Thursday, March 12, 2015

Teach us to pray, part 18: Jehovah Shammah

And He said to them, "When you pray, say: 'Father, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. 'Give us each day our daily bread. 'And forgive us our sins, For we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.'" (Luke 11:2-4 NASB)

Jehovah Shammah

Although we could continue the study of Jehovah Rapha for several more days, we are moving to Jehovah Shammah today. We have seen previously that Jehovah comes from the word Havah, meaning "to be" or "to exist". Jehovah, then, means "The Existing One" or "Lord" and is an indication that we have a God who makes Himself known to us, He reveals Himself. One of those ways in which He reveals Himself is through His name. 

Shammah comes from the Hebrew word sham, meaning "there". Jehovah Shammah, then, means "The Lord is There". This name of God is used only once in Scripture and is found is Ezekiel 48:35, where Ezekiel relates his vision of the holy city. It is not specifically named as Jerusalem, but is felt to represent the new Jerusalem, the holy city. Ezekiel ends by telling us something wonderful about the city. 

"and the name of the city from that day shall be 'the Lord is there'." Ezekiel 48:35 NASB

The name of the city will be Jehovah Shammah because the Lord dwells there. His presence fills the city, just as His presence filled the temple in Isaiah's vision. (Isaiah 6) It is that presence that gives us comfort and hope, and Jesus also spoke of His presence with His people as He was returning to Heaven. 

"and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Matthew 28:20b

This truth of the presence of God is vitally important to our understanding of the Christian life. No matter what trial, difficulty, sorrow, or circumstance we face, the presence of God in the midst of it is certain. We are not alone, for He is with us. 

We are not alone.

I am writing from the comfort of my bed, mug of steaming coffee at hand, two dogs dozing peacefully next to me. Through the windows, I can see the day dawning as the sun begins to rise. The riotous concerto of birds provides my background music. It's a beautiful morning and peace reigns. God is here and I am not alone. 

There have been times, however, when the presence of God was less obvious, times were less certain, comfort was less apparent, the future of peace less solid, yet God was no less present. I was never alone. There is a song we sing in choir that says, "Never once did He leave me on My own." It is absolute truth. Jehovah Shammah has been here for every step of my path, and He has been present for every step of your path, too. You have not been alone, and you never will be alone because Jehovah Shammah, The Lord is there. No matter how difficult your circumstances, Jehovah Shammah is with you in those circumstances.

What a comfort it is to know that the presence of God is with us! How, then, do we hallow the name of Jehovah Shammah? We acknowledge His presence, celebrate that He is with us, every step of the way, from now and through eternity, and we order our steps to honor His presence. He is there. Wherever we are, He is there. 

We serve a God who cares enough about us to be with us always. What could possibly be better than that?