Show me the right path, O Lord;Psalm 25:4-7
point out the road for me to follow.
Lead me by your truth and teach me,
for you are [Elohim Ysuah].
All day long I put my hope in you.
Remember, O Lord, your compassion and unfailing love,
which you have shown from long ages past.
Do not remember the rebellious sins of my youth.
Remember me in the light of your unfailing love,
for you are merciful, O Lord.
Ysuah: Savior and Deliverer
Where does obedience begin? It begins here, in Elohim Ysuah. It’s this relationship that too many minds and religions invert; so many of us believe we must obey to be saved, but this God says you must be saved to obey. Because I put my hope in You, the God who saves me, this says, show me the right path. Not because I’ve found the right path show me Yourself. Not because of what I’ve done – but because of Who You are. Because He is Elohim Ysuah, He who saves us Himself.
(I’m not really sure where the spelling Ysuah came from. The Hebrew interlinear I looked this up in spelled it isho-i, which from what I understand is where the name ieusho or Joshua comes from, which is also the same name we translate Jesus – which I have also seen Romanized as Yeshua. As far as I can tell, isho-i is spelled very differently in Hebrew than ieusho, so despite their similar Romanizations and meanings, these are not quite the same name.)
Open up, ancient gates!Psalm 24:7-10
Open up, ancient doors,
and let the King of glory enter.
Who is the King of glory?
The Lord, strong and mighty;
[Yahweh Gibbor Milchamah].
Open up, ancient gates!
Open up, ancient doors,
and let the King of glory enter.
Who is the King of glory?
The Lord of Heaven’s Armies—
he is the King of glory.
Yahweh Gibbor Milchamah: The Lord Mighty (or Invincible) in Battle
David, who wrote this Psalm, knew the need of a God who is mighty in battle. He knew what it was to fight someone he could not beat, and he knew what it meant to utterly rely on the strength of someone he could not see.
My battles are not like David’s; I don’t look my enemies in the face as they openly mock my God, and they aren’t wielding spears as big as I am or laughing in my face for trying to fight them. They are quietly resistant to my faith, quietly slipping between me and the Lord I serve, quietly standing in the way. Sometimes I forget their strength and my weakness, and I forget from where my strength comes from; I try to fight them myself, and I lose when I do. The Lord is mighty in those quiet battles, too, though, and He conquers swiftly and quietly, too.
May I never forget to worship Yahweh Gibbor Milchamah for winning my battles, however quiet they might have been.
[Yahweh Rohi];Psalm 23
I have all that I need.
He lets me rest in green meadows;
he leads me beside peaceful streams.
He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
bringing honor to his name.
Even when I walk
through the darkest valley,[a]
I will not be afraid,
for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
protect and comfort me.
You prepare a feast for me
in the presence of my enemies.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
My cup overflows with blessings.
Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the Lord
Yahweh Rohi: The Lord Is My Shepherd
This name of God is one that never loses its magnetism. It is the most profound argument against the disinterested God; this Shepherd, this Yahweh Rohi, is not some distant Being who created everything and just stepped aside and let it run its course. He is right here in the thick of it making sure we get where we need to go to have all that we need.
The Lord lives! Praise to my Rock!Psalm 18:46-49
May the God of my salvation be exalted!
He is [El Nekamoth];
he subdues the nations under me
and rescues me from my enemies.
You hold me safe beyond the reach of my enemies;
you save me from violent opponents.
For this, O Lord, I will praise you among the nations;
I will sing praises to your name.
El Nekamoth: God Who Avenges Me (God Who Pays Back Those Who Harm Me)
This might be the characteristic of God that scares me the most – but unlike most fears, it scares me to Him, not away from Him.
Our immediate reaction when we think of payback for those who harm us is just gloating, is it not? “HaHA! Finally they’re gettin’ theirs! Take THAT!” Isn’t that the victory cry of the wronged who have been defended?
But it doesn’t take long for a nagging voice in the back of my head to start bringing things up… does He not defend them, too? The people I have wronged – is He not their just Defender? Will He not pay me back justly, as He has paid them back?
This is when my flight instinct rears. I cannot overpower Him, so I must run – but where? To the only One Who can keep me safe from Him –
His mercy is my only hope against His vengeance. His perfect sacrifice the only stand-in that can absorb the fullness of His wrath for what I’ve done. El Nekamoth must also be Elohim Chaseddi, or I and everyone are finished.
And I need both of them – both the God of Vengeance and the God of Mercy – because where I have been the victim, I know El Nekamoth is right, and where I have been the sinner, I know Elohim Chaseddi is necessary.
So yes, I fear El Nekamoth. I fear Him enough to flee to Him. Where else can I go?
You will keep in perfect peaceIsaiah 26:3-4
all who trust in you,
all whose thoughts are fixed on you!
Trust in the Lord always,
for [Yahweh Tsuri].
Yahweh Tsuri: The Lord my Eternal Rock
I struggled to keep the passage short for this one because all of Isaiah 26 really should be included. What a beautiful song! When I sat down to study the names of God, I meant to do one each day and be finished by Christmas, and yet here it is, New Years’ Day, and I am only on day 29 of 60. <sigh>. And yet I can’t help feeling blessed to be here, on the first day of this new year, reading and rereading these verses that say trust in Yahweh Tsuri!
