Archive for February, 2011

Psalm 31:15 “Hour by hour I place my days in your hand, safe from the hands out to get me.”

An inconvenient truth is interruptions! These are annoying time interludes that boldly take hostage the order of our schedules and plans. They come in all shapes and sizes, generally thrusting themselves upon the soul at the most inopportune hour. They cannot help themselves; interruptions are as manipulative and impulsive as the day is long. Sometimes we believe them to be calculating, conspiring minions commanding malevolence to our very existence. They show up without warning and demand full attention of agendas and resources. These little time thieves care not about how long they last, or how much organization they disrupt, they demand their needs be promptly recognized and satisfied. Never do they take into consideration circumstances or their victim’s carefully planned agendas, they just come as predatory monsters devouring schedules. Yes, interruptions are unfeeling devils set out to disrupt the very flow of life and existence as we seek to apportion the same wisely.

What emotions do these little imps bring out in you? I suppose anger, frustration, disappointment are just a few to start. No doubt the degree of passion corresponds to the significance and desire of our hour’s investment. If we were planning a wonderful day trip to Disneyland, set aside money and time to be with friends and family, the interruption of red traffic signals might cause us to conclude an impish conspiracy is working against us thus developing the feeling of anger at every stop. However, the interruption of a traffic accident would produce an entirely different and deeper emotion within. And while the two imps are battling for supremacy, we prioritize the interruption of the red traffic signal to be less significant than the interruption of a car accident—the urchin of the red lights wins.

I was recently reading about interruptions to Jesus’ schedule and plans. I was amazed at how He handled these waifs. Luke 8 tells the story of the Savior’s desire to carry the message of salvation to the people of the Gerasene countryside. He had barely arrived when a man tormented by demons interrupted His journey. Naturally, Jesus healed the man where He stood. But with that healing came a major interruption to the Lord’s plans. Fear gripped the Gerasenes, they asked Him to leave and Jesus had to abort His mission. What did Jesus do? Call down fire from heaven upon them? No, He calmly got back into the boat and returned to Capernaum—plans interrupted! Again, as soon as He arrives at home a disparate father, whose daughter is close to death, pleads with Him to come and heal. Immediately, without hesitation Jesus develops a new plan and ventures to help. Along the way a woman with a chronic illness reaches out, touches Him and causes another interruption. She has waylaid His plans just long enough for death to overtaken the little girl of His mission. Unfazed, Jesus takes care of both needs, one-at-a-time. Does the Savior worry about interruptions? It’s as if He sees them all as part of a bigger plan and He adjusts as they come—it’s all part of the Father’s will!

Maybe that’s the heart of the Psalmist when he writes, “Hour by hour I place my days in your hand…” Just perhaps that’s what the heart of Jesus is like. I don’t always have control of my program and arrangements! But if I place my time in His hands hour by hour, and leave them there, maybe a few of the emotions and feelings that attempt to own me will not find any footing in my soul. Every hour is done in His will when committing every moment to Him. Every second is dedicated to His pleasure. So now I find that interrupting disappointments are His appointments for my life.

J Robert Hanson


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(Comment: Please read Part I below before Part II)

“And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.”

The Substance of Jehovah

What’s in the name of Jehovah? The most noted Jewish commentator of the Middle Ages, Moses Maimonides, said in regards to the name Jehovah: “All the names of God which occur in Scripture are derived from His works except one, and that is Jehovah; and this is called the plain name, because it teaches plainly and unequivocally of the substance of God.” How does the name Jehovah teach us “the substance of God?” Adam Clarke noted that The Targum of Jonathan, and the Jerusalem Targum paraphrase the words “I Am That I Am” as, “He who spoke, and the world was; who spoke, and all things existed.” G. Campbell Morgan wrote, “The name was explained as revealing the fact of God’s ability to become to His people whatever their need demanded.” This connects with Nathan Stone’s observations in his book, “The Names of God.” He points out that the English words “I Am That I Am” in the Hebrew literally means, “I will be what I will be” and often the words can be used in the sense, “I will be with thee.[1]”

The verse, Exodus 3:14, is the first time in history we read of God revealing by Himself the true nature and significance of the name Jehovah. And though Jehovah is used before Exodus 3 on many occasions, the essence of it’s meaning was never revealed until here in verse 14 to Moses. In this passage we discover the whole revelation of His redeeming mercies as the Self-Existent One. We are revealed who Jehovah is and what that name is all about! He is the ever-living Jehovah—“I Will Be What I Will Be.” No one else will name Him, or title Him, or give Him some finite definition. He alone will define who He is by Himself using the name that He alone gives. People can try to rename Him, or give Him another name, but it’s Jehovah that names Himself Jehovah. And the definition of Jehovah, in the simplest of forms, is that He is the “Being beyond description.” That’s why Maimonides writes the name “Jehovah reveals the substance of God!” In context, the whole purpose of Exodus 3:14 is for the redemption and salvation of God’s people. When Jehovah reveals Himself declaring, “I will be what I will be,” He is saying I the self-existing One who becomes whatever is necessary to redeem My people.

