A Disastrous Word for Difficult People

The people have blown it. While Moses is on the mountain receiving the law, they decided they couldn’t wait any longer. So they asked Aaron to make a golden calf for them. He did and they worshiped the golden calf even saying, “These are the gods who brought us up out of the land of Egypt.” They attributed that fantastic miracle to a golden calf they could make with their own hands.

Aaron built an altar in front of the golden calf. The next day they offered burnt offerings and brought peace offerings. “And the people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.”

And God got angry.  The way you get angry when you provide for your children and they forget what you’ve done.

God got angry. The way you get angry when you work 50 hours a week and your children think you owe it to them.

God got angry. He spoke to Moses: “I have seen this people and behold, it is a stiff-necked people. Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them, in order that I may make a great nation of you.”

God was furious. Moses pleaded with God and God listened to Moses. He sent a plague on the people—which was gracious in light of the fact he wanted to destroy them. God was so angry.

In his anger God promised them His power:

The LORD said to Moses, “Depart; go up from here, you and the people whom you have brought up out of the land of Egypt, to the land of which I swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying, ‘To your offspring I will give it.’ I will send an angel before you, and I will drive out the Canaanites, the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. Go up to a land flowing with milk and honey; but I will not go up among you, lest I consume you on the way, for you are a stiff-necked people.” (Exodus 33:1-3 ESV)

God would not go with them–he would send his angel who would fight for them. Sadly, this would have been enough for most of us. But wait, God “sweetened the deal.”

In his anger, he promised them his provision:

Go up to a land flowing with milk and honey; but I will not go up among you, lest I consume you on the way, for you are a stiff-necked people.” (Exodus 33:3 ESV)

Milk and honey. That’s like pumpkin spice and latte. Fried chicken and mashed potatoes. Corn on the cob and fresh tomatoes. That’s everything you’ve ever wanted or needed. Case closed. Deal made. Most of us would have been content with God’s power. Surely now his provision would be enough. Thankfully they weren’t.

In their repentance, they begged God for his presence:

When the people heard this disastrous word, they mourned, and no one put on his ornaments. For the LORD had said to Moses, “Say to the people of Israel, ‘You are a stiff-necked people; if for a single moment I should go up among you, I would consume you. So now take off your ornaments, that I may know what to do with you.’” Therefore the people of Israel stripped themselves of their ornaments, from Mount Horeb onward. (Exodus 33:4-6 ESV)

To them this was a disastrous word. Moses would later say, “If your presence will not go with me, do not bring me up from here.” How about you? Are you content with what God can give, not who God is? Are you satisfied with the good things of God without enjoying His good presence? Do you want God for who He is or what He can give you?

O the Difference a Day Makes!

No one is free of the Amalekites. And often they are so closely related to how we live our lives that we fail to see them before they have attacked. Amalek was of the same flesh and blood as the Israelites. What is your weakness, your pet sin? Just when you have geared yourself up for rest and restoration, your flesh rears its ugly head. At your weakest moment, when you are straggling in your walk with Christ, you fall prey to temptation. Your head buried in the muck and mire of a bad decision, the banner no longer glistens in the sunlight. Hope escapes you.

Get up! That’s right, get up! The banner hasn’t moved, you have. The Son hasn’t gone down, you have. Look toward the hill overlooking the valley. Can you see? There hangs the Banner. You need no sun to reflect His image for He is His own light. There is no beauty that you should desire Him. He was despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows acquainted with grief, and like one from whom men hide their face. He was despised and we did not esteem Him. Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed.

Though the battle rages long and hard and the enemy of the flesh persists in rearing his ugly head, the Banner waves. His name is Jesus.   In the cross, God demonstrated his power over the penalty of sin. You bear the scars of battle. He bore the penalty for those scars. He was pierced through for you. The penalty for your sin has been paid in full. No longer must you lose the battle with the flesh.

Look to the cross—the banner. Jesus keep me near the cross, there a precious fountain. Free to all a healing stream flows from Calvary’s mountain. The blood that flows through the heat of the battle is not yours—it’s His. He paid the price. He is Jehovah-Nissi.

The cross frees you from the penalty of sin. One day you will be free from the presence of sin. Did you miss it? Notice God’s promise to Moses. “Write this in a book as a memorial and recite it to Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.”

