Blog Archive

Friday, July 31, 2009


For July, each post examines an Old Testament name of God.

Friday Freelance: FAMILIARITY

Set me as a seal upon Your heart,
As a seal upon Your arm.
For love is strong as death,
Jealousy is fierce as the grave.
Its flashes are arrows of fire,
the very flame of YAH.
Song of Solomon 8:6 (author)

One of the idioms of Hebrew is usage of "to know" in reference to physical intimacy between a man and his wife. When a man thus knows his wife, no part of her—body, heart, mind, and soul—should not become familiar to him in a way no one else will know her.

In more common usage of the word "know," surely no one knew the Lord better than Moses. He repeatedly held the power of God in his hands with his staff. Twice Moses spent forty days fasting on Mt. Siani in communion with YHWH. The Bible records Moses spending more time in direct contact with God than any other man except Jesus Himself.

When Moses comes to know YHWH so well, no wonder he desires to behold God's full glory—to see Him as fully as YHWH sees Moses. In seemingly contradictory passages of Exodus 33, verse 11 first says, "So YHWH spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend." Yet YHWH asserts in verse 20 that no man may see His face.

The Hebrew word for face, paneh, can also mean "before," as in "before your face." The voice of YHWH was heard by various patriarchs, His presence was visible to the Israelites in the pillars of cloud and fire. Moses alone was given the privilege of coming before YHWH’s visible and intimate presence in a one-on-one intimacy that man had not enjoyed since the garden—but which still excluded the full, unveiled revelation of the divine face.

When Moses begged, "Please, show me Your glory" (verse 18), his Lord graciously granted fuller knowledge and manifested His glory—but withheld from Moses the fullest knowledge that yet awaits each of us on the other side: "For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known." (1 Corinthians 13:12)

Webster’s Dictionary: vehement: marked by forceful energy:
POWERFUL: as a: intensely emotional: IMPASSIONED, FERVID:
b1: deeply felt 2: forcibly expressed 3: bitterly antagonistic.

Oxford’s Dictionary: vehemet: showing strong feeling, forceful,
passionate, intense; ORIGIN Latin vehemens : impetuous, violent.

According to Strong's Hebrew Dictionary, YAH is a contracted form of the sacred name YHWH, and its meaning is defined as YHWH "most vehement."

This emphatic and personal name of God occurs 51 times in Scripture, and is usually translated "LORD" (as YHWH is, with small caps; or, KJV: JAH).

The Psalms use YAH 25 times in the imperative phrase "Hallelu YAH." That phrase is usually translated "Praise [ye] the LORD," and is familiar as "Hallelujah" or the Greek "Alleluia." Halal is a Hebrew word for a clear, shining, showy, celebratory praise—most fitting to evoke the intensity which is consistently connected to the name YAH.

YAH first appears in Scripture immediately after the powerful and clearly miraculous deliverance of Israel through the Red Sea. Thereafter, YAH appears exclusively in poetic contexts, where the speaker is giving testimony to or exhorting praise for the power of God with which the speaker has become familiar. It is because one has personally witnessed the power of YAH, extended on his or her behalf, that one is compelled to praise Him.

Perhaps the similarity of the name YAH to the Hebrew yada ("to know") is not accidental. New Covenant believers who belong to Jesus Christ experience unthinkable physical intimacy with divinity and its power: the Holy Spirit takes up residence in mortal vessels of flesh. Such familiarity is beyond amazing.

In light of the strength, passion, praise, and intimacy of knowledge associated with YAH—as well as the fact that it is the sole pronounceable form of the divine name YHWH, and the only name for God which retains the Hebrew pronunciation when translated into English—YAH is this student’s favorite name for our mighty and intensely personal God.

You will keep in perfect peace
The one stayed upon You
Because he trusts in You.
Trust in YHWH forever,
for YAH, YHWH, is the Rock of Ages.
Isaiah 26:3-4 (author)

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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Dod-iy / My Beloved

For July, each post examines an Old Testament name of God.

Dod-iy / My Beloved
(pronounced: "dohd-EE")

Now let me sing for my Beloved my love song ...
~ Isaiah 5:1 (author)

His mouth is most sweet,
Yes, he is altogether lovely.
This is my beloved,
And this is my friend ...
I am my beloved's,
And my beloved is mine...
I am my beloved's,
And his desire is toward me...
Make haste, my beloved.
~ Song of Solomon 5:16; 6:3; 7:10; 8:14 (NKJV)

Song of Solomon is in the Hebrew called "Song of Songs." This most beautiful, most sensual, most romantic love song is indeed a song above all others, composed as God's very Word.

The ballad may—nay, must—be read two entirely different ways to be appreciated. (It helps to use a translation such as the NKJV which identifies speakers, based on the gender and quantity of Hebrew pronouns, which are otherwise unclear in the English.)

One first reads this short book as the account of King Solomon and his Shulamite bride, named by him only as "My Love." Scripture's portrayal of consummated romance is the model for wedded lovers of all times. The poem never ventures into the graphic illustrations characteristic of our culture. It instead draws upon evocative imagery which piques the imagination. The kiss with which everything begins is described in the words "Your lips, O my spouse, drip as the honeycomb; honey and milk are under your tongue ..." (4:11)

But such imagery is not what elevates this poetry as the Song above all other songs. Ready to take romance up a notch?

The fuller understanding of Solomon's love song requires a second full read, identifying "My Beloved" as the divine Bridegroom. The king and his bride are an allegory of the King of kings and His blood-purchased bride, the church. Song of Songs is poignant revelation of Christ's all-consuming love for us.

This most excellent romance expresses things such as how we see ourselves ("do not look upon me, because I am dark"), and how our Beloved sees His bride ("Behold, you are fair, my love!") He lingers over every part of her, noting every detail (4:1-15; 7:1-8)—even as the Holy Spirit seeks to touch every part of our lives.

