Summary: The names of God: God always exists, He will provide, He is our healer, and our banner, he will sanctify us and He is our peace. But how do we know? I mean, the Bible says all of these things (and more!), but how can we really know?
Jehovah Shammah: God is There
For the past six weeks we’ve learned about the names of God. God always exists, He will provide, He is our healer, and our banner, he will sanctify us and He is our peace. But how do we know? I mean, the Bible says all of these things (and more!), but how can we really know?
For those of you who follow the news, the terrorist organization called ISIS has recently released a very graphic, violent video in which the leader says, point blank, that they are killing 21 Egyptian men because they are Christian. The leader proceeds to say that the same thing will happen to all “followers of the cross” throughout the world. Then, they proceed to force the men on the ground and brutally cut off their heads. It was an outrage heard all over the world. In fact, just on Monday Egypt launched a large air strike, destroying several ISIS strongholds in retaliation. It was the first time the Egyptian Air Force launched an attack outside their national borders in 24 years -- and the Muslim nation of Egypt did it to protect a small group of Christians.
I’m going to leave some time after service if you have any questions about what’s happening with ISIS, but right now I want to share a point. When you hear about things like this, or -- Lord forbid -- you actually see the video, it’s extremely easy to ask, “Where is God in all of this? How can He be the God of peace, or healing, or our victory banner, when things like this are going on in the world?”
Those are understandable questions. The answer, though, lies in each event itself. This ISIS attack, for example -- I saw the video. It was, on the surface, the most horrible, brutish, and terrifying thing I’ve ever seen in my life. Pictures from that video will haunt me forever. But I noticed something beautiful in that video. I’m serious! I watched the faces of the 21 Christians; and the entire time, they had such an expression of peace. No tears, no expressions of fear; nothing like that at all. In fact, the last words spoken by them were “Ya Rabbi Yasou” -- which I learned means “Oh my Lord Jesus”.
How could these people -- facing certain, painful, and public death -- keep such a calmness around them? The answer is that they clearly knew that God was their God of peace, and victory, and all the other things. But how did they know?
Because Jehovah Shammah -- God is There. We first see this name of God in Ezekiel chapter 48, verses 30-35:
“30These will be the exits of the city: Beginning on the north side, which is 4,500 cubits long, 31the gates of the city will be named after the tribes of Israel. The three gates on the north side will be the gate of Reuben, the gate of Judah and the gate of Levi. 32“On the east side, which is 4,500 cubits long, will be three gates: the gate of Joseph, the gate of Benjamin and the gate of Dan. 33“On the south side, which measures 4,500 cubits, will be three gates: the gate of Simeon, the gate of Issachar and the gate of Zebulun. 34“On the west side, which is 4,500 cubits long, will be three gates: the gate of Gad, the gate of Asher and the gate of Naphtali. 35“The distance all around will be 18,000 cubits. “And the name of the city from that time on will be: the Lord is there.”
In Ezekiel, God gave a vision of the future when God is physically here on earth. After the events described both in Ezekiel and the book of Revelation, God will physically reside in the new city. At this point in Ezekiel -- the final 6 verses -- Ezekiel’s previous prophecies had been fulfilled. Jerusalem was in ruins, the Temple was destroyed, and Israel was held captive to Babylon. It was a very dark time for the people of Israel. God sent this message through Ezekiel as a reminder that even in this very dark time, God will be there.
Now, it’s all well and good to know that God will be there in the future, right? But what if you need God right now? What good is it for God to tell you that He will be there eventually when you need Him right now?
Because God promised that He would always be with His people. ““See, I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared.” (Exodus 23:20). God was telling the Israelites that He would send an angel to guard them on their journey. It’s hard to guard something if you’re not there with it, right? God told the Israelites that He would be there with them!