One day. O, the difference a day makes. One day Jehovah-Nissi will return. Sin—gone. The war ended. Until then God provides a promise: “The Lord has sworn; the Lord will have war against Amalek from generation to generation.” The Lord will have war. And you are included in those generations. The battle is His, not yours. And I have news for you—He’s never lost. And He never will.

He knows the battle. He is your Banner—Jehovah Nissi.

Pray this prayer to Him right now:

Jehovah Nissi, the Lord my Banner, I confess that I have seen the battle as mine, not yours. I’ve tried to repeat the work of the cross. Too often I look at my problem and fail to see your provision. I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Now, I lift up my head. I lift up my head to see Your face, your bleeding, hurting face. On your shoulder I see my burden, my sin, my battle. And I hear you say ‘It is finished!’ I know that the battle with my Amalek will continue. As long as I live, I’ll live with this flesh. However, I also know that you won this battle. The price for sin You paid. The penalty for sin You took. Thank You. Today and everyday hereafter I lay my Amalek before you. Fight for me. The battle is yours. Your warrior child.

Fighting Cousins

A blessing? Esau hardly thought so. “Once dad has died,” he thought, “I’ll kill Jacob.” Anger gave way to revenge. Bitterness grew like a deep root in his heart, squeezing out his very life. He set his heart on killing his brother.

Time passed. Esau and Jacob died…but the bitterness lived on. Generations later Moses confronted the offspring from that root of bitterness. Esau fathered a son named Eliphaz. Eliphaz had a concubine, Timna who bore him a son. They named him Amalek. From Amalek, a people known as the Amalekites arose who became bitter enemies of Israel. Perhaps Amalek heard stories passed down from his father about Jacob’s deceit. Though Esau had forgiven Jacob (whose name had been changed to Israel), the anger and enmity between the Amalekites and the Israelites ran deep. The Hatfields and the McCoys were no match for the Israelites and the Amalekites. These cousins fought one another furiously.

Moses had just witnessed the parting of the Red Sea. Israel, pursued by an advancing army on one side and a raging sea on the other walked across on dry land. The same sea that became a dry bed for them swallowed Pharaoh’s army alive. Though the people had seen God’s hand in a mighty way, their celebration soon gave way to agitation when they ran out of food. They wished once more for the food of the Egyptians. Like Esau, their stomachs cried louder than the voice of their God. “Would that we had died by the Lord’s hand in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat, when we ate bread to the full; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”

God’s response: manna and quail. Every evening, the quail flew into the Israelite camp. Each family had enough to fill their stomachs. The next morning, once the dew evaporated, fine flakes of delicious bread, fresh from God’s bakery, with a dash of honey taste. What more could they ask? Perhaps a light, fluffy croissant dripping with honey would compare.

God’s provision. In His faithfulness, He provided. They moved on to Rephidim. The very name means “rest.” And the Israelites must have needed rest. Tens of years in captivity had come to an end. A pursuing army, a parting sea and the stubborn Mediterranean climate had taken their toll. And they were thirsty.

Rephidim. A river valley. Along this valley tall palms grew in long groves providing shade and rest for all who entered. Cool streams of water mixed with the shade from the palms created the most fertile place in the land. Towering mountains provided much needed protection from the enemy. Rephidim. A place of rest and refreshment. Here the Israelites would be renewed, revived, restored. Here they would receive much needed energy and refreshment. Here, their cousins showed up—the Amalekites!

They attacked Israel at their weakest point. The sick, the faint, the weary were their targets. Those who straggled behind the great Israelite host were suddenly attacked. Amalek, whose grandfather Esau lost his birthright when he was weary, now used the same plan of attack against the Israelites. Ruthlessly, the Amalekites sought to destroy the Israelites. Cousins bitterly engaged in war.

Bitter Enemies

Jacob breathed a sigh of relief, gathered the leftovers and slipped out of the room.

Esau rushed in. His food prepared to perfection, he awaited his father’s blessing. “Let my father arise and eat of his son’s game, that you may bless me.” Esau waited.

“Who are you?” Isaac questioned.

“I am your son, your firstborn,” Esau answered, carefully indicating that he had been born first, though only a few seconds before Jacob.

The news shocked Isaac. He trembled in his bed. “Who was he then that hunted game and brought it to me, so that I ate of all of it before you came, and blessed him? Yes, and he will be blessed.”