Surprising details include the bride's ability to captivate her Bridegroom with her mere glance ("My sister, My spouse, you have ravished My heart with one look of your eyes"), and even overwhelm Him with her gaze ("Turn away your eyes from Me, for they overwhelm Me"). Her detailed description (5:10-16) of the One she calls "My Beloved" demonstrates a long study which has taken Him in completely. When His bride describes the King to others, they are compelled to seek Him out, that they might look at Him for themselves (6:1).

The entire protrait is not of submission to a Husband's dominion, but of a bride surrendered to her Lover's delight in her and of her delight in Him. I have attempted to say enough to capture your interest, without spoiling Song of Songs for your own read. The best is left to be discovered.

I close with a last observation. The passionate zeal of both human and divine romance is depicted as nothing less than the very "flame of YAH" (8:6)—tomorrow's final name in the series.

Feedback appreciated! Post to "Comments" or e-mail to Copyright 2009, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

My Strength and Song

For July, each post examines an Old Testament name of God.

Oz-ziy ve-Zimrath / My Strength and Song

Yah, My Strength and Song,
Has become my salvation;
He is my God, and I will dwell in praise of Him;
My father's God, and I will exalt Him.
~ Exodus 15:2 (author)

"This day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the LORD is your strength."
~ Nehemiah 8:10 (NKJV)

Music speaks soul language.

Music has the power to evoke every emotion we know. The intricate science and math of something so filled with beauty and art could have only originated in heaven.

Music precedes humans. The Lord told Job that at creation, "the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy" (Job 38:7 NKJV). The Bible does not record that song. The first song to appear in Scripture is immediately after the Israelites have been delivered through the Red Sea from Pharaoh. The opening lines of that song declare, "I will sing to YHWH, for He has triumphed gloriously! ... Yah, My Strength and Song, has become my salvation ..."

We praise and worship the Lord in song because He is our Song!

And in our song we also find He is our Strength—of soul, heart, mind and body. The strength of our song lies not in the skill of voice or musician's mastery, but in the heart. Music may be performed flawlessly but passionlessly. The strength of song lies in the heart from which it is played. (I have this on good authority from those gifted in music.)

To say "the joy of the Lord is my strength" is not merely an encouraging platitude. It is the Word from God and it is a reality. The one who belongs to Christ has His Spirit in residence. In song, the Holy Spirit receives a voice to praise God, and strength lies therein.

His song is a love song.

Love is the most common theme of songs. Perhaps one of the reasons we so often express love of God and romantic love in the soul's language of song is because when we feel weakness in fluttering heart and weak knees, being lovesick compels us to find strength in song. In singing of love, and in expressing our love to the one (or One) we prize most highly, both soul and love are strengthened.

If the Lord were but Husband, we might or might not feel moved to song. But He is Song itself. He is Strength itself. And tomorrow, we'll look at Him as "My Beloved"—to Whom we sing love songs.

The above photo, titled "Rain Dance," is of my nieces while they're waiting for an outdoor wedding to begin. They demonstrate one response when the Lord sends clouds and rain upon one of life's celebrations: celebrate anyway.

Feedback appreciated! Post to "Comments" or e-mail to Copyright 2009, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Qanna / Jealous

For July, each post examines an Old Testament name of God.

Qanna / Jealous
(pronounced: "kahn-NAH")

... you shall worship no other god, for YHWH, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God ...
~ Exodus 34:14 (author)

For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.
~ Deuteronomy 4:24 (NKJV)

I've made it a point to write a fresh post here each day. Today will be a rerun, (the first I recall), one which speaks to the jealousy of any husband, and the jealousy God has for us as our Husband.



"Go and cry in the hearing of Jerusalem, saying,
'Thus says the LORD:
"I remember ... the love of your betrothal ...
What injustice have your fathers found in Me,
That they have gone far from Me,
Have followed idols,
And have become idolaters? ...
For My people have committed two evils:
They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters,
And hewn themselves cisterns—
Broken cisterns that can hold no water.
... You lay down, playing the harlot." ' "
~ Jeremiah 2:2,5,13,20 (NKJV)

Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, "The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously"?
~ James 4:4-5 (NKJV)

The Bible uses an vivid image to portray idolatry: adultery.

Does anything else in human experience ignite wrath like finding a spouse in bed with someone else? Human jealousy needs no explanation.

The Lord views idolatry with the same jealousy. We see ourselves as far too sophisticated to bow before a piece of metal, wood or stone. We forget that seeking satisfaction from the world is the New Testament’s definition of idolatry, and is also called adultery.

The Lord offers abundant living waters. To show preference for offerings from the dry and broken cistern of this world rightly ignites the jealousy of the Spirit who dwells within us.

Beloved Bridegroom, You paid a great price to make available to us the Living Waters of Your Spirit. You satisfy as nothing else. Please give us discernment between the godless, the goodly and the godly. Please woo our hearts to seek Your face, and to woo You with our own love.

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Monday, July 27, 2009

Ishi / Husband

For July, each post examines an Old Testament name of God.

Ishi / Husband
(prounounced: "eesh-ee")

"You will call Me 'My Husband,'
And no longer call Me 'My Master.' "
~ Hosea 2:16 (NKJV)

For your Maker is your husband,
The LORD of hosts is His name.
Isaiah 54:5 (NKJV)

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved [His bride] the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish... This is a great mystery ...
~ Ephesians 5:25-27,32 (NKJV)

Most Christians are aware that the church is called the bride of Christ, and He is called the Bridegroom. The relationship Paul calls a mystery is first observed in the Old Testament, where God speaks of Himself as a Husband to His people.

