Jehovah Shammah - The God Who is There
Jehovah Shammah - this name of God is only mentioned once in all of scripture, but that in no way gives it any less significance than any other He’s revealed to us through His Word. As with every name of God, they unveil a part of His multifaceted nature that He desires to show to us about Himself. I pray that the Lord would give us understanding today that He would reveal to you and me the sweetness, depth, purpose and power of this precious Name of His.
I wanted to start this post off by giving us a little context around the book of Ezekiel and the events that unfolded at that particular point in history. So, here’s a brief run through to help us understand why God chose to reveal this name of His to His people. Ezekiel is a major prophetic book of the OT, authored by him, giving us the account of his life. He was born in Jerusalem into a priestly family around 6th century BCE, exiled to Babylon during their second siege into Israel. He was called by God during his captivity to be a watchman and given multiple prophetic visions throughout his life to give warning to the Israelites about things to come. He postured his life in obedience, looking to God and listening to Him. He faithfully followed the Lord & urged others to do the same at a time in history when God’s people turned a deaf ear, were found to be rebellious and were adulterous worshippers of false gods.
I recently read that Irving Jensen said that the book could be divided into two halves: the first half as God is Not There (Ezekiel 1-32) and the second as God is There (Ezekiel 33-48). The first half Ezekiel delivers messages of warning followed by the unfolding of judgment for Israel and the nations, as well as the destruction of the Temple. You see that the Presence of God actually leaves the Temple after being grieved by His people’s sin. (God is not There). The second half of the book is centered around the theme of restoration, future blessing for Israel, the hope of salvation and freedom from exile, which ends with the building of a new third Temple in Jerusalem and the return of God’s presence again (God is There).
“There” can mean a variety of things - in reference to when Jesus, our King, will physically reign from the new Temple in the millennium age to come (Ezekiel 43:7). “There” can also be interpreted today as “there within our bodies”, our temples (1 Cor. 3:16).
You might be asking yourself, “Why did we need this history lesson?” Well, I believe it’s important for us to contextually see the full picture in hopes that we may grow in the knowledge of the Word; having it take root in our hearts, minds and lives.
There’s so much we can learn from this name He’s revealed to us, but the two things I want to focus on are His presence within us and the great measure He went to for us to receive it. I don't know about you, but when I look over my life, I can identify parts of my past with the Israelites way-warding tendencies found in the first half of Ezekiel. I walked in darkness, was a slave to sin, lived in captivity, was idolatrous, didn't acknowledge God and lived absent of His Spirit.
I dug myself the deepest pit, had no way out, but it was there where He found me in my darkest hour. He breathed life into my dry, dead bones, filled me with His Spirit and sat my feet on solid ground. He delivered, delighted and loved me, not because of any act of my own but because of a covenant He purchased me with long ago. Such great grace I don’t deserve, but have received because of the atoning blood of the Spotless Lamb.
Our lives don't have to be all loom and doom, consumed with the current trials we are going through. We can live as Ezekiel did, on mission despite circumstance, filled with a message of unshakeable hope because we have the hope of the Faithful One. The God Who is There…
There in the mud, There in the pain, There in the things we've done, There in the things that have been done to us; There leading us by His Spirit that He deposited in us. This connectedness; a direct line to comfort, to joy, to mercy, to peace, to hope, to rest, to help. We have been given the greatest gift of all, Him. We have Jesus! He has not left us on our own, and He’s promised to never leave nor forsake us.
Even if we run, even if we become stagnant, even if we make our bed in the lowest place, He finds us There (Psalm 139) coming after us to restore us and love us. He’s more gracious and more loving than we can imagine, relentlessly pursuing us, His bride. He went to the furthest extreme to purchase us and is looking forward to the day we’re reunited and will marry us with joy.
I don't know about you, but when I hear about this kind of love towards me, one that died and took my rightful place, I'm absolutely breathless. Everything in me stands in awe, then moves to worship and can’t help but love Him in response.
Join me today and let’s aim to set our hearts on faithfulness to Jesus, our eyes above on our eternal Love. Let’s make ourselves a ready Bride for our King as we seek Him and love Him, til’ we behold Him. Let’s join in the song that the Spirit and Bride sing and say “Come”. Come Lord Jesus, hasten Your return, until that day, give us grace to love you well and be further conformed into Your image.