May 18, 2012, 3:40 PM
On different occasions and in diverse ways God has revealed himself to humanity as the same God who dealt with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, our forefathers. There is no end to the string of names by which we have come to know him. “As for God his way is perfect; … (2 Samuel 22:31) Speaking through the lips of his servant Moses, after the Red Sea had engulfed the invading Egyptian army, we read: “Who among the gods is like you, O Lord? Who is like you - majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders? You stretched your right hand and the earth swallowed them.” (Exodus 15:11-12)
The Bible refers to him as “the King of kings and the Lord of lords.” He is exalted above all other gods. “For you O Lord, are the Most High over all the earth; you are exalted far above all gods.” (Psalm 97:9) ‘Most High’ is another of his names. Pharaoh sought to exalt himself above the God Most High when on receiving, Moses and Aaron, God’s emissaries, he remarked; “Who is the Lord that I should obey him and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord and I will not let Israel go.” (Exodus 5:2) A local adage aptly describes this kind of behavior in these terms - ‘It is a child who will play with a lion’s tail thinking it is a dog.’ Pharaoh paid for his stubbornness when he lost not only his firstborn and brought endless woes on the nation of Egypt, but his world-famous Egyptian army that gave chase to the Children of Israel never survived the experience. The roaring waves of the Rea Sea submerged them all – horses, chariots, footmen, horsemen -- confirming what Moses had told his people: “The Lord will fight for you; you need only be still.” (Exodus 14:13)
Jehovah Shamma/the Lord is there.
Scripture is replete with assurances of God’s presence as the Children of Israel trekked the wilderness to the Promised Land and in the choice of those he called. Repeatedly we hear, “I will never leave you nor forsake.” “I will be with you.” “My presence will go with you.” “I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go … I will not leave you until I have done what I promised to do.” (Genesis 28:15) Again he allayed Moses’ fears when he underlined: “My presence will go with you and I will give you rest.” (Exodus 33:4)
His presence was vital for The Children of Israel because of the multitude of enemies they confronted. Travelling through pagan land posed enormous problems for them. At one point they were denied entry and had to take a roundabout route. Their lives were in constant danger and naturally they were afraid and needed the Lord to shelter them under his wings. During their forty-year-journey through the wilderness, God led them by a pillar of cloud during the day and a pillar of fire during the night.
God of battles
“Who is the king of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle.” (Psalm 24:8) As he went with them, he fought their battles as well. “The Lord will grant that the enemies who rise up against you will be defeated before you. They will come at you from one direction but flee from you in seven.” (Deuteronomy 28:7) He became their defence, a fortress, a hiding place, a refuge and a shield as He showed himself strong on their behalf. They lost to their enemies only as a result of their disobedience. Their enemies feared them. “For we have heard reports of him: all that he did in Egypt and all that he did to the two kings of the Amorites east of Jordan …” (Joshua 9:9-10) proclaimed Rahab, the prostitute. No king or lord on this earth can compete with him for power--for he is above all other gods.
Jehovah Rapha/The Lord our healer
God is also our healer. He promises that if we are obedient to him he would protect us from all the diseases that plagued the Egyptians. We bring disease and sickness on ourselves when we sin. God withdraws his protective cover and Satan takes advantage of this breach. “Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases.” (Psalm 103:3) “… for I am the Lord who heals you.” (Exodus 15:26)
Lucifer, the fallen angel, beheld all of God’s personality coupled with his attributes and coveted the position. “Your heart became proud on account of your beauty and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendour.” (Ezekiel 28:17) That led to his downfall. Jesus, the Son of God who has identical divine qualities with God: “Who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant being made in human likeness….” (Philippians 2:6-7) humbled himself and today he is seated at the right hand of the Father--his rightful place.
God is self-perpetuating with no origin, and he will have no end. He will be forever God -- unchangeable. His interventions in the lives of his children are still very evident today for those who love him. “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9) O taste and see that the Lord is good!