In doing so, the Lord intimates Himself as more than Creator, Master, Lord. He holds out a relationship more precious and meaningful than every other human relationship. If I might be so bold to make the suggestion, I believe the great love the Creator puts between a man and his wife moves us so powerfully simply because its purpose is to magnify the love and relationship the Lord offers those who are His.

Our response? Here's a place to start. A wife in love with her husband seeks to please him. She’ll learn to cook his favorite foods. She’ll dress and style herself in the manner he likes to look at. She’ll learn what pleases him and not only offer it as part of her love for him, but she'll conform herself to being what He favors. She becomes uniquely his.

God tells us what He finds desirable. As any Bridegroom, Christ wants a glorious bride. His Word tells us, "Be holy, for I AM holy" (1 Peter 1:16). And because we're unable to do it for ourselves, Christ puts His Spirit in us to prepare us for the day we meet Him. The Holy Spirit acts as a divine valet, washing us and teaching us and conforming us into the bride Christ waits to return for.

Yesterday's post described "holy" as set apart from all that is ordinary. Over at the blog What I Learned Today, Billy Coffey rightly said one of the devil's greatest lies is "that we are all ordinary." Peter not only reminds us to be holy, but goes on to counter the devil's lie with this:
But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. (1 Peter 2:9 NKJV)

The King James translates "special people" as "peculiar people." The Greek peripoiesis combines peri (around, for oneself) with poieo (to make or do), and the combination describes something uniquely acquired, with which to surround oneself.

As a man acquires a wife.

By dwelling inside of us, God surrounds Himself with us. As He makes us holy, we are set apart with him, not from Him, both unique and uniquely His.

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Sunday, July 26, 2009

Qadosh / Holy One

For July, each post examines an Old Testament name of God.

Qadosh / Holy One
(pronounced: "kah-DOSH"
[long "o"])

"To whom then will you liken Me,
Or to whom shall I be equal?" says the Holy One...
Have you not known?
Have you not heard?
The Everlasting God, YHWH,
The Creator of the ends of the earth,
Neither faints nor is weary.
His understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the weak,
And to those who have no might He increases strength.
Even the youths shall faint and be weary,
And the young men shall utterly fall,
But those who wait on YHWH
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.
~ Isaiah 40:25,28-31 (author)

The Hebrew qadosh means set apart, sanctified, consecrated. It is applied to an object which is separated from all which is ordinary and common, to be used for that which is sacred.

When applied to God, it sets Him apart from all else. If creation had continued in a state of sinless perfection, God will still reign far above it. In its fallen condition, creation must be separated from the God Who stands apart as sinless and perfect, holy and good.

The perfection of the Holy One leaves no room for sin or evil. It is said that when Jesus was tempted by the devil, it did not prove that He would not sin but that He could not sin. The goodness of God is pure and absolute and above question.

When we glimpse God’s throne in Isaiah 6:3 and Revelation 4:8, the angels exalt God not for His love or mercy, but simply declare He is holy. They are in the position to see the separation of His throne in the highest heaven from the heavens and earth visible to mankind.

Because He is absolute in His perfection and pureness and goodness, the Holy One is able to give to us all we lack in our sinful and therefore weak condition. He is able to give understanding and power and strength.

Every emptiness in the human soul is a God-shaped void. Because He is holy, the Lord puts in us all we lack. To “wait upon” (Hebrew qavah) Him is literally to be bound up together with Him, with both hope and expectation, as we look eagerly for what He will do.

His promise is to satisfy every deep longing of the human heart, both now and in the age to come, in the highest heaven and to the ends of the earth.

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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Paliy / Wonderful

For July, each post examines an Old Testament name of God.

Paliy / Wonderful
(pronounced: "pah-LEE")

And the Angel of YHWH said to him, "Why do you ask My name, seeing it is Wonderful?" ... And Manoah said to his wife, "We shall surely die, because we have seen God!"
~ Judges 13:18,22 (author)

But [the LORD] said, “… no man shall see Me, and live… you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen.”
Exodus 33:20,23

And His name will be called Wonderful ...
~ Isaiah 9:6 (NKJV)

The Hebrew paliy might best be translated “full of wonder.” Paliy means something too extraordinary to be comprehended, or even known. The King James Version translates paliy as “secret,” and the full wonder of Who God is will indeed remain a secret to us in this place and time

Sometimes God offers words. Sometimes He offers only wonder.

This particular name of God says simply that no matter how much we learn or see or know of God, for now, the mystery remains.

For now.

For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.
1 Corinthians 13:12 (NKJV)

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Friday, July 24, 2009

Netsach Yisrael / Eminence of Israel

For July, each post examines an Old Testament name of God.

Friday Freelance: FACETS

I recently suffered a minor crisis typical of writers, summed up in Does what I write matter to anyone? The only One of Whom I really need to ask that question whispered write about first love stuff.

It was indeed love at first sight when I met the Word of God on an autumn day in 1985. I'd read the Bible for years, but never before come to know the Word made flesh. The love affair has only intensified with time.

Different names for God particularly fascinate me. Each name from Scripture reveals something more about Him, providing an ever larger picture of a very big God.

I've become obsessive about the study. I once spent over a year picking through the Hebrew text starting at Genesis, examining every reference to the Lord for any difference from all the other ways He's named. When I reached the end of Deuteronomy with 94 names cataloged, I moved on. (If the Lord tarries long enough, I'd love to complete the other 64 books of the Bible someday, to methodically locate whichever names I may have missed through random study.)

When I started this blog series July 1, I anticipated an easy task of copying and pasting notes. But each post has been a brand new study in the review of a different facet of God's personality.

Reminiscing with my Flame has made me fall all the more deeply in love with Him.

