Celebrating Jesus in Psalm 23!
Naming babies has become a science it seems these days! I have had the privilege as a pastor to visit many new babies and mothers in the hospital after delivery. The first question I always ask is "What is their name?" As Christian parents, we always want to give a name to our child that has significance and spiritual meaning. The real hope we have is that our child will live up to their name. When it comes to God, names were ascribed to Him not on the basis of what He might do, but who He was known to be. Old Testament worshippers were known for their building of altars and naming them to describe the greatness of God. Yesterday, I took these following eight names and applied them to our daily worship of God, then concluded with Psalm 23, here is what we have found: There are several names ascribed to God in the Old Testament:
1. Jehovah-Rohi: The LORD My Shepherd (Psalm 23)
If anyone knew the role of a shepherd, it certainly would have been David. A tender warrior that cared for the flock of His father. The primary role of a shepherd is that of Protector. I love the fact that God is called our Shepherd in the 23'rd Psalm. He is the protecting God that shepherds us and cares for us.
2. Jehovah-Jireh: The LORD Shall Provide (Genesis 22)
This name for God appears for the first time on Mount Moriah in Genesis 22. Abraham has raised his knife to take the life of his own son Isaac when God intervened and provided a ram for Abraham to sacrifice. So Abraham names the place Jehovah-Jireh, or Jehovah who shall provide. God provides for us what we need when we need it. When we worship Him, we are certainly worshipping a providing God!
3. Jehovah-Rophe: The LORD Who Heals (Exodus 15)
Exodus 15 records the story of Israel coming to the bitter waters of Marah. They begin complaining against Moses and the Lord. God tells Moses to cut down a tree and place it in the water, when Moses obeys, the waters become sweet again. God tells Moses that He did this to test Israel whether or not they would obey His commandments. If they obeyed, He would keep them from experiencing any of the diseases He put on the Egyptians. He then tells Moses that He is the God who heals. So, in that place, Moses celebrated the Lord Who Heals. I think it is interesting to note that the healing God gave was preventive healing. God stayed the plagues and the diseases from Israel. How many times can we look and see that God has prevented so many things in our lives. He certainly should be worshipped as the Healing God!
4. Jehovah-Nissi: The LORD My Banner (Exodus 17)
The children of Israel are facing the Amalekites in Exodus 17, and their victory is based upon whether Moses holds his hands up or not. Aaron and Hur come alongside Moses and hold up his hands until the battle is won. To celebrate the victory the Lord has given, Moses builds an altar and names it The Lord Is My Banner. "Banner" is not like a flag we might fly, it is the word we use for "standard" and refers to a standard that was raised as a rallying point for troops. Therefore, the Lord was to be Israel's rallying point in all things, the One around whom they would gather in times of need!
5. Jehovah-M'Kaddish: The LORD Who Sanctifies (Leviticus 20)
The theme of the book of Leviticus is Holiness. Worship and sacrifice were to be carried out in such a way that the holiness of God and His people were reflected. In chapter 20, we find this pivotal statement: "Be ye holy, for I am the Lord your God. And ye shall keep my statutes, and do them: I am the LORD which sanctify you." He is the Lord who makes us holy. We are set apart by Him and for Him. He is to be worshipped because He is a Holy God.
6. Jehovah-Shalom: The LORD Who Is Peace (Judges 6)
In Gideon's day, every man was doing that which was right in his own eyes. Israel was under constant threat by the Midianites, and God raised up a farmer named Gideon to deliver them. Gideon at the beginning was extremely hesitant about his new role as the deliverer of Israel, can you blame him?! It was not until Gideon built an altar to worship Jehovah-Shalom, that he finally settled into his new position. He did that because the Lord said to him, "Peace be with you; do not fear, you shall not die." Gideon celebrated the peace that God promised unto him and claimed this peace in an act of worship!
7. Jehovah-Tsidkenu: The LORD Who Is Righteous (Jeremiah 23)
Jeremiah is prophesying during a time of great sorrow and despair in Israel. No one was listening to Jeremiah and he was discouraged. God comes to Jeremiah with reassurances that in the midst of sin and destruction, a Ruler would come and establish righteousness in the land. The Ruler's name would be Jehovah-Tsidkenu, the Lord Who Is Righteous! What a joy to worship the God who will one day come and establish righteousness in an unrighteous world!
8. Jehovah-Shammah: The LORD Who Is There (Ezekiel 48)
The last verse of Ezekiel's prophecy comes from Babylon in 597 B.C. He had seen visions of the glory of God gradually departing from Jerusalem and Judah, and he prophesied the coming destruction of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. But God also gave him a vision of a new Jerusalem that God would build, a magnificent city that would make the original fade into dismal memory! The name of the city would be, Jehovah-Shammah, the Lord Who Is There. In Babylon, Ezekiel celebrated the God Who Is There, so can we today!
Notice Psalm 23:
"The LORD is my shepherd" - Jehovah-Rophi
"I shall not want" - Jehovah-Jireh
"He maketh me to lie down" - Jehovah-Shalom
"He restoreth my soul" - Jehovah-Rophe
"He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness" - Jehovah-Tsidkenu
"For thou art with me" - Jehovah-Shammah
"In the presence of mine enemies" - Jehovah-Nissi
"Thou annointest my head with oil" - Jehovah-M'Kaddish
Psalm 23 is a celebration of the Shepherd of our souls! I pray that you will come to know that the God we worship is not a distant, untouchable force. He is a loving Shepherd!