Names of God – four day devotional

El Shaddai – Abbie Price | Day One

This last season of stripping away, where so much of my self-sufficiency is being shaken, has forced me into a new familiarity with God as provider, as my sufficiency.

Strong’s has this to say on El Shaddai: 

“The title Shadday really indicates the fullness and riches of God’s grace, and would remind the Hebrew reader that from God comes every good and perfect gift – that He is never weary of pouring forth His mercies on His people, and that He is more ready to give than they are to receive.”

The first time this title of God is used in the Bible is in Genesis 17.1-2, where God uses it of Himself. 

“When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty; walk before me faithfully and be blameless. Then I will make my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.”

God went on to reiterate His promise to Abram that he would be a father of many nations, that he would be fruitful and possess the land of Canaan. God then gave him a new name and here established the covenant of circumcision. 

This is not coincidence. Abram’s part in the covenant was to deliberately make himself weak. This sign of the covenant, demanded by God, was a very real act of submission. It was Abram’s – now Abraham’s – statement of faith in his God. 

Over the past season, I have found myself submitting to God in so many areas of my life – career, relationships, finances, family…. in admitting my weakness, I have been discovering the bountiful, all-sufficiency of our God Almighty. He has provided in so many ways that I could never have imagined. I am reminded now on a daily basis that every good and perfect gift comes from God.

The Lord My Shepherd – Andrew Price | Day Two

“Save your people and bless your inheritance; be their shepherd and carry them forever” Psalm 28:9

Some people, sadly including some Christians, see God as remote.  For them God is the great creator who, having set the cosmos in motion, sat back to watch it run its course.  He is perfect but unreachable, almighty but uninvolved in the day to day struggles of his creatures as we negotiate life’s obstacle course. 

I’m glad the Bible knows nothing of this kind of God.  Our God is tender and compassionate, loves us like a mother and pursues us like a lover.  His power is for our rescue and his judgment is for justice.  The image of God as a shepherd captures something of this closeness and care. 

When David wrote Psalm 23 (“The Lord is my shepherd…”), he must have had his own experiences as a shepherd in mind.  “When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock”, he tells King Saul, “I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth.  When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it”.  It wasn’t all pastoral calm and quiet waters; the shepherd was there to protect and, if necessary, fight for his sheep.  Like David, our shepherd-God is committed to his flock.  He is ready and able to rescue us from the predators who would gladly harm us.  The enemy comes like a roaring lion, threatening us with destruction, but God is able to rescue us.  We can take comfort and confidence from this.

I Am – Roanna Day | Day Three

“Then Moses said to God, “Behold, I am going to the sons of Israel, and I will say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you.’ Now they may say to me, ‘What is His name?’ What shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’  Exodus 3 v 14

Is it just me that’s always found God’s response to Moses here a little unsatisfactory? 

“Hey, Moses. Drop everything, go where you’re not welcome and do the impossible” says the bush.

“Umm. OK. When they ask on what leg do I stand; who should I say sent me?” asks Moses.

“Say, I AM sent you” replies the bush, finishing the conversation.

I mean, it leaves a little to be desired, doesn’t it? Why not “I am the God of the universe” “I am the King of all kings” “I am the creator of all under the sun.”

However, recently, after some journeying, ‘I AM’ has become one of my favourite names for God. I call him father, I call him Abba when I talk to my daughter “Did you have some lovely dreams with your Abba?” and “Your Abba loves you so much”. I call him friend and I call him beloved and so often, down on my knees, heaving with deep sobs I call him to me, desperate and hungry and whisper Yahweh, please. 

But, now, in the midst of the hardest time of my life I find myself circling back again and again to the God who calls himself I AM because, more than any other name, it communicates just how inexplicable our God is. He is so inexplicable, so uncontainable, so indescribable that there is no suitable Hebrew word for Him and so, instead, the next best thing was used – a verb: ‘haya’ meaning ‘to be, become, exist, happen.’

Yahweh Shalom – Ruth Price | Day Four

Gazing out upon a sunny summer’s landscape I am reminded of Browning’s poem:

“God’s in His heaven and all’s right with the world.”

However, when I consider other landscapes of our nation, other nations, of culture, of health… then I see a different reality. All is not ‘right with the world’.

My thoughts and prayers have frequently turned to ‘peace’ in this season. 

Peace of the ‘Shalom’ kind that touches body-mind, soul and spirit. 

The Shalom kind of peace that sets our world right with God. 

During a recent prayer encounter Jesus’ invited me to a place of ‘stillness’.

It was a beautiful lakeside setting, I thought we were going to sit and soak in the peaceful, restorative ambience of the place. Wrong. He was inviting me out onto the waters of the lake. Even in that place of encounter, I questioned the invite. I wasn’t sure I could handle any more walking or even dancing on the waters right now. I needed stillness and peace. 

However, how can you refuse when Jesus is saying “come on…”?