Day 13: Yahweh M’Kaddesh

So set yourselves apart to be holy, for I am the Lord your God. Keep all my decrees by putting them into practice, for I am Yahweh M’Kaddesh.

Leviticus 20:7-8, name added

Yahweh M’Kaddesh: The Lord My Sanctifier (or The Lord who makes you Holy)

Leviticus 20 is a chapter full of warnings – warnings not to be like the other nations. Child sacrifice, temple prostitutes, adultery, mediums. This is just a summary of the things God forbids in this chapter. Be different, He pleads. Can you feel Him willing His people to make good choices? Can you feel the power of His exhortation?

But what gives us the power, the ability to make the wise, healthy choices God exhorts in this chapter? Yahweh M’Kaddesh. Being in relationship with Him, the One who never puts a foot wrong, clarifies the right path before us. We lean on His strength, His confidence. We lean on Him, and He makes us holy because HE is holy.

Thought seed – Whose company do I keep the most? How am I becoming like that person, and how would keeping God’s company most change me?

Day 12: El Qanna

You must worship no other gods, for the Lord, whose very name is Jealous [El Qanna], is a God who is jealous about his relationship with you.

Exodus 34:14 (NLT), name added

El Qanna: Jealous God

The gods people worship today don’t have faces like they used to, but the more I learn about the gods of ancient nations, the more familiar they seem. People worshipped their gods to gain power, wealth, and pleasure; gods of war and gods of harvest and gods of fertility – all the things people still seek after today. We think that because these gods no longer have faces – are abstract, invisible – they are not gods. But has our own God not shown us that something does not have to be seen to be real?

Though we don’t call them by their names, the ancient gods have never really left us. We as human beings still fall into their worship today. They are all the things that pull our eyes away from the one true God, El Qanna, who is jealous for our gaze. His jealousy is the kind that seeks not only His own good, but ours as well. Those other gods decay, and they destroy us. He does not.

Thought seed: What is God jealous of in my life?

Day 8: Yahweh Yireh

Then Abraham looked up and saw a ram caught by its horns in a thicket. So he took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering in place of his son.  Abraham named the place Yahweh-Yireh (which means “the Lord will provide”). To this day, people still use that name as a proverb: “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.”

Genesis 22:13-14

God promised Abraham a whole nation of heirs long before he had even a single son. When God gave him Isaac, unbelievable Isaac, that was the end of it, right? The promise fulfilled, Abraham’s faith proved, everyone living happily ever after.

No, not quite. Too many people forget God the moment they get what they want from Him. Would Abraham? I think just to show us (and maybe Abraham himself) what this man’s faith was made of, God tested him. He asked for Isaac back. The thing – the one thing – Abraham had wanted more than any other, the one thing that had made him happier than anything else in all the world, God asked for back.

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life.

Proverbs 13:12

God did not demand. He did not take, though He could have in a blink. He asked. All of the hope, all of the joy, all of the peace Abraham had felt since Isaac arrived – it would have made him sick, wholly and completely heartsick, to give up that son.

And what does Abraham do?

He doesn’t miss a beat. Isaac asks where the sacrifice is, and he says God will provide it. What he likely means is that God has provided it already – God gave him Isaac, and God asked for Isaac as a sacrifice.

Would you give back to God all that He has provided for you? ALL of it?

And then, in the moment of obedience, God stopped Abraham’s obeying hand (and Abraham obeyed again, probably a lot more easily this time!). God provided a ram instead. God praised him and blessed him for his obedience, and said, “THIS is why, Abraham. This is why the world is blessed through you.” Not because of his wealth, not because of his perfect parenting, not because of his moral compass, but because of his obedient faith. Because he would give back to God everything he had asked God to give to him. He trusted Him that much.

Abraham knew. Abraham had seen God take two bodies as good as dead and create a child from them. He had seen a miracle before, and he had not forgotten that GOD provides. And in that last possible second before he did the unthinkable, before he harmed his son and his own heart beyond human repair, God provided again.

Because that is who He is. It is His name, Yahweh Yireh. The God who provides. ❤

Thought seed: Do I trust God to provide again, even after He has already provided before? Or do I think I’ve reached the limit of His provision?

Day 7: El-Olam

After making their covenant at Beersheba, Abimelech left with Phicol, the commander of his army, and they returned home to the land of the Philistines. Then Abraham planted a tamarisk tree at Beersheba, and there he worshiped the Lord, the Eternal God.

Genesis 21:33-34

El-Olam: The Everlasting (or Eternal) God

Abraham had his promised son. The Lord had defended Him time and time again, including in this treaty of Beersheba, and granted him favor for his faith. His life was a story about how who matters more than do. His faith was in Yahweh Elohim, Adonai, El Shaddai, El-Olam, the God he knew. The God who, throughout his whole life, never went away, but showed Himself present and active over and over again. The God who lasted though nothing else did; the everlasting God.

Day 6: El Shaddai

When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am El-Shaddai—‘God Almighty.’ Serve me faithfully and live a blameless life.

Genesis 17:1 (NLT)

El Shaddai: God Almighty, All-Sufficient One

This is it. The moment God makes His covenant with Abram –> Abraham. The moment a 99-year-old childless man is promised a whole nation of heirs. The promise that made his wife laugh at its absurdity, and if we’re honest would have made most of us laugh too, but God fulfilled it. Because He is El Shaddai. He named Himself the Able One – the Able-to-do-Anything Almighty One – just a moment before He promised something no one else could promise. That deserves reiteration. Before He made the one of the most unbelievable covenants in history, God first said, “I can do anything.” He said so with His Name.