He knows what I am, He knows what obstacles to my faith I’ve faced this year, and He knows with what effort we’ve overcome them. He knows how tired I am, tired of picking myself back up with fresh blood and bruises and putting my foot forward again anyway. But He’s also an awful lot taller than me and sees where we’re going; He’s more traveled than I am and He’s been there many, many times before. So He leans down and whispers, “Trust Me, turn your thoughts to Me, keep doing what I tell you to,” and He fills me with strength I didn’t have before.
So here it is, one more breath, one more whisper, one more footstep, one more beginning. One more year with Yahweh Tsuri, the Rock who keeps me in perfect peace!
[Yahweh] is my rock, my [Metsudhathi], and my savior;Psalm 18:2
my God is my rock, in whom I find protection.
He is my shield, the power that saves me,
and my place of safety.
Yahweh Metsudhathi: The Lord my High Tower (Fortress)
I was just talking about safe places with my brother a few days ago. He recently moved his family here from overseas, including his three-year-old daughter, who is, naturally, struggling with the change. He was telling me about how clingy she’s been lately to him specifically; though her mother is there too, she wants him. So I told him what I have always seen – kids run to their mothers when they are hurt or sad. But when they are scared? Scared children want big strong daddy. He makes them feel safe.
I love this name of God because there are days I want to do nothing more than hide. I have, at times, run frantically away and hidden in corners and trees and bathroom stalls and shrunk against walls trying not to be seen. Other times I have pushed up my chin and faced it while my insides clawed frantically for the exit. It’s on those days, all of those days, this God wraps Himself around me and becomes a kind of safety better than hiding would be; He is the power that saves me, my rock, my Yahweh Metsudhathi, the only hiding place I need.
[Yahweh] is my rock, my fortress, and my [Mephalti]; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety.Psalm 18:2
Yahweh Mephalti: The Lord My Deliverer (or My Rescuer)
When I began to study fiction writing, the words “character” and “plot” come up together a lot. “Character-driven plot” and “Plot reveals character” are two phrases circulating in my mind tonight. The popular theory goes that the events and circumstances of a character’s journey serve to expose who they are, and in this way I find fiction a lot like life.
One thing the circumstances of my life have certainly exposed in me: I do not like being rescued. It’s embarrassing, inconvenient, and all around frazzling to need to be rescued. I feel like such a weight sometimes, such a burden to my rescuers. Because of this, I ask for help as rarely as I can.
I’ve brought that reluctance to be rescued, that heavy, inconvenient feeling into my relationship with God, and even before Him I try to pretend I have it all together, like He doesn’t have to go out of His way to help me! I don’t want to be a burden, after all.
This bit of my character in fiction would be called a “flaw,” maybe even my “fatal flaw.” The truth is God does not feel burdened by my need to be rescued. Rescuer is His very name; when He rescues me, He is merely being Himself. My weight is nothing to His strength, and my helplessness does not surprise or offend Him. He is waiting, always waiting for me to call Yahweh Mephalti. My Deliverer.
“O [El Sali],” I cry,Psalm 42:9
“Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I wander around in grief,
oppressed by my enemies?”
El Sali: God My Strength (or God My Rock)
Psalm 42 has long been the comfort of drooping souls. “Why am I so discouraged?” “Why is my soul so sad?” David repeats these questions as though they are looping in his mind. This is a man who is low, and he can’t shake it. He feels abandoned, alone, lifeless; I have felt these things too recently, even today. And yet in the midst of this, he calls God El Sali – “God My Strength.” Because he knows. He knows none of his successes ever came from himself; they were all done in strength beyond his own. So he rallies – and again, he puts his hope where it belongs, in El Sali, in his Rock Himself.
The Lord is [Migdal-Oz] for the oppressed,Psalm 9:9-10
a refuge in times of trouble.
Those who know your name trust in you,
for you, O Lord, do not abandon those who search for you.
Migdal-Oz: My Strong Tower (or my Shelter, My Stronghold)
The introduction to this Psalm is “This is a Psalm of David.” Of course it is. Who else would it be? David is exactly the person I’d expect to know God from every angle he could.
This is the first of 22 names of God on my list from the Psalms, and most of them were Psalms of David. These 22 names aren’t the only names used in this book, but they are either used here first, or at least most quintessentially. David studied this God, he meditated on Him, and he really fully relied on Him. The more I read about David’s life, the more I see he didn’t have much of a choice.
David spent a lot of his life on the run. He was hunted by his own king, to whom he continually showed unbelievable loyalty despite. He was the man who confronted Goliath, and he spent many years of his life – running. Not because he was afraid, but because he was convicted to protect a man who wanted to murder him! Oof.
One thing David knew well from his life on the run was all about refuges. Safe places where, for a moment, a man could stop running and just live. Safe places, protected places. And the place he found peace the most – was in Migdal-Oz, his Shelter. ❤
“But as for me, I know that [Haggo’el] lives,Job 19:25-27
and he will stand upon the earth at last.
And after my body has decayed,
yet in my body I will see God!
I will see him for myself.
Yes, I will see him with my own eyes.
I am overwhelmed at the thought!
Haggo’el: My Redeemer
War cry. This is my war cry! When my faith is failing and needs rallying, these words of Job’s pull power from the dregs of my will. I will. I will see God; I will see him for myself!!
How? How do I know that? Because I know Haggo-el lives; though others may not know that, I do. He who has the right and the means to buy me back from my captor, Death, lives. My Redeemer. ❤