August 5, 2019

365 Days of the Great Names of God, Day 248: Yahweh-Shammah (The Lord Is There)

Yahweh-Shammah (The Lord Is There)

"I was 30 years old. I was with my people who had been taken away from their country. We were by the Kebar River in the land of Babylonia. On the fifth day of the fourth month, the heavens were opened. I saw visions of God...The city will be six miles around. From that time on, its name will be THE LORD IS THERE." (Ezekiel 1:1, 48:35 NIRV)

"When I was thirty years of age, I was living with the exiles on the Kebar River. On the fifth day of the fourth month, the sky opened up and I saw visions of God...The four sides of the city measure to a total of nearly six miles. From now on the name of the city will be Yahweh-Shammah: 'God-Is-There.' " (Ezekiel 1:1, 48:35 MSG)

The prophet Ezekiel spent much of his life in a place he did not want to be.

He grew up in Judea but was exiled to Babylon while he was still young.

God's people were strangers in a strange land in Babylon. They were foreigners surrounded by false gods. But while Ezekiel was carrying out his prophetic ministry there, He had visions of a new temple and a new city where God's presence would again be felt. A place whose name would be, "THE LORD IS THERE."

This prophecy of God's presence to come was something Ezekiel and the people he ministered to could hope for in the future. But the comfort of Yahweh-Shammah is ours today. Right now. Right where we're at.

This is a very good thing because, like Ezekiel, we spend much of our lives in places we don't want to be. Places we don't choose to go. Places that are not home. Places where we are strangers in a strange land. Places we long to leave. Places of pain or sorrow or suffering.

The last of Yahweh's names God revealed through His Old Testament prophets conveys one constant about all those places: God is there. In them. At them. With us. For us. And because He is God, the package deal of His presence is also there: His divine, doesn't-make-any-human-sense, can't-be-explained, beyond-ourselves peace, joy, hope, strength, wisdom, grace, comfort, contentment, compassion, and love.

When we are at a doctor's office, hearing a devastating diagnosis...God Is There.

When we are in a hospital room, praying for a loved one's survival...God Is There.

When we are in a hospital room, praying for our own survival...God Is There.

When we are at the grave of a mother or father or son or daughter or brother or sister or friend we can't believe is gone...God Is There.

When we are in a sanctuary, forcing ourselves to go through the motions of worship...God Is There.

When we are in our beds, weeping over a broken relationship...God Is There.

When we are at school, talking with a teacher about a problem that has no easy solution...God Is There.

When we are in a car, riding in stony silence alongside an angry teenager...God Is There.

When we are on a college campus, saying goodbye to a piece of our heart we miss even before we've driven away...God Is There.

When we are at a bank, making a deposit we know isn't nearly enough to cover our expenses...God Is There.

When we are at a job we despise but cannot afford to give up...God Is There.

When we are _________...God Is There.

Dear ones, wherever you are today and wherever you will be tomorrow, claim this name of God. Claim the promise it spoke to Ezekiel and still speaks to us now: Yahweh-Shammah is there.

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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!