"The Eminence of Israel will neither lie nor relent.
For He is not a man, that He should relent."
1 Samuel 15:29

Netsach Yisrael / Eminence of Israel

One of the most fascinating names of God is used only once in Scripture, yet the word itself has multiple facets. Various Bible translations use six different words to express the word netsach of 1 Samuel 15:29 in English. To capture all the nuances of netsach requires even more synonyms.

Here are some of the facets of God's personality expressed in defining the single Hebrew name Netsach.

Eternal / Perpetual – The Everlasting God (El Olam) is perpetual. He exists beyond mortal comprehension of space and distance. He will exist in eternity future after all culmination. He existed in eternity past before mankind’s creation.

Distant Glory / Majesty (as of a star) – The distant stars are not minute, but immense in size and great in splendor. The glory of YHWH was made visible in the pillar of cloud to the people when they were delivered from bondage. The people heard the voice of YHWH and feared, begging that only Moses draw close. Even as the mighty stars are placed far away lest they consume the earth, so must God in His glory stand apart lest man be consumed for his sin.

Strength / Blood (as the glory of brilliant, vital, blood) – The atonement for sin is the life of a perfect sacrifice. The life, the strength, the glory is in the blood. The animal skin which covered Adam’s nakedness and sin required the blood of an animal. The blood of the perfect sacrifice is glorious—as is the blood of the crushed grape which becomes the wine shared in fellowship and rejoicing and covenant. Both cups contain sweetness mingled with bitterness.

Director / Chief – There is but one Chief to direct the people; but one Sovereign above all visible rulers.

Truth / Confidence / Firmness – The truth of God's Word is a firm Rock on which to build with confidence. What the Lord says He will do.

Eminence – Superior, distinguished, respected, outstanding, and conspicuous are words all used to define eminence.

The epitome of eminence is named YHWH, the LORD.

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

El Olam / Everlasting God, Rock of Ages

For July, each post examines an Old Testament name of God.

El Olam / Everlasting God

Tsur Olam / Rock of Ages

You will keep in perfect peace
The one stayed upon You,
Because he trusts in You.
Trust in the LORD forever,
For Yah, the LORD,
Is the Rock of Ages.
Isaiah 26:3-4 (author)

Then Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba, and there called on the name of the LORD, the Everlasting God.
~ Genesis 21:33 (NKJV)

The word olam is generally translated "Everlasting" in the Bible.

It is translated "universe" in a most common Jewish prayer: "Baruch ata Adonai, Elohey-nu Melech ha-Olam." Or: "Blessed are You, O Lord our God, King of the Universe."

Olam is sometimes translated "unchanging." Although God's everlasting quality does not change, olam doesn't literally mean unchanging. It is a masculine noun for something which extends so far ahead or behind, in time or in distance, that neither its beginning nor end is within sight.

We might think, "ah—infinity." Infinity does not exist in the Hebrew mind, but only the concept that our finite minds cannot grasp the beginning and the end. It is a subtle but important distinction for a God Who three times declares in the book of Revelation that He is the Beginning and the End. Even the universe for which we have yet to determine limits certainly has them, for Scripture declares that God has marked out its boundaries.

Thus olam might be most literally defined as "out of sight." Does that bring an amused smile to your face? It is certainly not inappropriate. Olam is large and enduring and fixed, its beginning and end beyond our comprehension. Yet the passage from Isaiah says that if we keep Olam within sight, our mind and heart stayed upon Him, He will keep us in perfect peace.

Olam is combined by Isaiah with the word tsur, which means rock. Tsur is neither a stone for a sling nor a larger building stone. This is a boulder or cliff such as the Rock of Gibraltar. If anything captures the essence of fixed and enduring, it would be such a rock.

Thus the poetic translation "Rock of Ages." Tsur Olam has proven Himself worthy of everlasting trust. In relying upon Him, we need worry about neither the beginning nor the end which are outside our view. He is already in both places.

Stayed upon the Rock of Ages, we are secure. We are at perfect peace.

Your feedback is appreciated. Post to "Comments" or e-mail to Copyright 2009, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

YHWH Rophe-ka / YHWH Your Healer

For July, each post examines an Old Testament name of God.

YHWH Rophe-ka / YHWH Your Healer

"If you diligently heed the voice of YHWH your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am YHWH Your Healer."
~ Exodus 15:26 (author)

Zodhiates Hebrew Dictionary defines the Hebrew verb rapha "to heal, to make fresh ... describes the process ... of physical and spiritual healing ... being [made] wholesome ... it describes the restoring of a person's soul, life."

Like the word shalom, meaning "peace," rapha addresses wholeness of body, mind, heart and soul. The components of a person are not separated. If one part of the person is not well, the person is not well.

In The Word on Health*, Dr. Michael D. Jacobson identifies six reasons given in Scripture for physical illness related to the whole person:
• Sickness unto death
• Sickness to glorify God through healing
• Sickness to test or develop character
• Sickness due to a broken spirit (depression)
• Sickness due to purely physical causes
• Sickness due to chastisement [/consequences] for sin

Among reasons for sickness due to chastisement, Dr. Jacobson mentions specific sins for which the Bible describes that one might suffer illness, including immorality, lying, rebellion, bitterness (unforgiveness), a violated conscience (guilt), and taking communion unworthily. It is noteworthy that consequences may be chastisement from God as Father, from the devil (by sin giving him an opening in our lives), or the physical affects on the body from sin itself (e.g., alcoholism).

There is a time and place for physicians and counselors of various kinds. But the Lord is our foremost Healer, of body, mind, heart, and soul. When we turn to Him for healing, He does not isolate a physical problem from the whole person, and His process of healing is likely to involve more than the body. He may choose to heal upon repentance or through medicine. He may release from sickness upon death, or He may choose to perform a miraculous healing at once (to which numerous credible testimonies attest, and which I have personally witnessed).

