Names of God: Adonai

Musings, Names of God

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.  ~ Matthew 7:21

It is sobering to think that all who call themselves Christians might not really have a relationship with Jesus Christ.  In the New Testament, Lord, is Kyrie but its counterpart in the Old Testament is Adonai. 

Adonai is one of the three names most often used for God in the Bible behind Elohim and YHWH. Elohim is formal and almost more like the title “God” where YHWH is more personal and identifying specifically the Hebrew God but Adonai means Lord or Master.

Adonai, like Elohim, is the plural form of Adon but when referencing YHWH it is used with singular verbs for an emphatic form indicating the plural of majesty or the “royal we” as it were.  Both Elohim and Adonai are sometimes applied to other Semitic deities and the singular adon could mean any lord or master and has been attributed to men and angels.  

Where there is a Master there is a slave or servant.  This name is first introduced in Genesis 15:2 when Abram speaks humbly before God inquiring how the LORD will make him the father of nations when he does not yet have even a single heir and again when he speaks on behalf of the residents of Sodom.

Another use of Adonai is a long-standing sign of reverence and humility.  The vowel points of Adonai are used to insulate the personal name revealed to Moses at the burning bush. See more about this in the post about YHWH.  Observant Jews even substitute the name Adonai when they read YHWH out of reverence for the personal Name.

There are heavy uses of Adonai in Isaiah and it occurs 200 times in Ezekiel and 11 times in Daniel Chapter 9. 

The use of the Name, Adonai, challenges the one who speaks it to live like they mean it.

If we call Him our Lord and Master are we willing to live subject to His will? 

Are we willing to submit our plans and aspirations for His Glory?

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FATHER, 

YOU ARE our ADONAI! You are our Lord and Master!  You are not just our Creator but YOU are our Sustainer and You Will holds the heaven and earth together.  

It is the height of arrogance to believe that we know better but our sin nature temps us again and again to question Your Supremacy and love for us.

You are Holy and You are more Righteous than any other being.  Christ’s love on the Cross and the power of the Holy Spirit reminds us of this and we pray that YOU will continue to teach us Your Ways!

In Jesus’ Name, Amen

Names of God: YHWH

Names of God

Name/Attribute/Meaning: I AM; the self-existent, eternal God

Transliteration: YHWH, Jehovah, sometimes GOD (Genesis 15:2)

First Place the Name appears: Genesis 2:4

The Hebrew names Elohim and Adonai are applied to other Semitic deities but YHWH is unique to the God of the Bible. This name is often referred to as the tetragrammaton (Latin for four letters) and sometimes called the “personal name” of the Hebrew God. In English translations, YHWH is translated as the LORD with all capitals as compared to Adonai which is translated the Lord with only the first letter capitalized (Lord) Early Hebrew did not have vowel markers which were added later by the Masoretes to assist in reading. Scribes believed the name reflected by the Tetragrammaton to be so holy that it was never spoken aloud and a new writing utensil was employed, the word written, the utensil broken and not used again. Such reverence has actually caused the true pronunciation to be lost.

In order to further protect the name YHWH they began writing it with the vowels from Adonai creating YAHOWAH but continued to pronounce Adonai. When the first English translators encountered Jahowah they did not realize it was an artificial construct and transliterated it into English as Jehovah. The current English pronunciation of the YHWH is derived from simply adding the vowels “a” and “e” between the consonants of the Tetragrammaton to make it pronounceable and is interchangeable with Jehovah in compound names. Conservative Jewish tradition still does not read it aloud or use the transliterated version of Yahweh. (See Bible Project video about YHWH)

The revelation of this name to Moses was based on the Hebrew verb “to be” and is found in Exodus 3:14 when the LORD reveals Himself to Moses in the burning bush. The name “Elohim” is used in relation to creation throughout the first chapter of Genesis. In Genesis 2:4 the name YHWH is introduced in conjunction with Elohim (LORD God) in relation to the creation and relationship to humanity. Moses, the traditional author of the Torah, first five books of the Bible, would therefore have made the decision to insert the personal, relational name of God in Genesis 2.

Tell them that I AM sent you. He defies description yet allows us a glimpse of His Glory in this revelation of Himself.

