This article shows how one of the names of God has special significance to both Israel and struggling followers of Jesus Christ.
IT’S WORTH CONSIDERING
One of the focuses of my ministry is Israel—the land and the people. God chose this small group of people to reveal Himself to the world. He gave them a small piece of land to show what a great God could do through a small group of people living on a small piece of land. Everything about Israel is a revelation of God. At different times, He displays His greatness, His judgment, and His compassion. Through it all, God’s promise to be with His people remains intact. Through the good and the bad, times of blessing and times of judgment, He is there.
My purpose for this focus on Israel is twofold. First, it is a way to learn more about the God we serve. By studying His relationship with His covenant people, we can better understand and appreciate His relationship with us. Second, such a focus helps us to know where we are according to God’s prophetic timetable, since most of God’s prophetic revelations are about Israel and her Messiah. (How followers of Jesus Christ came to “inherit” these covenantal blessings is the topic of one of my previous articles.
For now, I want to look at God’s unconditional promise to be with His people. Consider what He said through his prophet Isaiah. Keep in mind that these words were written about 700 years before Christ. The Assyrians had already taken the northern kingdom of Israel captive. Judah was about to suffer the same fate at the hands of the Babylonians. Also, consider Israel’s situation today—surrounded by her enemies and facing a world that is increasing in its hostility to the tiny nation the size of New Jersey.
‘Do not fear, for I am with you;
Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, surely I will help you,
Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’
“Behold, all those who are angered at you will be shamed and dishonored;
Those who contend with you will be as nothing and will perish.
“You will seek those who quarrel with you, but will not find them,
Those who war with you will be as nothing and non-existent.
“For I am the Lord your God, who upholds your right hand,
Who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.’
“Do not fear, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel;
I will help you,” declares the Lord, “and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.
“Behold, I have made you a new, sharp threshing sledge with double edges;
You will thresh the mountains and pulverize them,
And will make the hills like chaff. “You will winnow them, and the wind will carry them away,
And the storm will scatter them;
But you will rejoice in the Lord,
You will glory in the Holy One of Israel (Isaiah 41:10-16).
AS I SEE IT
These verses bring to mind one of the names of God: Jehovah Shammah, which means “Jehovah is there.” We find this name in the last verse of Ezekiel in a reference to the New Jerusalem. In this future heavenly location, the eternal dwelling place of the saints, God will physically be with His children. Until we reach our heavenly home, we have God’s promise to be with us in a different way. He is always accessible anytime we call upon Him in prayer. He is also present within us via the indwelling Holy Spirit.
It’s one thing to intellectually understand this in our mind. It’s quite another to know God as our Jehovah Shammah through experience as He takes us through trials so difficult that we cry in agony for God to be there for us or we will not survive. It is only when we have gone through a debilitating trial that we can honestly say we have “experienced” God as Jehovah Shammah. This goes for Israel as well. He has taken and will take His “chosen people” through whatever trials are necessary for them to experience Him in all the ways He has manifested Himself to them for the past four thousand years.
The Old Testament has chronicled the numerous ways the Children of Israel forsook their God over and over again. Considering the vast number of Israel’s resident Jews who have forsaken their God, we can expect more of the same. Yet, we can also expect their God to remain true to His promises and to the meaning of His names.
The bottom line is that born-again believers in Jesus Christ can expect the same as Israel has faced. The trials will draw us closer to God, and no matter what happens, He is there. In fact, that’s the point. More than anything else, He wants to have an intimate relationship with us. The difference is that we will be raptured to heaven before the ultimate trial, the Great Tribulation begins. Unbelieving Israel will go through it. Yet, God will be there with them.
Whatever you’re going through, if you have given your life to Christ, God is there, no matter how bleak things look. Take heart in this promise:
An after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you (1 Peter 5:10).
Check out my YouTube channel to get my biblical analysis of current events and my suggestions for surviving and thriving while the world falls apart. Click the link or enter edrodgersauthor in the YouTube search box.
ON THE LIGHTER SIDE
1,000,000 aches = 1 megahurtz
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