Think about it, the Creator-God, Elohim; and Master-God, Adonai, is the Redeemer and Savior-God, Jehovah! The truth is in the decree, “I will become whatever necessary to redeem My people.” If Israel needed an army, He became a warrior and triumphed gloriously. If the Hebrews needed a shepherd to guide them, He became pillar by day and fire by night. If the children of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob needed comfort, He became a father to His people with everlasting arms—the list goes on-and-on. And what does the “I Am That I Am” mean to mankind? He will become whatever people need for redemption and salvation! In doing so He became flesh and took the name Jesus to be the Savior of humanity—Jehovah-Jesus!

So that the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit is Jehovah God the redeemer—three distinct persons in One Redeemer God! To be clear, Jesus is not the Father; He’s Jehovah God just like the Father and the Spirit are—all one God! That’s why Jesus is Jehovah—I will become what my people need. “I Am That I Am” means He needed to become flesh for redemption and salvation. So, Exodus 3:14 has a very practical meaning for us today. This is the essence, the substance of His name and who Jehovah–Jesus is—Emmanuel, Jehovah with us!

J. Robert Hanson

[1] Nathan Stone, The Name of God, Copyright, 1944, by The Moody Bible Institute Of Chicago.

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“And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.”

The History of Jehovah

One of the most difficult things to understanding is the relationship between Exodus 3:14, “I Am That I Am” and the name “Jehovah.” The amount of information available on this subject can be both mountainous and confusing at the same time. If you’re reading from an English translated Bible, you notice the word Jehovah is not used in this verse. And yet every bible scholar worth his salt will tell you “I Am That I Am” is all about God’s name and who He is. How does this weighty phrase mean Jehovah? Let’s see if we can figure out the mystery!

When God commissioned Moses to be Israel’s liberator from Egypt, Moses asked God for His name in order to validate his message to the children of Israel. Moses asked, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” That’s a fair question from a man who had already experienced rejection by the Israelites as a prince of Egypt. Answering, the Lord identifies himself to Moses as, “I Am That I Am” and tells him to say to the Israelites “I Am” hath sent you. From the anglicized Hebrew language it transliterates, “Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh. Let me give you a couple boring technicalities. The Hebrew verb “Ehyeh” is the imperfect first person tense of the Hebrew word “hayah.” Imperfect tense means the verb in that phrase includes all of time—past, present, and future! Hayah’s Hebrew meaning is to exist, to be, become, or self-existence. In fact, Strong’s concordance makes the jump of using the root word Hayah in Exodus 3:14 instead of Ehyeh. However, most scholars seem to indicate Ehyeh is the proper word to use as the context is in first person. And since Ehyeh is the imperfect first person tense, the reading can be paraphrased as, “I am the one who is self-existence in past, present and future.”

In the Old Testament, there is also an imperfect third person singular of the Hebrew word Hayah, it’s the word “Yahweh.” It means, “He is, “He exists,” or, “He is self-existence.” When a man writes God’s name in the Old Testament he uses the third person singular—Yahweh or, He is! And just to confuse things more, the Hebrew writers never pronounced or wrote God’s name in the Old Testament, as it was holy. Instead, when they scribed God’s name they took out all the vowels and presented only four Hebrew letters as the name’s designation: YHWH. Together we discover both Ehyeh and Yahweh are variations of the same Hebrew word, Hayah, to exist or self-existence. The only difference is whether we read it in first person or third person! In summation: when God identifies Himself in Exodus 3:14, He does so with Ehyeh, I am. When the Old Testament writers present the name of God they did so as YHWH, or He is.

Later on the large majority of Jews would substitute YHWH with the Hebrew word, “Adonai.” In simplest terms this word means Master. It was substituted as the Hebrews refused to use the personal name YHWH for God! In fact, at one point in history there was great concern that the pronunciation of God’s name would be forever lost as the utterance of the name was forbidden. So in the Middle Ages some scholars had the bright idea of inserting the vowels from Adonai and Elohim into YHWH producing YeHoWaH! Overtime the Hebrew “Y” became the Latin “I” in transliteration. In the 1200’s the letter “J” was added into the Latin language in many cases replacing the “I.” From that “J” eventually took on the English pronunciation of our “J” sound bringing us to Jehovah. So eventually Jehovah became an anglicized misrepresentation of YHWH, the personal name of God. And that my friends is a simplified history of how we go from Exodus 3:14 to Jehovah!

J. Robert Hanson

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