The Personal God

19 Jul

“When my father and my mother Have forsaken me, then doth Jehovah gather me.” – Psalms 27:10 – Youngs Literal Translation

“When my father and my mother forsake me, then Yahweh will take me up.” – Psalms 27:10 World English Bible

When we first learn about God, we learn about him more as a Creator, and provider. We see the animals and learn about science, and the questions that we seek answers for can lead us in the direction of God.

God uses many names for himself, and these include Elohim, with the meaning tied to his role as “the Creator”. Elhohim occurs 2700 times in the Bible. While God is one in unity, Elohim is actually plural. I understand that this plural God is God the Father and his son Jeshua, or Jesus. The tie in of these two members of the Godhead are found in John 3:16,  and the greetings to the church found in Romans 1:7, I Corinthians 1:3, II Corinthians 1:2, Galatians 1:3, Ephesians 1:2, Philippians 1:2, Colossians 1:2, I Thessalonians 1:1, II Thessalonians 1:2, I Timothy 1:2, II Timothy 1:2, Titus 1:4, Philemon 1:3, I Peter 1:1-3, II Peter 1:2, I John 1:3 and more.

A second notable name for God is Jehovah, YHWH, or Yahweh.

The Companion Bible, appendix 4, has this to say.

II. JEHOVAH. While Elohim is God as the Creator of all things, Jehovah is the same God in covenant relation to those whom He has created (Cp. 2 Chron. 18.31). Jehovah means the Eternal, the Immutable One, He Who WAS, and IS, and IS TO COME. The Divine definition is given in Gen. 21.33. He is especially, therefore, the God of Israel, and the God of those who are redeemed, and are thus now “in Christ”. We can say “My God,” but not “My Jehovah”, for Jehovah is “My God.”

Jehovah is indicated (as in A.V) by small capital letters, “LORD”; and by “GOD” when it occurs in combination with Adonia, in which case Lord GOD = Adonai Jehovah.

One story I like in the Bible is how God provided for Hagar and her son in the Bible. It was actually Abraham’s elderly wife Sarah’s idea to “help” God fulfill his promise of a son through her young servant Hagar. But this idea produced contention between the two women, naturally. When she became pregnant, Hagar started to treat Sarai (Sarah) with disdain. Sarah in turn started to treat her harshly, and the pregnant Hagar fled to the wilderness.

But the personal God, the LORD, Jehovah, would not leave this situation alone. God himself met Hagar in the wilderness.

And the angel of the LORD found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness, by the fountain in the way to Shur. And he said, Hagar, Sarai’s maid, whence camest thou? and whither wilt thou go? And she said, I flee from the face of my mistress Sarai. And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself under her hands. And the angel of the LORD said unto her, I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude. And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the LORD hath heard thy affliction. And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren. –Genesis 16: 7-12 KJV

The story continues, here in a different translation:

So she called the LORD who spoke to her: The God Who Sees, for she said, “In this place, have I actually seen the One who sees me?” That is why she named the spring, “A Well of the Living One Who Sees Me.” It is located between Kadesh and Bered. –Genesis 16:13-14


Notice, that it was the LORD, Jehovah, the covenant God, the personal God that appeared to her, in a physical form.

So, Hagar would not be a single mother, and she went back to Abraham’s house. And so, when Abram (Abraham) was 86 years old, Ishmael was born. (Genesis 16:16).

When Abram was 99 years old, God visited Abram and renewed his promise to him of a son born of him and his wife, whom through God would establish his covenant. At that time, all the males in Abram’s house were circumcised, as a sign of that covenant. And, God changed Abram’s name to Abraham, and his wife’s name to Sarah. And in the intervening year until Isaac was born, Sodom and Gommorah suffered God’s judgment and Abraham moved into a new area. In her 90s, Sarah miraculously became pregnant and Isaac was born when Abraham was 100.

Hagar initally ran away when pregnant with Ishmael, and it was not until much later that tensions arose again between Hagar and Sarah. When Isaac was weaned, a celebration was held for him. Isaac may have been about 3 years old, and because of their age difference, Ishmael would have been about 17. Apparently this time, it was Ishmael that was mocking, presumably mocking Isaac and his mother at the celebration held for him. Sarah was ready now to have her son be the sole heir to Abraham, and to his affections, and wanted them to be sent away. As Ishmael’s father, Abraham was upset by this. But this time, God himself encouraged Abraham that sending them away was the right action.

Still, Hagar and her son suffered distress after being sent away, and God appeared to her a second time, and to her son.

And God heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said unto her, What aileth thee, Hagar? fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is. Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in thine hand; for I will make him a great nation. And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the bottle with water, and gave the lad drink.

And God was with the lad; and he grew, and dwelt in the wilderness, and became an archer. And he dwelt in the wilderness of Paran: and his mother took him a wife out of the land of Egypt. –Genesis 21:17-21

At this time, it was not Jehovah, the covenant God that spoke to Hagar. It was Elohim,”God”, who is the creator God. And he did not appear to her, he spoke from heaven to her in a more distant way, addressing his creation. At this time, Ishmael was at or near an adult age had skills as a hunter, and the family was able to survive and thrive.

The God of David, and the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was Jehovah, Yahweh, the covenant God. He was the personal God. Abraham was called a friend of God. (James 2:23, Isaiah 41:8 and II Chronicles 41:8.) Depending on the context, the faithful refer to God in different ways. But the personal God is Jehovah, or Yahweh. The Eternal, the God who was, and is, and is to come. He is the God of the redeemed.




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Posted by on July 19, 2020 in Christian, Faith, inspiration, The Bible, Uncategorized


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