The words pierced Esau like an arrow from his quiver. He cried out bitterly, “Bless me, even me also, O my father!”

Isaac’s trembling body lay still. All that could be heard was Esau’s groaning and Isaac’s weakening voice, “Your brother came deceitfully and has taken away your blessing.”

Esau, filled with rage, begged his father. “Is he not rightly named Jacob, for he has supplanted me these two times? He took away my birthright, and behold, now he has taken away my blessing. Have you not reserved a blessing for me?”

Isaac’s words stung like driving rain. “Behold, I have made him your master, and all his relatives I have given to him as servants; and with grain and new wine I have sustained him. Now as for you then, what can I do, my son?”

Dignity gone. Self-respect relinquished. Esau begged. “Do you have only one blessing, my father? Bless me, even me also, O my father.” Esau’s weeping could be heard through the entire village.

Isaac’s feeble voice penetrated Esau’s sobbing cries. “Behold, away from the fertility of the earth shall be your dwelling. And away from the dew of heaven from above. By your sword you shall live, and your brother you shall serve; but it shall come about when you become restless that you will break his yoke from off your neck.”

A blessing? Esau hardly thought so. “Once dad has died,” he thought, “I’ll kill Jacob.” Anger gave way to revenge. Bitterness grew like a deep root in his heart, squeezing out his very life. He set his heart on killing his brother.

Jehovah Nissi (Part Two)

Jacob served Esau for the last time. From now on, Esau would serve Jacob. With each swallow of the soup Esau’s birthright disintegrated into nothing. A full stomach gave way to an empty heart. Esau despised his birthright.

Years passed. Esau continued to hunt and his father continued to favor him. Jacob perfected his bean soup. Isaac aged. His eyesight grew dim. Death lurked just around the corner.

One day. So much happens in a day. Isaac called Esau into his quarters. “I am old and do not know the day of my death. Now, then, please take your gear, your quiver and your bow, and go out to the field and hunt game for me; and prepare a savory dish for me such as I love, and bring it to me that I may eat, so that my soul may bless you before I die.”

Esau’s heart jumped for joy. A glimmer of hope shed new light on the emptiness. Though he did not have his birthright, at least he would receive the blessing. He readied his bow, filled his quiver with arrows, dressed in his best camouflage and headed straight for hunting ground.

Rebekah overheard the entire conversation. Her favor for Jacob overshadowed her respect for her husband. Her plan became her priority. Quickly she summoned Jacob, informed him of Isaac’s intention to give Esau the blessing and instructed him to choose two young goats from the flock. She would prepare one of Isaac’s favorite dishes and Jacob would carry it into him and receive the blessing.

“But mama,” Jacob replied, “Esau is hairy and I am smooth. What if my father feels me and discovers that I have deceived him. I will be a deceiver in his sight and receive a curse, not a blessing.”

“Do what I say,” Rebekah scolded. Jacob conceded.

Once again the pleasing aroma of a simple cooked meal paved the way for Jacob to receive what rightly belonged to Esau. He stepped into his father’s room.

“Father.”

“Here I am. Who are you, my son?”

“Esau, your firstborn. I have done as you told me.” Jacob hesitated—shocked by a shiver of fear. “Get up, please, sit and eat of my game, that you may bless me.”

Esau had never gotten game so quickly and prepared it so wonderfully. Isaac hesitated.

“How is it that you have it so quickly, my son?”

Jacob continued resolutely in his deception. “Because the Lord your God caused it to happen to me.”

Isaac hesitated again. Something wasn’t right about this and he couldn’t put his finger on it. “Come close that I may feel you, my son, whether you are really my son Esau or not.”

Jacob’s heart skipped a beat.   Did Isaac know? He feared his father’s curse if his true identity were revealed. He walked timidly toward his father, arranging the goatskin that now graced his hands and neck so that his father would touch the hairy hands of Esau.

“The voice is the voice of Jacob,” Isaac stammered, “But the hands are the hands of Esau.”

Isaac blessed Jacob.

Another moment of doubt. “Are you really my son Esau?” Isaac asked.

Another lie. “I am.”

Jacob served Rebekah’s best. Young goat marinated in deception. Wine aged by dishonesty. An aging father, a desperate son, a doting mother and a deceitful brother. A recipe for disaster.