YHWH is often used as the first part of compound descriptive names for God. It is easier to describe what God is not than to do justice to what HE IS…

All of His attributes modify each other perfectly. He is both mercifully just and justly merciful.

This is difficult to understand but allows us to glimpse the enormity of identifying God. 

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Father,

YOU ARE… What an incredible blessing it is to be able to turn to YOU!  To be able to know YOU on any level is an incredible gift but for YOU to choose to reveal YOURSELF to us and desire a relationship with us is beyond comprehension!

Thank YOU for reaching out to us and help us to never take this relationship for granted! To know YOU and be known by YOU is a priceless treasure!

Help us to continue to build on the foundation YOU have provided and seek to know YOU better in every area of our lives!

In Jesus’ Holy Name we pray, ~ Amen

 

Names of God: Elohim

Musings, Names of God

Name/Attribute/Meaning: God, Judge, Creator

Transliteration: Elohim  אֱלֹהִים

First Place the Name appears: Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”

Number of Occurrences in OT: 2,606 times

This is the first revelation of our Creator named in Genesis 1:1 as Elohim. It is interesting to note that in this initial introduction the word is plural in form but used as a singular.   Both El and Elohim are used not only in the context of Hebrew deity but in references to other god figures of other religions as well. (Psalm 86)  Elohim is often shorted to “El” when used in conjunction with other descriptives ie. “El Shaddai”.

The significance of this plural noun used with singular verbs is hotly contested by scholars.  It is difficult to avoid drawing conclusions about the triune nature of our God by this apparent disparity.  This idea is supported by Genesis 1:26 which records, “Let us make man in our image…” There are modern examples of a plural used as a singular. A common example is the use of the “United States” as a singular.  I am not sure this does not further support a trinitarian view but I am a southerner and have a pretty strong concept of the 10th Amendment! I think that this name alone may not be conclusive but the weight of evidence throughout scripture makes it seem like a strong indicator. The necessity of trinitarian doctrine is to understand this apparent plurality of the Father, Son and Spirit while continuing to honor the revelation of the Shema. In Deuteronomy 6:4,

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.

God, the Father, was present at Creation.  Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is revealed in the Gospel of John to be the “Word” and in John 1:1, “In the Beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” Finally, in Genesis 1:2b, “And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” 

How the LORD can be absolutely One God and at the same time exist in in three distinct persons is the perfect example of the necessary tension required for faith.  Faith is required when finite beings consider the Infinite.  If we could understand completely we could be sure that we had oversimplified. No metaphor or example will hold up but just like fire and electricity, we do not have to fully understand them in order to be comforted by their presence but we must treat them with respect.

If you have never taken time to really get to know God then this all may seem very difficult and even overwhelming but I believe that Genesis 1:1 is written exactly this way for the very purpose of our God’s desire to know you and to make Himself known to you.  He desires a personal relationship with you and we will discuss further in the next post the more personal name for GOD and how it came to be known. 

Click this link you would like more information on how that is possible.

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Father,

You are the GOD of all creation and You have chosen to reveal Yourself to us from the very beginning of Genesis to the end of Revelation!

You did not need us but You chose not only to create us but to redeem us from our sin and to continue to lead us toward Yourself!

We seek not just Your Name but Your heart.  Make us more like You in every area of our lives and help us to reflect You clearly to everyone we meet each day.

We love You and thank You for loving us first!

In Jesus’ Name, ~Amen

 

Names of God: YHWH Rapha

Musings, Names of God

The Lord who heals.  Our world is in such desperate need of healing today. There is so much sickness of body, mind, and spirit all around us.  I had planned to start this series on the Old Testament Names of God with a different Name but felt the Holy Spirit leading me, as HE often does, away from my plan and encouraging me to follow His instead!

YHWH Rapha is a compound name for God. 

YHWH is the English transliteration of the four Hebrew consonants which were revealed to Moses by God at Mt Sinai. This name first occurs in Genesis 2:4 but the story of how Moses, traditional author of the Torah, came to know it is found in Exodus 3:13-15. It is often called the Tetragrammaton and is related the Hebrew verb hayah, “to be”. The Bible Project has a terrific video explaining how this personal name for the God of the Israelites has been represented throughout history. The English word “Jehovah” is often substituted or “LORD” in all capital letters.  More on this later.