When we seek His healing, we do well to ask Him how we might cooperate with it. When we see another suffering affliction, we must use utmost caution to not evaluate the why of sickness unless God is providing direction to enable us to assist the healing process. We should remain ready to offer comfort to the afflicted.

The greatest and most important healing God desires to do is the eternal healing of our spirits from sin. It is a healing available only through the blood of His Son. The most important healing God might use one of His servants to perform is speaking words of freedom from sin and guilt.

God promises to heal His children. The why, how and when are subject to His will—as it is bent by our prayers.

* Above excerpts taken from The Word on Health by Dr. Michael D. Jacobson, Moody Press, © 2000. Used with written permission of the publisher, 2001.

Your feedback is appreciated. Post to "Comments" or e-mail to Copyright 2009, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Eliy / My God

For July, each post examines an Old Testament name of God.

El-iy / My God

(pronounced: "ale-EE")

A Psalm of David
When He Was in the Wilderness of Judah.
O God, You are my God;
Early will I seek You;
My soul thirsts for You;
My flesh longs for You
In a dry and thirsty land
Where there is no water...
When I remember You on my bed,
I meditate on You in the night watches.
Because You have been my help,
Therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice.
My soul follows close behind You;
Your right hand upholds me.
~ Psalms 63:1,6-8 (NKJV)

We know too little of hunger. We flippantly say "I'm starving" to express that we're hungry enough to feel it. Worse, we randomly say "Oh my God" with little or no thought of the need for God.

David was a warrior often in the field, and twice a fugitive (fleeing first from King Saul, and later from David's son Absalom). He would have often known true hunger. Though David lacks even water in the Wilderness of Judah, he confesses a greater thirst for God in his soul. His very flesh longs for God, implying a depth of need which becomes a physical ache.

David does not here call upon Adonai his Master, nor upon the Lord of Hosts to deliver him from enemies, nor as Elohe-nu, "Our God" (as the Jews address the Lord in corporate prayer and when blessing Him for the food He provides). David cries out to the One he calls "My God"—the same name used by Jesus in His greatest hour of need. Whatever the needs of his starving body, David needs God more. The name is most personal.

The longing of a soul can often overtake the needs of a body. Writers say "we can't not write" because our souls have a longing to express in words things which cannot be contained. We stay up late and get up early and wake up at odd hours thinking of writerly things. We forget to eat. The need to write is felt more keenly than the need to breathe. We're understandably thought an odd bunch by those close to us who do not share our drive.

But writers aren't terribly unique. Any person has a longing of the soul which is usually the last thing thought about before sleep, the first thing thought about upon rising, and a frequent object of thought throughout the day. It will inevitably pop up in conversation. Discretionary hours and money are dedicated to that passion. To identify a person's god, simply look at the most prominent recipient of that person's talent and talk, time and treasure.

Our talent, talk, time, and treasure are not consistently God-centered unless we realize David's personal need for God within our souls.

We may have confessed Jesus as Lord and Savior. We may have heard Him declare Himself "The Lord Your God" (yesterday's post). We may have then received Him as "The Lord Our God" because He has made Himself ours.

But it is when we in turn surrender ourselves to Him that we know God as David did when he cried out, "Oh God, You are my God."

In such a defining moment we fulfill the longing in our souls that finds its satisfaction in God alone.

There comes a time in every heart a time of real decision
When we reach the point of choosing how we will live our lives
All our hopes, all our dreams will rise up from that moment
The moment we surrender and choose to follow Christ
He's been waiting all our lives to hear us say
I am yours, Lord, take my hand and lead the way
When you believe He's all you need
That will be your defining moment *

Your feedback is appreciated. Post to "Comments" or e-mail to Copyright 2009, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved. * Lyrics of "Defining Moment" by NewSong © 2000 Reunion Records

Monday, July 20, 2009

YHWH Your God, YHWH Our God

For July, each post examines an Old Testament name of God.

YHWH Elohe-ka / YHWH Your God
YHWH Elohe-nu / YHWH Our God

"I am YHWH your God,
Who brought you out of the land of Egypt,
Out of the house of bondage.
You shall have no other gods before Me."
~ Exodus 20:2-3 (author)

For all people walk each in the name of his god,
But we will walk in the name of the LORD our God
Forever and ever.
~ Micah 4:5 (NKJV)

The Lord prefaces His presentation of the Ten Commandments with a clear statement of ownership. I am YHWH. I purchased you out of your bondage to those who serve other gods, and you are now Mine. I am your God.

No doubt many people might take a dim view of a God Who sets people free, then turns around and imposes a bunch of rules on them. Shouldn't freedom mean freedom from such restrictions? They would assert that He either isn't a good God or doesn't love them if He's going to set them free but then make their lives so miserable. They might even contend that no one else should have a right to tell them what to do, even if He is God.

Such is the modern view of religion. It's not too far off the mark. Religion is about obeying God as a duty. It's about a bunch of standards to which we'll never quite measure up. It's about law, judgment, and condemnation. It imposes a burden upon people they are unable to bear.

The answer to religion and its law is not lawlessness, which also imposes unbearable burden. The answer is relationship. Relationship is bound up in the name YHWH your God.

YHWH says "I am yours." As the God of His people, He sees to their every need. He receives their prayers. He disciplines so that they might experience ever greater blessing. He protects and preserves His people.

The ownership is mutual. God purchases those who are His. He gives them Himself in return. Because YHWH has declared, "I am your God," we have the privilege to call Him by the name Elohe-nu: Our God.

