Have you ever come across a person whose name seems to fit them perfectly? Take for example the Olympic gold medalist and fastest man in the world, Usain Bolt. Isn’t “Bolt” the perfect name for him?
Live long and you will notice that the examples are bountiful.
- Race car driver Scott Speed
- Singer Bill Medley
- TV gardener Bob Flowerdew
- Meteorologist Sarah Blizzard
Their names just seem to fit their characteristics perfectly!
Your name is a marker. Sometimes it ironically reflects your talent or job like those mentioned above while other times it simply marks your identity to a family—who you are and whose you are. Either way your name is significant and you will carry it with you for your lifetime.
When it comes to God there aren’t enough names to describe the wonder of who He is. The Bible teaches us that God is known by many names and each of those names reveals a different aspect of His eternal character and nature. And each of those names fit Him perfectly!
Lately I have been reflecting on God as Jehovah Shammah. “The Lord is there.”
A Future City
Jehovah Shammah appears only once in the Old Testament, in Ezekiel 48:35.
“And the name of the city from that time on will be: ‘The Lord is There.'” (Jehovah Shammah)
The brief context is this: Ezekiel is prophesying about Jerusalem in the future where God’s presence will never leave (unlike when His presence left the temple due to the disobedience of the Israelites). He is foretelling revival and restoration and proclaims that this city will be renamed Jehovah Shammah—The Lord is There! It’s a message of hope, redemption and promise.
A Personal God
As I reflect on His name Jehovah Shammah I realize that God never wants to be the God over there, but instead the God here. He is not distant, removed and withdrawn, but rather, personal and intimate. Furthermore, God desires an authentic relationship with each of us. He wants us to know His presence, not for a moment, but for eternity.
As followers of Jesus we can be confident in the reality that Jehovah Shammah is always here, there, everywhere; right with us.
The following is what Jehovah Shammah has meant for me. I hope that you will find it an encouragement for your life as well.
My dad was diagnosed with Prostate cancer last year and endured a time of radiation and treatment that left him very tired and weary. During that time I was 1,433 miles away but I knew that God was right there. The assurance of His presence during sickness is powerful. (Matthew 5:4)
I remember sitting on my balcony in Bolivia praying for friends. My loneliness in the new culture had set in and I just needed a friend to laugh with and be myself around. Jehovah Shammah gave me comfort during my time of need and chose to graciously answer that prayer by providing my friend Luis a few months later. God’s presence during loneliness is comforting. (Psalms 27:10)
The odds were stacked against my daughter Lydia at her birth. She was two weeks premature, born at high altitude, born in a room with no medical equipment and oxygen (she came so quickly), no doctor was in the room, and she was born breech. And yet she walks around my house everyday fully healthy and a gift from God. God was there in that moment—not just to protect her but to celebrate her life. The father delights in giving good gifts and He is rejoicing with us in the moment! (Matthew 7:9-11)
Several years ago I endured a tough time with a friend. We didn’t see things the same way and they had continually wounded me through their words. In conversations I was so tempted to undermine them and blaspheme their name. At just the right time, God continually reminded me of His call to honor and respect. His presence was and is available to resist sin and temptation. (Prov. 15:3)
I was surrounded by a group of angry men. I couldn’t understand exactly what they were saying but I knew they wanted my money, computer bag and other valuables. In that moment I knew I was in serious danger. I was in a remote slum area of town by myself and far away from help. In a remarkable turn of events they stopped badgering me and let me calmly walk away, giving them nothing. Jehovah Shammah was there to provide me with peace, a calm mind and protection. (Is. 41:10)
God has promised His presence no matter what. Our lives are filled with good and bad baggage. We look back, around and ahead, fearing the unknown and worrying about potential disaster and through it all Jehovah Shammah is there.
We cannot be in our future now, but God can. We can’t control the events of today but He will. Jehovah Shammah will walk with you into whatever today and tomorrow will bring. And because of His great love, you can trust that He will never leave you or forsake you. (Deut. 31:6)
Jehovah Shammah—The Lord is There. Take a moment to reflect today. How has He been there for you?