Isaac’s tired voice broke the silence. “Come close and kiss me my son.”

Jacob approached his father—again—and kissed him. The smell of the fresh goatskins pleased Isaac.

“See, the smell of my son is like the smell of a field which the Lord has blessed. Now may God give you of the dew of heaven, and of the fatness of the earth, and an abundance of grain and new wine; may peoples serve you, and nations bow down to you; be master of your brothers, and may your mother’s sons bow down to you. Cursed be those who curse you, and blessed be those who bless you.”

Jacob breathed a sigh of relief, gathered the leftovers and slipped out of the room.

Jehovah Nissi (Part One)

Sometimes God’s greatest characteristics shine through life’s darkest moments. In a four part series, you’ll discover Jehovah Nissi, the Lord our Banner. You will be surprised at the unseemly form the banner ultimately took–and totally grateful.

Twins. Not one child, but two. And though they came from the same womb, they grew to be worlds apart. Their names are probably familiar to you. Esau, born first, loved to hunt. Isaac, his father, loved him for it. Jacob, riding out of the womb on the heel of Esau, hung out at the tents—a homebody of sorts. Rebekah loved him.

Esau could hunt, Jacob cook. Esau was passionate, emotional and sporadic. Jacob, cunning and deceitful. Isaac kept on loving Esau, Rebekah continued to favor Jacob.

One day. How a day changes everything. Esau, as the firstborn owned the birthright. He owned it for no other reason than the fact he was born first. As owner of the birthright, he knew that several privileges awaited him at his father’s death. First of all, he would receive twice as much of his father’s property as any other heir. His wealth was secure. Second, he received authority over the other family members. He became the new patriarch, the newly respected leader of the family. His authority would be in tact. Finally, he would receive the much-desired blessing from the father which secured his relationship with Almighty God. His spiritual heritage was pronounced. All because he owned the birthright.

One day. Esau came home from the field—exhausted, famished, weary. Almost home, he smelled lunch. Jacob was practicing his culinary arts again. The aroma of the freshly cooked stew floated through the dry desert air. Esau’s empty stomach screamed for food. His tired, aching body begged for relief. His mind listened to nothing else but their voices.

“Jacob, please let me have a swallow of that red stuff there, for I am famished,” Esau begged.

Jacob had plenty of time to fill his stomach and his heart with a devious plan. Seeing Esau’s desperate condition, he went for the jugular.

“First, sell me your birthright.”

Esau’s eyes grew larger than his stomach. Hunger overwhelmed him. Forgetting that in his father’s house was plenty of food, in his father’s house were servants who could have responded to his request for food, he chose a swallow of lentil soup— a simple stew of red beans. Where he could have enjoyed a leg of lamb, he gulped a mouthful of beans. When he could have feasted at Isaac’s table, he begged at his brother’s trailside soup kitchen. Overcome with emotion, Esau responded:

“Behold, I am about to die; so of what use then is the birthright to me?”

Jacob, wanting to clearly understand that he had so easily won the coveted birthright asked Esau for further assurance. “Swear to me.” The steam from the bean soup slowly wafted to Esau’s nostrils. Swearing that Jacob could have his birthright, Esau lunged for the bowl of soup.

Jacob served Esau for the last time. From now on, Esau would serve Jacob. With each swallow of the soup Esau’s birthright disintegrated into nothing. A full stomach gave way to an empty heart. Esau despised his birthright.

Elohim (Part 3)

Not only is He Elohim the creator God, and Elohim the covenant God; He is Elohim, the God who is three in One. His voice resonates through the shining new creation, “Let us make man in our image.” In that instant, He confers with the Son and the Spirit. Their decision is unanimous. As a matter of fact, their decision is always unanimous. This is the Dream Team. They never disagree—never. Elohim is plural, yet consistently One.

In those early days, when the earth didn’t know the footprints of a man, where three-day old tigers explored newly created jungles, Elohim made a decision. Looking at His Son He said, “Let us make man.” Jesus, knowing that Eve would choose a bite of fruit over the sweetness of eternal bliss, said yes. Jesus, knowing that man’s failure would require His faithfulness, said yes. Jesus, understanding man’s proclivity toward sin and his eventual need for a personal Savior, said yes. No other team has ever worked like Elohim. Though He is three in One, He is One in three. There is no dissension, no difficulty. He is Elohim—creator, covenant-maker, and Christ.