For believers in Jesus Christ, YHWH Our God even comes to live inside of us. Neither bound by law nor given to lawlessness, we walk in the liberty and power to live in the Spirit of the law, which gives life.

Your feedback is appreciated. Post to "Comments" or e-mail to Copyright 2009, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Eloah, Elohim, El / God

For July, each post examines an Old Testament name of God.

Eloah, Elohim, El / God

prounounced: "el-OH-ah," "el-oh-HEEM," "ale"

The heavens declare the glory of God [El];
And the firmament shows His handiwork.
~ Psalms 19:1 (NKJV)

"Do not fear, nor be afraid ...
You are My witnesses.
Is there a God [Eloah] besides Me?
Indeed there is no other Rock;
I know not one."
~ Isaiah 44:8 (NKJV)

In the beginning God [Elohim] created the heavens and the earth.
~ Genesis 1:1 (NKJV)

Three Hebrew names are all translated into English with the somewhat generic name "God."

The Hebrew El can also be somewhat generic. Its meaning is "mighty," and it's the same word used for a false god. When used of YHWH, its translation is sometimes "mighty" and sometimes "God." It is often used with other names—El Shaddai, El Elyon, El Olam—to emphasize the identity and might of God associated with those names. Used in combination with other names, various translations differ on which English word to use. Perhaps more important than whether El should be translated as "God" or as "Mighty" in any given context is an understanding that the name El cannot be separated from its definition "mighty."

The Hebrew Eloah is a singular masculine noun used in poetical and prophetic passages. It appears 51 times to refer to God, of which 41 occur in the book of Job (where it is two times used by God of Himself). Of the other ten uses, four times it is accompanied by the word Tsur as a name of God. Tsur means rock—not a stone such as for a sling, nor a larger building stone. This is a boulder or cliff. Think "Rock of Gibraltar." [More on that in an upcoming post.] When used outside the book of Job, Eloah appears in contexts which rebuke disobedience and idolatry, and emphasize YHWH is the one and only God to be heeded.

Elohim is plural—a majestic form of Eloah, suggested as thus a reference to the plural majesty of God. Baker & Carpenter’s Hebrew Dictionary defines that the plural form of this word may be regarded (1) as intensive to indicate God's fullness of power; (2) as majestic to indicate God's kingly rule; or (3) as an allusion to the Trinity.

Where El designates might, Elohim more clearly refers to supreme and final authority. Elohim usually refers to YHWH, but elohim is also used of earthly judges—absolute authority in the absence of a sovereign king. Elohim is also used in the Old Testament by Gentiles in contexts which evidence recognition of the supreme authority God (or the Creator God) in a polytheistic culture.

The very first words of Scripture affirm such preeminence with the words, "In the beginning, Elohim . . ."

Himself without beginning, and having within Himself the sole power to create, Elohim is the plural God who alone has a right to receive reverence and primary obedience from His intelligent creation—the supreme Authority Who seeks fellowship with children of dust.

Your feedback is appreciated. Post to "Comments" or e-mail to Copyright 2009, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Elyon / Most High

For July, each post examines an Old Testament name of God.

Elyon / Most High
(pronounced: "el -YONE")

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty...
He shall cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge;
His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
You shall not be afraid ...
Because you have made the LORD, who is my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place,
No evil shall befall you ...
~ Psalms 91:1,4-5,9-10 (NKJV)

"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem ...! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!"
~ Matthew 23:37 (NKJV)

Various anecdotes tell of a man who walks through the site of a recent fire and finds the remains of a charred bird, still fixed in a position with partially outstretched wings. The curious man prods the remains with his foot, and live baby birds scamper out. The mother had instinctively gathered her own under her wings to protect them, even at the cost of her life.

This is the foremost image of the Most High—a refuge of protection hovering over His people to cover them with "His feathers." Under His wings is a place of security not unlike His arms [see yesterday's post] for those who choose to abide with Him. Numerous Psalms praise the Most High for His defense from other nations, from His elevated position, looking down upon all nations of the earth.

The Most High is above all authorities, of earth and of heaven. This name is used in several contexts where either the audience or those spoken of are non-Israelites, who worship other gods. Even polytheists recognize a supreme God above all others. He is called God Most High.

Several other passages speak of the Most High in the context of various acts related to creation. To create, the Creator stood Most High, outside and above His creation.

Just before the beloved John 3:16 passage, Jesus describes the ultimate place of elevation for God Most High with the words: "No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:13-15 NKJV)

In these final days of running to and fro—if you've a moment more to tarry—meditate on this last definitive description of the Most High, Who shall carry us through the earth's last dark hours.

God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear,
Even though the earth be removed,
And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
Though its waters roar and be troubled,
Though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah
There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God,
The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved;
God shall help her, just at the break of dawn.
The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved;
He uttered His voice, the earth melted.
The LORD of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah
Come, behold the works of the LORD,
Who has made desolations in the earth.
He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two;
He burns the chariot in the fire.

Be still, and know that I am God;

I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!
The LORD of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah
Psalm 46 (NKJV)

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Friday, July 17, 2009

El Aman, Amen / Faithful God of Truth

For July, each post examines an Old Testament name of God.

Friday Freelance: FAITHFULNESS

It seems to me that once they’ve decided to become followers of Jesus Christ, a good many Christians don’t have ongoing difficulty accepting God’s grace. Though grateful for grace, they don't question that God chose them for salvation.

I also encounter a good many others who continue struggling with acceptance of God’s "Amazing Grace." They seem to get stuck at the phrase "wretch like me" with ongoing doubt that God would really bless them. Dogged by the thought, "I don’t deserve to be blessed," they fail to experience His blessings as fully as they might.

My inclination is to fall into the latter category. I still look with amazement at God's favor and ask, "Why Me?" The words of "Amazing Grace" are difficult to sing because the first and last verses still brings me to tears.