Thought seed: What can only El Shaddai accomplish in your life?

Day 5: El-roi

Thereafter, Hagar used another name to refer to the LORD, who had spoken to her. She said, “You are [El-roi].” She also said, “Have I truly seen [El-roi]?”

Genesis 16:13

El-roi: The God Who Sees Me

Hagar was a servant. Given by her mistress to her mistress’s husband as an old-fashioned surrogate, of sorts, then badly mistreated by her mistress when she conceived a child (on her mistress’s orders!). Hagar was a truly pitiable creature.

But God is far from blind. Sarai was cruel, but God was kind. It was to her He came, to her He spoke, to her He promised. It was her He saw.

Never have I ever been invisible to God. <repeat>

There has been no darkness in my life His eyes did not penetrate. He is El-roi. He is the God Who Sees Me.

Day 4: Adonai

But Abram replied, “O [Adonai], what good are all your blessings when I don’t even have a son? Since you’ve given me no children, Eliezer of Damascus, a servant in my household, will inherit all my wealth.”

Genesis 15:2

Adonai: Lord, Master

Adonai. The name used instead of the Name. Jews frequently replace the Name of God – Yahweh – with Adonai when they come to it in the Scriptures. Adonai means lord or master, a token of deference and respect. Here Abram uses them both. ❤

“You’re the Boss, God,” Abraham says, right from the start. Abram had a complaint – but first, before he made it, he made sure to declare that whatever God decided, he would abide by. This was not a petty, spoiled Abram demanding more of a God who’d poured out blessing after blessing. This was Abram asking God for the one thing that was on his heart more than any other thing: a child. It was him saying, “God, I don’t want more things. What I really want is someone to love with them.” But if God still said no – He was Boss. (But, of course, this Boss is the One who gives good things to those who ask for them!)

Food for thought: Is God the Boss of my household? Is He the Boss of my life? Do I say, when I pray, “God, You’re the Boss?” and then follow through with obedience?

Day 3: El Elyon

And Melchizedek, the king of Salem and a priest of [El Elyon], brought Abram some bread and wine. Melchizedek blessed Abram with this blessing: “Blessed be Abram by [El Elyon], Creator of heaven and earth. And blessed be [El Elyon], who has defeated your enemies for you.”

And Abram replied to the king of Sodom, “I solemnly swear to the LORD, [El Elyon], Creator of heaven and earth, …”

Genesis 14:18-20, 22

El Elyon: The Most High God

Day 6: El Shaddai

Melchizedek is one of the more nebulous and fascinating characters in the Bible. He is mentioned so briefly as “the king of Salem,” and we know Salem means peace. He is “a priest of God Most High,” El Elyon. If he uses a different name for God, then how do we know his God was the same as ours? But Abram knew. El Elyon – Abram uses it too, beside God’s other name – The Name. Who is this man, and where did he come from? How did he know God? What was his relationship with the Lord like? And how did this man, mentioned so briefly in Genesis, become a whole order of priests-by-faith ordained by God rather than man or heredity?

But this truth is here, plain-faced in Scripture: Melchizedek, whoever he was, wherever he came from, whatever he did next, loved the same God Abraham did, the same God who sent Jesus, Messiah, the same God we love today. He called Him El Elyon, the Most High God. The Best God, maybe. The Most Important God. The Ultimate God. The true God.

The God of all who seek Him.

Day 2: Yahweh Elohim

This is the account of the creation of the heavens and the earth. When [Yahweh Elohim] made the earth and the heavens, neither wild plants nor grains were growing on the earth. For [Yahweh Elohim] had not yet sent rain to water the earth, and there were no people to cultivate the soil.

Genesis 2:4-5

Yahweh Elohim: The LORD God

Yahweh is the name of God so revered the Jews would not even pen it fully. The Name of God is not to be used in vain, and to protect it from being so His chosen people would go to great lengths! They would write it in shorthand – something equivalent to Yhwh – because it was considered too holy to even be written out. It is the name “I Am,” the self-existent one, “The One Who was, Who is, and Who is to come.” It is the name I still wonder if I am wrong to spell fully (and I certainly mean to offend no one by doing so) or if I, too, in reverence should treat more carefully. Like calling a parent or a teacher by their first name, ought THE Name of God be reserved for those who are His equals?

But none are His equals, and it is His name. And if someone were to ask me whose daughter I am, I would give them my father’s name, though I call him “Dad” to his face. What I call God when I speak to Him and what I call God when I speak of Him may be likewise different. (?) But truth be told, I think God taught us His name because He wanted us to use it to call to Him. That sounds the most like something He would do.

Food for thought: in Genesis 1 as God is creating, He is called Elohim, but in Genesis 2 in which we see the whole story from a closer angle, He is called Yahweh Elohim. Is this to distinguish Him from all else – all else besides Him is created, but He is the self-existent Creator, the non-created among creation?

Day 1: Elohim

In the beginning, [Elohim] created the heavens and the earth.

Genesis 1:1

Elohim: God, the Creator

A writer friend of mine recently said, “I create because God creates.” I love that so much more than I can say. That we can imitate Him in creativity! That we can worship Him by creating!

I love it all the more because God created with words, and I love words. “God spoke” is scattered all over Genesis 1, and whatever God describes is. Fantasy writers use a term that has caught my fancy lately – they call their work “world building.” They, like God, build whole worlds out of words. Oh, to be blessed to imitate God in this way!

God is Creator, the World Builder. He is Elohim. ❤