In that moment of decision, Jesus looked across the years and saw you. He saw you cry in your mother’s arms. He watched you take your first steps. He witnessed your first spanking. He saw the tears of your mother when she left you at school for the very first time. He enjoyed your first basketball game, and the trophy, too! He cringed when you looked at your friend’s Algebra paper, hurt when you laughed at your poorly dressed neighbor. He wept when you went too far with your girlfriend. His heart broke when you said His name—and you weren’t talking to Him.

At that moment, He knew that creation would cause his crucifixion.

He looked across the years and saw the cross. He felt the tearing of the flesh as the whip tore into his back. He heard his own groans as he lifted the cross to his shoulders. He jerked when the nail ripped apart his wrist. He looked into the eyes of the one holding the hammer—and saw you!

“Let us make __________________________.” You fill in the blank. Write your name there. He knew what you would do to him, that one day you would hold the hammer; one day you would drive the nail. In total submission to the Father, He said, “Yes.”

Elohim. Amazingly consistent. Faithful One. He is the Creator God, the Coming Christ, and the Comforting Spirit. Jesus now sits at the right hand of God. He proclaimed with his death, “It is finished!” Never again will he face the cry of the crowd. Never again will he flinch as the hair is pulled from his face. Never again will he cry from a cross in desperate loneliness. The work has been done—the awesome task completed.

He didn’t leave you comfortless, though. You don’t fight this battle alone. No! The Holy Spirit, that third person of the Trinity, leads the way. He goes before you, is behind you, and lives within you. Jesus Himself said, “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you, and will be in you.” (John 14:16-17, NAS)

What a team! That’s Elohim. He started this thing called life. He redeemed your life. And He continues to make life possible through living inside you.

Before you read any further, stop and take inventory. Have you ever met a God who cares so much? Did you know that your Creator can be your Savior? Do you know Him personally? Need a friend, a guide? In this world of psychic powers and astrological predictions, looking for the sure thing? The real thing? Read no further. He is the way, the truth the life.

Bow your head, humble your heart and call out to Him right now. Ask Him to come into your heart and change your life. Pray this prayer. Elohim, Creator, Christ, Comforter, waits to hear from you—his most prized creation.

Dear Jesus, I know that I am a sinner. I need your forgiveness for my sins. I believe you died on the cross for my sins. I believe you were raised from the dead three days later and that you will return. I surrender my life to you. Forgive me of my sins. Change my life. Thank you for loving me.

Elohim (Part Two)

The very name means mighty, strong, powerful. When God chose to reveal Himself, he displayed His power. When God decided to invent humanity, He did so through the demonstration of unequivocal power. When God initiated human life, He did so as the Sovereign ruler of the universe. From Genesis 1:1 to 2:4, Elohim is used 35 times to describe God. Though other names come later, Elohim stands alone in these verses as the descriptive name of God. He is omnipotent.

The towering tree—God’s power displayed. The rush of the ocean tide—the power of God. A bird in flight—God’s power. A giraffe stretching his neck into the trees, an eagle soaring over the mountaintops, a form of a man lying lifeless on the ground until God breathes into him—God’s power. He is the omnipotent Elohim. He is the creator God.

And He is your creator. That’s right. He created you. The God who flung the stars into space designed you. The God who spoke worlds into existence speaks into the meager existence of your life. You may think He has forgotten you, that He has gone on a long journey, that you are out of His reach. He is omnipotent—the almighty God. He hasn’t gone anywhere.

Your greatest challenge doesn’t catch Him by surprise. Your deepest worry causes God to lose no sleep. Your secret fear is His public domain. He is God. If He can take nothing and make something incredible, He can take the mess of your life and create something beautiful.

Elohim—who watches the woman created for Adam listen to a serpent in tree limbs. He created the serpent—yet loved Eve enough to allow her to make her own choice. Elohim—who came walking in the garden, searching for Adam and Eve. Elohim, repulsed at the behavior of Noah’s generation. Though His wrath is stirred, his heart is moved with compassion. The boat leads His creation to safety—and reestablishes the line of descent from Adam. In the name Elohim is not only power, but covenant love. The rainbow—a physical demonstration of a loving God. Time and again, Elohim remembers His covenant and declines to administer total punishment to His people. Though He possesses the power to speak them out of existence with a word, He takes great pain in establishing His people through the spoken word. He is Elohim.