Yet there is another verse I sing with calm confidence:
The Lord has promised good to me,
His Word my hope secures
He will my Shield and Portion be
As long as life endures.

I do not deserve to be blessed. I still wonder at the fact that I am. But I no longer question that the Lord fully intends to bless me in everything.

"YHWH your God has chosen you to be ...
a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth.
YHWH did not set His love upon you, nor choose you,
because you were greater than any other people
(for you were the least of all peoples),
but because YHWH loves you,
because He will keep the oath which He swore to your fathers...
Therefore know that YHWH your God, He is God,
the Faithful God Who keeps covenant and mercy."
Deuteronomy 7:6-9 (author)

El Aman / Faithful God
Elohim Amen / God of Truth

God is named three times in the Bible with the Hebrew words aman (the verb form) and amen (the noun form). All three contexts speak of YHWH choosing Israel as beneficiary of His covenant, and God's faithfulness to that covenant. If anything is testimony to the Lord's faithfulness, it is the inexplicable survival of Israel through the millenia.

Amen is familiar to us as the declaration "indeed" or "so be it." We end prayers with it. We affirm the words of others with it, particularly those of preachers. Each "Amen" is a way of establishing words as true.

Zodhiates' Hebrew Dictionary describes the verb aman with phrases such as "to be firm, to build up, to support, to nurture ... the primary meaning is that of providing stability and confidence, like a baby would find in the arms of a parent ... [and signifies] nurture and nourishment; cradling in one's arms ... permanence ... the word conveys the notion of faithfulness and trustworthiness, such that one could fully depend on ... of receiving something as true and sure." The confident dependence assured by aman renders it the same verb used for nursing a babe in arms.

If I chose a single word to describe the blessing of aman upon which its beneficiary may depend, the word would be Security.

The Faithful God assures Israel that while the nation is utterly undeserving of being chosen by God, He has nonetheless made her His Own. His covenant is firm. His intent to build her up—and thereby bless her—is certain. He does not intend to let go of her. She is secure in His arms.

Will He do any less for those who are His through the blood of His Son?

My chains are gone, I've been set free.
My God my Savior has ransomed me.
And like a flood His mercy reigns
Unending love, amazing grace.

Feedback appreciated! Post to "Comments" or e-mail to Copyright 2009, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved. "My Chains are Gone" lyrics by Chris Tomlin, copyright 2006, Six Step Records.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

El Shaddai / God Almighty

For July, each post examines an Old Testament name of God.

El Shaddai / God Almighty
(pronounced: "ale shad-DAI")

By the God of your father who will help you,
And by the Almighty who will bless you
With blessings of heaven above,
Blessings of the deep that lies beneath,
Blessings of the breasts and of the womb.
~ Genesis 49:24-25 (NKJV)

The Spirit of God has made me,
And the breath of the Almighty gives me life.
~ Job 33:4 (NKJV)

The name El Shaddai is generally found in poetic passages which declare God's promise or ability to grant abundance and fertility (of children, animals or land). It is the name God uses of Himself when He changes the name of His servant Abram to Abraham ("father of a multitude") and promises to give Abraham abundance of land and descendants (Genesis 17). It is a name used by non-Israelites to acknowledge the highest (Creator) God.

El Shaddai captures God's power both as raw strength, and in the ability to give and sustain life. Two related words are shadad, a verb meaning to be burly or too devastatingly powerful to be moved, and the noun shad, for the female breast or an animal teat.

The Bible is not shy in depicting the female breast as a source of not only nourishment and nurture which give life to a child, but of satisfaction and comfort to both husband and child. The male chest is likewise a source of security, as when a shepherd holds a lamb in his bosom or when a man offers protection by his strength.

The definition in Zodhiates' Hebrew Dictionary describes that this name indicates the ability of the Almighty to fulfill His promises. The translation "Almighty" (or "All Powerful, Omnipotent") evokes not the might of God's arm so often spoken of in Scripture, but the power in the chest to protect and give life.

The name El Shaddai also evokes a picture of one drawing close to God—into His very bosom.

Feedback appreciated! Post to "Comments" or e-mail to Copyright 2009, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

El YHWH Channun ve Rachum /
YHWH God Merciful and Gracious

For July, each post examines an Old Testament name of God.

El YHWH Channun ve Rachum /
YHWH God Merciful and Gracious

(pronounced: "yahd hay vahv hay vay khan-NOON rakh-OOM")

YHWH passed before [Moses] and proclaimed, "YHWH, YHWH God Merciful and Gracious is longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children's children to the third and the fourth generation."
~ Exodus 34:5-7 (author)

Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their masters,
As the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress,
So our eyes look to the LORD our God,
Until He has mercy on us.
~ Psalms 123:2 (NKJV)

Whether on a profile page for Facebook or Blogger, or in conversation, most everyone has opportunity to reduce to a small composite a summary of "who am I?" Here in Exodus, Moses says in effect, "Lord, show me the glory of Who You are." And the Lord YHWH sums up His identity with the words: "I am God Merciful and Gracious." It is a description which appears numerous times throughout Scripture.

The Hebrew word for mercy is rachum. The related noun racham can mean compassion or mercy, but it also refers to a mother’s womb. The Hebrew concept is that the womb or bowels are the seat of warm and tender emotions, as a mother for her baby. The verb form of racham not only means to have or show mercy, but also means to caress or stroke. The entire picture of mercy is deep and tender empathy and compassion which springs from the depths of a person, expressed toward another who is afflicted, and is accompanied by a desire to comfort and relieve the suffering.