Rapha is a name based on the Hebrew verb “to heal”.   

This name is first introduced in Exodus 15:26 when the LORD is teaching the Israelites not only about His Character but important aspects of their own character as well.  He reveals Himself as their Healer.  Their need for Him is revealed in what they lacked.

There are foreshadows of Christ throughout the Old Testament and especially in the wilderness story.  In the next three chapters, God made the water sweet, provided bread from heaven and water from a rock. Provision is made in the face of need.  In Numbers 21:4-9 the story of the Bronze Serpent is another example of the foreshadowing of Christ and divine healing of the people in the wilderness.

The prophet Malachi speaks of healing in chapter 4, verse 2 as taking place on the great day of the Lord.

But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall.

The connection of this healing with the Messiah, Jesus Christ, seems most evident, for me personally, in the miracle of the woman with the bleeding disorder.  Recorded in three of the four gospels, Matthew 9:20–22, Mark 5:25–34, Luke 8:43–48, it is a powerful story of a desperate desire to be made well.  The woman believed that she needed only touch the hem of Jesus’ garment to be healed. 

Have you ever wondered why she thought this? 

Matthew 14 speaks of others healed simply by touching His clothing but look back into Malachi 4:2.  The Hebrew word translated as “wing” is kanaph which can be like the wing of a bird but can also mean the extremity of a garment.  The edge of the Jewish prayer garment worn by most observant Jewish men was referred to as the wing. It is not a great stretch to believe that this woman believed Jesus to be the promised Messiah and hoped for healing from touching the hem of his robe.  She would receive the healing she desired that day but the healing she truly needed would not come until Jesus stretched out his arms on the cross and died for her sin. 

Like the Israelites in the desert, she had endured her wilderness and realized her need for healing.  How often sickness brings us to the end of ourselves and turns our gaze heavenward.  We desire a respite from our suffering but the LORD our Healer, YHWH Rapha, desires so much more.  He desires to heal not only our body but our mind and soul as well. He desires for us to be reconciled to Him and each other in righteousness.

It is possible for Him to bring healing in the short term but we have to trust that even if He does not it is because He has a greater plan for His Glory and our good.  This is a hard truth which resides in the necessary tension which exists in the realm between the finite and the Infinite. Learning to live with this tension protects us from oversimplifying what is and must remain beyond our ability to understand.  If it “all makes sense” to us then we probably have it wrong. 

I do not know what ailment you face but I know that YHWH Rapha loves you and desires that you come to know Him for who He really is and accept Jesus as Savior. Click this link you would like more information on how that is possible.

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FATHER,

YOU ARE Jehovah Rapha, the God who heals, and we call on YOUR NAME for the physical healing of those suffering around us here at years’ end. So much of YOUR Character is revealed to us, like the name Jehovah Rapha, while in times of wilderness wandering. So often we cannot understand why YOU allow the trials and struggles in our lives but YOU never fail to be near to us when we call upon YOU!

I pray for the physical healings that are necessary but also for the healing of hearts and minds that may only be achieved in times of forced rest and weary calm. I pray for each of us to know YOU better but realize that may only be possible as we weather the storms that we are facing. I pray for families struggling with the loss of loved ones and even for relationships lost when the people are still very much alive but in conflict. We seek YOUR LIGHT in our darkness and reach out to touch YOU knowing that healing comes to those who revere YOUR NAME!

In JESUS’ HOLY NAME, ~ Amen

In the Middle of becoming a Prayer Warrior

Middle Places Archive

Originally published on May 12, 2013 on Middleplaces.com.

I have a special place in my heart for the Prophet Samuel’s mother, Hannah.

I have always considered her as a prayer role model because she poured out her anguish to GOD, with such raw honesty.

A friend knows of my affinity for Hannah and mentioned her surprise to find Hannah identifying the “LORD of Armies” in her address recorded in the first chapter of 1 Samuel.  Some translations use the term “host” which is often associated with militaristic organization.  My friend expected such language from Joshua or David but was perplexed by Hannah’s choice.  

Hannah would not know until eternity that her prayer to the “LORD of Armies” would create an important link between two of the LORD’s greatest warriors; Joshua and David.  I think it is interesting to note that Hannah was actually the first person recorded addressing the LORD with that particular name.  

