January 12, 2019

365 Days of the Great Names of God, Day 43: Yahweh-Jireh

Yahweh-Jireh: The Lord Will Provide

"So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, 'On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.' " (Genesis 22:14 NIV)

If you've studied God's hyphenated Hebrew names in the past, you may be
 more familiar with today's name as "Jehovah-Jireh." Because we'll encounter this seeming disparity going forward on our journey, I thought today would be a good day to try to clarify. 

I dug into one of my favorite Bible study resources, the New International Encyclopedia of Bible Words, by Lawrence O. Richards, to help me understand the dual use of Jehovah and Yahweh (and to settle on the use of Yahweh in this series). This is what I gleaned from Richards' explanation:

In the ancient Hebrew language of the Old Testament, which did not have vowels in its alphabet, the word that appears as "LORD" in our translations is transliterated as "YHWH" or, sometimes, as "JHVH." Another Hebrew word translated "Lord," "adonay," is also found over three hundred times in the Old Testament.

Richards writes that "the pronunciation of 'YHWH' is not certain. But the common pronunciation, Jehovah, was surely not used in ancient times. The transcribers of the Hebrew Old Testament in the twelfth century believed the divine name too holy to pronounce. They added the 'o' and 'a' from 'adonay' to the four Hebrew consonants, and when they read the Hebrew aloud said 'adonay' in its place. It seems most likely that the original pronunciation is approximated in Yahweh" (New International Encyclopedia of Bible Words, page 416).

Both Jehovah and Yahweh mean "Lord." When another name or title is added, as in "Jireh," his personal, revealed name is amplified with a particular aspect of His lordship. This may be entirely missing the mark, but I usually think of Yahweh as God's proper first name and anything attached to it as His middle name. 

Now, dear NOG friends, if all this has your head spinning or if this whole Hebrew pronunciation bit isn't your thing, go ahead and just press into this beautiful reality: The Lord Will Provide. Abraham delighted in the truth of this when God provided a sacrifice to take the place of his beloved son. God demonstrated the truth of it when He provided the ultimate sacrifice of His own beloved son. And we can depend on the truth of it today, whatever sacrifice God is calling us to make.

The Lord has provided. The Lord Will Provide.

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I'd love to hear from you! Feel free to tell me what you really think. Years ago, I explained to my then-two-year-old that my appointment with a counselor was "sort of like going to a doctor who will help me be a better mommy." Without blinking, she replied, "You'd better go every day." All of which is just to say I've spent some time in the school of brutal honesty!