The Hebrew adjective for gracious favor is channun. It is a word used solely as a descriptive term of God. The related verb chanan means to bestow, or to bend or stoop in kindness to an inferior with favor. Another related verb, chanah, means to pitch a tent or encamp, and is used in Zechariah to describe the Lord encamping around His people and temple to protect them.

Oxford's definition of mercy is "compassion or forgiveness shown towards an enemy or offender in one's power."

Oxford's definition of favor is "approval or liking; act of kindness beyond what is due or usual; overgenerous preferential treatment."

I'll confess that I'm too overwhelmed by these words to try and say much more about this name. The picture God has drawn of Himself is absolutely contrary to every accusation He suffers of being uncaring, arbitrary, or malicious.

On a personal note: Though I've been studying the names of God and the etymology of these Hebrew words for many years, doing this series has been an astounding array of new revelations. These next three days will look at some aspects of God's nature which are more feminine (or if you prefer, more gentle)—all with a connection to a mother's body.

Feedback appreciated! Post to "Comments" or e-mail to Copyright 2009, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

El Gadol Gibbor / Great and Mighty God

For July, each post examines an Old Testament name of God.

El Gadol Gibbor / Great and Mighty God
(prounounced: "ale gah-DOLE ghib-BORE")
El Gadol Yare / Great and Terrifying God

"Ah, Lord YHWH!
Behold, You have created the heavens and the earth
By Your great power and outstretched arm.
There is nothing too wonderful or miraculous for You to do! ...
Great and Mighty God, whose name is YHWH of Hosts,
You are great in counsel and mighty in deed."
~ Jeremiah 32:17-19 (author, amplified)

"You shall not be terrified of them, for YHWH your God, the Great and Terrifying God, is among you."
~ Deuteronomy 7:21 (author)

Jeremiah speaks to the Great and Mighty God as the Lord asks Jeremiah to do what seems ludicrously impossible. To paraphrase Jeremiah's response might sound like, "Ah Lord YHWH! I know You can do anything, and You've proven it with things like those plagues in Egypt and the whole Red Sea incident and making Israel a nation. I know Your great counsel and wisdom are not to be questioned. Lord, I really am having a hard time understanding how or why You're going to pull off this one. But I'll heed what You tell me to do."

The Lord replies that He needs Jeremiah to testify to the people with not only the prophet's words but His actions, exactly because the Lord is going to do what seems impossible. And then the Great and Mighty God says some of the most precious words in the Old Testament: "Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know."

Jeremiah has been granted a high privilege. When he calls out to the Great and Mighty God he will receive an answer and miracles which Jeremiah cannot even think of.

The context of the story is one when God will also show Himself the Terrifying God. Or, as the King James renders it, "Terrible God." God is about to pour out destruction on Jerusalem worse than even the Holocaust. He gives more than adequate warning and protection for the faithful who heed Him. Those who scoff at the Lord will indeed experience what a Terrifying God He is to anyone who flagrantly and persistently opposes Him.

We approach the days when all inhabitants of the earth will again face the Lord, as either the Terrifying God Who unleashes the wrath He's patiently held back against defiance, or as the Great and Mighty God for Whom no miracle is impossible—for Whom no matter is too small to make it wonderful.

Feedback appreciated! Post to "Comments" or e-mail to Copyright 2009, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.

Monday, July 13, 2009

YHWH Sabaoth / YHWH of Hosts

For July, each post examines an Old Testament name of God.

YHWH Sabaoth / YHWH of Hosts (also: Lord Almighty)
pronounced: "yahd hay vahv hay tsa-va-OTH"

Then David said to the Philistine, "You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you... Then all this assembly shall know that the LORD does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the LORD's, and He will give you into our hands."
~ 1 Samuel 17:45-47 (NKJV)

Sabaoth literally means "armies." It can refer to human armies, but as a name of God it refers specifically to the armies of warrior angels.

The effeminate male, female, and cherub-like images most common in our culture characterize angels as gentle and even harmless beings. The Bible depicts angels as mighty messengers and fierce warriors of the highest order, as well as unusual beast-like creatures, none of them feminine. Their formidable appearance may be deduced from the first words they typically speak: "Do not be afraid."

YHWH Sabaoth names the Lord as Commander of both good and evil angelic beings, all of whom must obey Him. Satan himself was subject to the Lord when he sought to torment Job. When David battled Goliath, he did not claim victory with a sling and stone, but testified to using as his weapon "the name of LORD [YHWH] of hosts." In defeating the giant with whom King Saul declined to do battle, David obtained in the spiritual realms the throne of Israel he would wait perhaps twenty years to sit upon. Likewise Jesus defeated the devil at the cross, but still waits for the earthly throne which is already His.

The spiritual realms are also the place of our warfare. It is no accident that although YHWH Sabaoth is a name with military connotations, it is used exclusively by prophets or those who prophesied. Old Testament prophets glimpsed the spiritual warfare spoken of more clearly in the New Testament. The beloved prophet who composed no less than half the Psalms, King David, was also the Bible's mightiest warrior.

The battle we wage against the devil belongs to YHWH Sabaoth—who goes before us in battle, directs us to effectively wage spiritual warfare, and guarantees us final victory.

Words and music by Jamie Owens-Collins
In heavenly armour we'll enter the land
The battle belongs to the Lord
No weapon that's fashioned against us shall stand
The battle belongs to the Lord
The power of darkness comes in like a flood
The battle belongs to the Lord
He's raised up a standard, the power of His blood
The battle belongs to the Lord
When your enemy presses in hard do not fear
The battle belongs to the Lord
Take courage my friend, your redemption is near
The battle belongs to the Lord
We sing glory and honor
Power and strength to the Lord
We sing glory and honor
Power and strength to the Lord

Feedback appreciated! Post to "Comments" or e-mail to Copyright 2009, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.