Joshua, before his victory at Jericho,  was confronted by ONE who called Himself, “the CAPTAIN of the ARMIES of the LORD.” (Joshua 5:14)  After subduing the land; the “house of the LORD” was set up by Joshua at Shiloh (Joshua 18:1). 

The people paid tribute, at Shiloh, to the LORD of Armies who brought them out of Egypt and allowed them to conquer the Promised Land.   As time passed the people of Israel became complacent.  The Bible recounts a series of “Judges” who would rise up and lead the people back to the LORD but time after time they would turn their back again and the last verse of the book of Judges recounts, “Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”

The story of Hannah proves that not everyone had forgotten who brought Israel out of Egypt and into the Promised Land.   I Samuel 1:3 relates that Elkanah, Hannah’s husband, took his family up to Shiloh for the sacrifice to the “LORD of Armies” every year.  The people of Israel no longer controlled the land.  It had been a very long time since they had been victorious.  

They needed the LORD of Armies.  Hannah needed the LORD of Armies and she sought HIM persistently.  This is a warrior’s quality.

Verses 5 and 6 state and repeat, “the LORD had closed her womb.”  This is a hard passage which supports a difficult truth about the LORD.  HE is sovereign over our circumstances.

Mother’s Day is tough for many who have lost their mother, lost a child or have not had children of their own.

Hannah was no different.

She struggled to reconcile her pain with faith in a GOD who had not granted the desire of her heart.

She struggled but did not give up.

Verse 7 reminds us that the taunts of her rival continued “year after year”.   We are not told how many years she sought HIS respite from her condition but this year was different.  Eli, the priest, is there and rebukes her for drunkenness.   We witness the boldness of a woman with nothing to lose.  Rather than being embarrassed or running away she stands up to the priest and admits not only her fears but her anger and frustration.  

This is what real prayer is about… being honest with the LORD, yourself and even others who challenge your faithfulness.  

She states clearly that she is not a “worthless woman”.  In the next chapter we will find that Eli’s own sons are described as “worthless men.”  Perhaps Eli recognized the difference as he answered her with respect rather than dismissal. 

Hannah finds herself expecting and gives birth to a son, Samuel.  The LORD remembered her and she remembered her promise.  After Samuel was weaned she took him back to the temple and presented him to Eli saying, “as long as he lives, he is lent to the LORD.”  According to Hebrew tradition Samuel would be at least three or four years old by this time.  How she must have loved that little boy, a gift from YHWH.  

How difficult the trip back to Shiloh must have been for Hannah…

Scripture records Hannah’s beautiful prayer which would later be echoed in the words of Mary, the mother of Christ.  She presented Samuel as a living sacrifice even as Abraham presented Isaac, yet another foreshadowing of CHRIST, but Samuel did not go home with her.  

How many of us cry out to the LORD with the desires of our hearts.  We make promises of obedience, change, and repentance only to receive our request and then go about our own business without fulfilling our vows, without looking back.  

Not Hannah.  

She honored her vow with a grateful heart.   Hannah was blessed with other sons and daughters but Samuel emerged from the cry of her heart and opened her womb.  Each year she would bring Samuel a new robe which must have been crafted with great love as she marveled at his growth and ministry before the LORD.  How hard she must have prayed for his well being up in Shiloh.

She remained faithful to the LORD of Armies who appeared to Joshua.  The LORD used her prayer to redeem the priesthood defiled by “worthless men” and prepare the way for the anointing of David, another true representative of the LORD of Armies.

She was in the middle…

In the middle of a nation in chaos, a difficult living situation and a personal anguish, but she was also in the middle of becoming a prayer warrior. 

No one becomes a prayer warrior without facing a difficult and uncertain circumstances. 

She had no idea how far reaching her prayer would be…

On this Mother’s Day we are here in the middle…

Our world appears very much like the closing of Judges with everyone doing what was right in their own eyes.  

What difference can one woman make?  

The Apostle Paul uses battle analogies in Ephesians 6.  He called us to “be strong in the LORD, and in HIS mighty power…put on the whole armor of GOD…against spiritual forces of evil…”  

In the example of Hannah “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17) to the LORD of Armies for the victory!  

One woman made a difference and so can you!