Experts will tell you that a healthy self-image begins with knowing “who you are.” Next time on The Alternative, Dr. Tony Evans explains why it’s far more important to know whose you are as he reminds us about the difference between being the creation and the creator.
Trials are adverse circumstances that God either introduces or allows in our lives to both identify where we are spiritually as well as to prepare us for where He wants us to go. If you are alive, there is no escaping life’s trials.
You are either in a trial now, you’ve just come out of a trial, or you are getting ready to go into a trial. Trials are unavoidable realities of life.
But even though we all experience them, we also should take comfort in knowing that trials must first pass through God’s hands before reaching us. Nothing comes our way without first having received His Divine approval. And in order to get His Divine approval, there must be a Divine reason for Him to approve it.
We learn about God’s name Jehovah-Jireh in the biblical story of Abraham offering up his son Isaac on the altar of sacrifice. The root word for the name Jireh literally means “to see.” Yet the compound name when put together means “to provide.” Abraham, knowing that what he saw in the spiritual realm affected his own actions in the physical realm, he recognized the power of sight in calling the place of sacrifice Jehovah Jireh. Somewhere in the combination of those two names, there is a relationship between God “seeing” and God “providing.” When we look at the form of the word “provide” that reads “provision,” we can recognize this link more clearly. Vision is in reference to seeing; while provision means that something was seen beforehand and thus provided for. The root “vision” ties the addressing of what is provided to what was seen.
God provided for Abraham based upon what He saw with regard to Abraham and that pre-vision led to God’s provision. God provided a ram when he saw Abraham going forth in obedience to sacrifice his son. He provided a way out of his trial.
So the question is: What must God see so that He might provide for you when you are caught in a trial of life? He needs to see the same things that He saw in Abraham which are found in these words from the passage: rose, saddled, took, split, arose, and went. Abraham did not delay his obedience. He did what God had asked him to do even though he didn’t know how God was going to work it out. Delayed obedience is disobedience. Partial obedience is complete disobedience. In other words, if Abraham had only gone half way on the trip, he wouldn’t have finished the journey. He never would have experienced and known Jehovah Jireh.
The name Adonai (Adonay) is found over four hundred times in the Bible, and its’ meaning is revelatory in nature. The name comes from the singular word Adon, which translates as “master” or “ruler.” It contains the concepts of “dominion,” “rulership,” and “ownership.”
The cultural background to the word Adon is associated with humanity and deals with masters who owned slaves. Yet it didn’t merely connote ownership, it also bore within the name a certain responsibility for the care and well-being of that which was owned. The master was to provide for, protect, guide and maximize that which he owned.
Thus when God is referred to in Scripture as the plural form Adonai, He is referenced as Owner. The psalmist pens in chapter 97 that God is, “the (Adonai) of the whole earth.” He is not only the Creator (Elohim), but He is also the Owner (Adonai). God reveals this ownership through His Word, “For every beast of the forest is Mine, the cattle on a thousand hills.” (Psalm 50:10)
Since God is the absolute ruler and owner, our response to this name comes through the surrender of submission. Submission is a powerful tool when coupled with an All-powerful Adonai God. Unfortunately, too many Christians today have settled for Jehovah without experiencing the full power of Adonai. This is because to experience all that God as ruler, master and owner over your life can do for you, you have to knowingly, willingly surrender before Him. That means He gets to call the shots. He gets to have the final say in your decisions. His perspective is the perspective you utilize in making your choices, and in how you use your time.
Too many people want God to do what His Word says He can do without giving Him the right to own them. God is not going to give you more of Jehovah (He is not going to continue to reveal Himself and His ways to you) if you are not willing to confess more of Him as Adonai. If you are not willing to surrender ownership over your time, thoughts, talents and treasures to Him then the information flow stops. It ceases, lessens … it becomes more like a drip rather than a full force of Him fulfilling His Word in your life. Surrender to God and honor Him as Adonai and watch the heavens overflow with His plan for your life.
Jehovah is the name with which most of us are familiar in one form or another. It is also the name that is used most frequently throughout the Old Testament – 6,519 times. In fact, it is – in our contemporary mindset – God’s most famous name.
The reason why this name is so important is not merely comprised in the number of times that it is used. This name, Jehovah (I Am who I Am) is important because it is God Himself telling Moses – and essentially His chosen people of Israel – that this is who He is. In fact, so sacred was this name in Jewish culture that the Jews would not even speak it. At this point in history, we do not even know how to correctly pronounce it because in the 3rd century A.D., the Jews ceased from saying it altogether for fear of braking the commandment of taking the Lord’s name in vain. Therefore, in time, we lost touch with the correct pronunciation.
Even when the scribes would write or copy the Bible and they would come upon this particular, sacred name of God, they would read over what they had just copied and not pronounce or say His name.
The four consonants which comprise this self-revealing name of God are called the Tetragrammaton. In fact, the literal translation of the word Tetragammaton simply means, “the four letters.” They are the letters Yud, Hay, Vav, Hay. Because all four letters are consonants, vowels were later added in order to help us to be able to pronounce a name in some form or fashion which we did not possess the ability to pronounce correctly. Initially, this rendering of God’s name YHWY was Yahweh, in the original language. When it was translated into English, it became the name which most of us reading this today know it as – Jehovah. The combination of these consonants is derived from a word that means, “to be.”
If Elohim is God’s creative and powerful name, then Jehovah is God’s personal name. It is His self-revealing name because this name comes to us directly off of the question, “What is (your) name?” Essentially, when we study the name Elohim, we study the God who is the Creator. We can talk about His power, presence and prowess. Yet when we talk about Jehovah, we are talking about His person, His character. Elohim is the side of God who created the heavens and the earth. Jehovah is the side of God who relates to His creation personally. A person can believe in Elohim without knowing Jehovah. In fact, plenty of people believe in God (Elohim.) Yet plenty of people do not know the God whom they believe in (Jehovah.) Jehovah is the God who personally reveals Himself to us, oftentimes through trials and struggles that we are facing. Jehovah reveals the depth of God’s concern and care for each of us individually, and it lets us know He is nearby at all times – closer than a brother.