July 29, 2004
Encouragement for Today
Mary Southerland - Member of Proverbs 31 Speaker Team, Director of Networking, Author
The God who made you is like your husband. His name is the LORD All-Powerful. Isaiah 54:5 (NCV)
When Dan and I were first married, I really struggled with what to call his parents. Mr. and Mrs. Southerland seemed too formal but Jerry and Norma was too familiar and did not address my level of respect for them. On the other hand, "Mom" and "Dad" were just a little too intimate for me - maybe because I was still working through a lot of issues concerning my dad who died when I was five years old. My mom was both mother and father to me for most of my life. It almost seemed disloyal to address another woman as "mom". I solved my problem by not calling them anything - which was not really a solution at all. I loved them both very much and wanted to convey that love to them. After years of marriage, the death of my own mother and the survival of many family crisis with them I one day found myself calling them "Mom" and "Dad". It was not a conscious decision on my part but seemed perfectly natural. In fact, I did not even realize that I had made that transition until one night Dan commented on how much it meant to them that I would call his parents "Mom" and "Dad". As I thought about his comment, I realized that over the years, I had not only grown to love and respect them more, but my relationship with them had grown to a new, intimate level. The same should be true in our spiritual journey.
How can we know God in an intimate way - on a marriage level? We get to know anyone we meet by first exchanging names. At an early age, I taught my son that a simple way to meet someone new is to say, "Hi! My name is Jered. What's yours?" Names are very important.
God has a first name - Yahweh or Jehovah, a Hebrew word that means, "I am". "LORD" should be translated "Yahweh" meaning that Yahweh Almighty is his name. Translators did a great job with the Bible but here they took the name of God and substituted a title. When you see "LORD" in all caps read it as "Jehovah". Yahweh Jehovah is a personal name that reveals the very core of His being, His sufficiency and holiness. God wants to be on a first name basis with you and me and wants us to come to Him just as we are in our weakness and incompleteness. When we come honestly before Him, sharing who we really are and what we really need, God then shares His last name. God's last name is always based upon the current need of our lives.
God came to Moses and said, "I want you to be on a first name basis with me. My name is Yahweh Jehovah" and from that point on, whenever the people had a need they cried out in their insufficiency saying, "God you are the I Am. Come and meet me!" God would then come, meet them and give them His last name.
- In Exodus 16 the people cried, ""God we're out here in the desert with no food or water, literally starving to death! Jehovah Yahweh, where are You?" God says, "I'm right here. My name today is Jehovah Jireh, which means "Provider". All of a sudden, quail are raining down from heaven, manna is found on the desert floor and new water begins pouring out of a rock.
- In Exodus 17, the people come up against a vastly superior military force and cry out to God saying, "We can't do this! This army will wipe us out! Please help us!" God says, "I'll be there. My name today is Jehovah Nissi, which means"Banner". In Biblical times, when tribes went to war, flags and banners were carried out in front. Therefore, God is telling the people that He will go before them and fight the battle for them.
- In other passages, people came to God overwhelmed and anxious. God says, "I am Jehovah Shalom, your Peace."
- David came to Him in a moment of desolation and said, "God, I am in the wilderness totally alone." God says, "I am Jehovah Shammah. I am here."
- Jesus cried out to God saying, "Abba Father" which means "Dearest Daddy". This name paints the picture of a broken hearted child climbing up into the lap of the loving Father. There the child finds comfort and safety. The Father wraps His arms around that child and becomes a refuge.
God wants an intimate "marriage level" relationship with you, His child. You can come to Him, calling Him by name and He will meet the need of your heart.
My prayer for today:
Father, I want to know you more. I want to see your face and hear your voice. I long to see you in every circumstance and sense your presence with every breath I take. Amen.
Understand that we can come to God on a first name basis.
Accept His invitation to meet Him at the point of your deepest need.
Recognize that intimacy requires honesty.
Be willing to come to Him - just like you are.
Examine your heart knowledge of God. Is there a sense of intimacy? Does the thought of intimacy with God frighten you or comfort you? Why?
Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his. Daniel 2:20 (NIV)
Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his. Psalm 69:30 (NKJV)
So you should not be like cowering, fearful slaves. You should behave instead like God's very own children, adopted into his family calling him "Father, dear Father." Romans 8:15 (NLT)
Keep me as the apple of Your eye; Hide me under the shadow of Your wings. Psalm 17:8 (NKJV)
I will cry out to God Most High, To God who performs all things for me. Psalm 57: 2 (NKJV)
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust." Psalm 91: 91:1-2 (NIV)
Becoming a Woman Who Listens to God by Sharon Jaynes
How to Live a Life of Victory by Mary Southerland
Originally published Thursday, 29 July 2004.