood of Jesus covering us. He is our righteousness. He is our good enough. He is our Jehovah-Tsidkenu. 

Jehovah Shammah ~ The Lord is There ~ in You!

In Old Testament times God would dwell in the temple. But today God dwells in each of us! 

“Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.” 1 Corinthians 3:16-17

What an awesome thought that is. Many times I will think I wish I had lived when I could have seen the seas parted for me to walk on dry ground or a burning bush and the Lord would speak right out of it. But truthfully, I like my life in the here and now much better. We have the benefit of all of us having God with us every day. We can worship Him wherever we are. We do not have to have the church building to do so. I have had many a worship time on my porch watching the sun rise over the lake. But don’t get me wrong and think I am saying we should neglect the church. I don’t think that at all. I love my church and I love corporate worship. But I also truly love that I can have private worship with my Savior and that I don’t HAVE to have someone else go into the temple to consult with God on my behalf. I have His Spirit in me, therefore I am His temple. 

But it’s convicting too. Do you think about it? Do you think about the fact that when you leave the church building you are taking God with you wherever you go? If you are a christian then He lives inside of you. He goes with you. We can’t leave Him at home when we go out and we can’t leave Him at the door and tell Him we will be back later. This may be part of the reason that God takes it so personally when we allow things in that will destroy us and our testimony. God is sinless and if it were not for Jesus declaring us righteous by His blood which was spilled for us on the cross we could not be the temple. God could not live within each of us, because He is Holy. In 1 Peter chapter 1 it says “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” (v. 16)

So in Ezekiel when he saw in His vision God returning to the temple and he said Jehovah-Shammah, The Lord is There, he was comforted and it was comforting to the Israelites that God’s presence would be with them. But we don’t have to wait for a vision. I love to see the sun shining down on our church building and to think The Lord is There, because it’s like I can see the glory of the Lord all over that building. But really, the sun is shining down on you and on me because that is where the glory of the Lord is now. If you are a Christ follower, if you have asked Jesus into your heart then Jehovah-Shammah~the Lord is there~in you! Walk with Him today. Remember He is walking right within you! 

Jehovah-Shammah ~ The Lord is There

“The circumference of the city shall be 18,000 cubits. And the name of the city from that time on shall be, The Lord is There.” Ezekiel 48:35

Ezekiel was a prophet who saw great visions. He prophesied and saw in a vision Jerusalem being destroyed, and it happened. He also saw God return to the city of Jerusalem, the new city and He prophesied that God would be there.  This is the last verse of the book of Ezekiel and it gave hope to the Israelites. They were being held captive and they wanted to know that they would return home and that God would be there in the temple when they got there. And this was the end of Ezekiels vision of the new Jerusalem that they would return to. He was assuring them that He was seeing God return to His temple in Jerusalem. 

This name of God signified the presence of God in the future for the Israelites. It was assurance to them that God had not forgotten them. Remember that in Old Testament times they did not have the Holy Spirit with them all the time. Jesus didn’t dwell in their hearts so they relied upon God’s presence in the temple, and the priests and the law for guidance. Being held captive in Babylon it was harder for them to feel God’s presence. They needed this vision from Ezekiel to see that God had not forgotten them. They needed this hope. So to me this Jehovah-Shammah signifies hope. Hope that not only is God with me in my todays but hope that God will be with me in my tomorrows. It’s like the verse in Jeremiah that is quoted so much as well as the verses that follow. 

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:11-13

Jeremiah was also a prophet during these days of captivity around the same time as Ezekiel. The Israelites were looking to these prophets and the visions of a new Jerusalem and the prophecies of a future and a hope from Jeremiah were exactly what they needed. We get to cling to the future and the hope that God has for each of us too. And we get to know that the Lord will be there in our future as well as the fact that He is with us in our today. Are you in the midst of circumstances you need to change? Are you praying for different? Whatever it may be you just need different? These are your verses to cling to. You can know that God has good plans for you and your people. He has a future and a hope. Invite him in. Ask Him to be Jehovah-Shammah for you. Ask Him to be in your today, but ask Him also to be in your tomorrow so that you can know that wherever you are headed He will be there too!