What ails you? What dominates your thinking, haunts your dreams? Perhaps it is someone. That boss you just can’t please. Your husband whose left you—again. Your children. You’ve prayed for them and God seems conspicuously absent. Answers are few—questions unending. The hurt in your heart is camouflaged by the smile on your face. God sees deep into your heart, to the very source of the problem. He knows the broken dreams, the unrealized goals.

Elohim

(This is part one of three introducing Elohim.)

An empty wasteland. Blackness. A deep abyss. Falling and never landing. Looking and never seeing. Darkness. Emptiness. Nothingness. Chaos. Perpetual night. Thick, black darkness. No east because there is no west. No up—there is no down. No sense of direction. Purposeless. Void of meaning. No beautiful neighborhoods—there is no earth to build upon. No highways. No cars. No one. The cry of a newborn baby—never heard. The budding of a spring flower—never seen. The flutter of a butterfly’s wing—never felt. The sweet juice of a savory strawberry—never relished. The aroma of a summer rose—never enjoyed. Life never lived.

And God said.

God’s voice broke the silence. His words pierced the darkness. The time had come for the interruption of emptiness, the declaration of creativity.   “Let there be light!” And there was light. God’s first creative activity—light. Oceans would have to wait. Mountain peaks be patient. Galaxies on hold. Light came first. Darkness dissipated. Nothingness evaporated. Emptiness filled.

And God said.

Darkness fled like a hunted prisoner. Never again would light and darkness mix. Never again would darkness overpower light. From this creative moment, light would always dominate darkness. Darkness settled for second place—forever. Day and night became reality. No longer would life be lived in continuous blackness. Night would always be sandwiched between two days.

And God said.  

Nothing became something. Darkness surrendered to light. The abyss became the Grand Canyon. Chaos succumbed to organization. All because God spoke.

And God said.

Three words that have done more to change the course of history than any words ever spoken. Who is this God? Who is this God who dared interfere with the status quo? Who is this God who spoke and worlds came into existence? Who is this God who displaced darkness with the announcement of light? Who is this God whose word is so trustworthy that the mere mention of his plans brings them into existence?

He is Elohim. Creator God. Designer of the universe. He is the One who broke into nothingness and left orbiting planets and pulsating stars in its place. Elohim—the One who stirred up dust and breathed into it the breath of life. Elohim.

The very name means mighty, strong, powerful. When God chose to reveal Himself, he displayed His power. When God decided to invent humanity, He did so through the demonstration of unequivocal power. When God initiated human life, He did so as the Sovereign ruler of the universe. From Genesis 1:1 to 2:4, Elohim is used 35 times to describe God. Though other names come later, Elohim stands alone in these verses as the descriptive name of God. He is omnipotent.

Only Trust Him

And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you. (Psalm 9:10 ESV)

Struggling to trust God? Feeling assailed by the trials of life, temptations of sin, pressures of peers? Wondering when you’re going to get out of the trouble you’re in? The Psalmist makes it clear that the key to trusting God is knowing his name. So over the next few days (maybe even weeks) we will learn the names of God. As you do, you will find that your trust in him grows.

When you’re in need, you will want to seek Jehovah Jireh, the Lord our Provider. When the banners of the world are flying high, you will long for Jehovah Nissi, the Lord our Banner. When you’re battling the enemy within and without, you will cry out to El Shaddai–God Almighty. When you’re as low as you’ve ever been, you will look up to El Elyon–God Most High.

John Piper says, “The reason knowing the names of God will help us trust him with our daily affairs and with our eternal destinies is that in Scripture a person’s name often signifies his character or ability or mission — especially when the name is given by God. Adam names his wife Eve, because she is mother of all the living (Genesis 3:20). God changes Abram’s name to Abraham to show that he had made him the father of many nations (Genesis 17:5). God changed Sarai’s name to Sarah (Genesis 17:15). He changed Jacob’s name to Israel (Genesis 32:28). And when the Son of God came into the world, his name was not left to chance: “You shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).

So tomorrow I will introduce you to Elohim–the Creator God. I can’t wait for you to meet the God whose names you’ve never known!