Sunday, December 15, 2019



Jehovah Rapha - The Lord is who heals you

     When we think of healing we usually think of doctors, hospitals, medicines, or faith healers.  Physical healing.   But emotional and spiritual healing is far more important.  Emotional hurt runs deep and leaves scars that we can't see but we can feel.  If you could run your fingers over the face of your soul you would probably feel a maze of ridges and furrows from painful scars left by cruel remarks from playmates … rejection from a friend … embarrassing moments … painful loss … broken dreams … valleys of despair … Hurt that no medicine can touch.

     The children of Israel lived 400 years in bondage.   They witnessed miraculous deliverance against tremendous odds.   They saw first hand some of God's flashiest work as plague after plague decimated their taskmasters.

     The emotions must have run like an out of control roller coaster -- eager hopes one minute crushing despair the next.  Finally they marched triumphantly out of Egypt only to see the entire army mustered to recapture them!

     Once again God's mighty hand cleared a path where human logic said no path could be. Through watery walls held up by the force of God's breath they escaped once again and turned to see their King wipe all possible chance of capture into the depths of the sea. Freedom at last.   Still, the jagged scars on their souls ran deeper than the scars from the whips on their backs.   The constant despair of slavery had destroyed their confidence.   Despite their incredible deliverance by the Righteous Judge, any little sign of trouble and they panicked and fell back into the old habits of grumbling and complaining.

     Only a few days out from the Red Sea, they got thirsty.   The waters they came to at Meribah were bitter and undrinkable.   Instead of remembering all the Lord had done for them, they freaked out.   Their memory of the wonders they had seen evaporated.   They flunked the test.

     Moses cried out to the Lord and He patiently showed him a branch to throw into the water to make it sweet.

     For our banner we used a dogwood branch - not because that's what Moses used but because it represents the cross of Jesus Christ which is the only thing that can heal our hurts.   When we cast our hurts and pain at the foot of the Cross, the Lord Jesus can and will turn the bitter scars "sweet."   Only Jesus Christ can harness the evil of our sinful lives, and use it for our good and His glory.

     All He asks us to do is cry out to Him for help, confess our sin and our hurts, welcome His forgiveness and healing, and then thank and praise Him for His faithfulness, His grace and His healing.



JEHOVAH QANNA – The Lord is Jealous

     The first time this name is used in scripture is in Exodus 20 in the Ten Commandments.    “You shall have no other gods before Me.   You shall not make for yourself a carved image – any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them.   For I, the Lord your God am a jealous God.”

     After the children of Israel took possession of the Promised Land, they became complacent.   In fact, they didn’t fully take possession because they failed to drive everyone out that God had commanded them.  Instead they intermarried with them and fell into their practices of idolatry and a general falling away from the Lord their God.  They entered the time of the judges and as we get to the setting of the story pictured on the banner, the Bible explains the atmosphere in Judges 21:25.   “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”

     During this time, idolatry was being practiced in record numbers among the Israelites.   The priest, Eli who was in charge of the tabernacle was weak and his sons were corrupt.

     The main enemy of the Israelites was the Philistines.  This was one of the nations occupying the Promised Land that they had been instructed to drive out.   When they turned away from following the Lord God, they no longer had the Lord fighting for them and the Philistines didn’t budge.

     Instead of realizing their error and calling on the Lord they took matters into their own hands and decided if God wasn’t with them, they’d force Him along by carrying the ark of the Covenant into battle with them.

     The Philistines were terrified when they saw the ark in battle because they had heard all the stories of how God had fought for the children of Israel.   But they mustered their strength and fought all the harder and defeated the Israelites and captured the ark of the covenant.

     Dagon was the top dog of the Philistine gods.   He was half fish and half man and supposedly the father of Baal.   When the Philistines captured the ark they supposed that Dagon was really powerful and had helped them defeat the Lord God.   They took the ark and put it in the temple of Dagon as a sort of war trophy.

     Boy were they surprised the next morning when they came to their temple and found Dagon fallen on his face before the ark of God.   But, they supposed that he had just fallen and they had to pick him up.  But the next morning, they came in and once again Dagon was face down before the Lord God with his head and hands broken off which was a symbol of death and defeat.

     The Philistines learned quickly what the Israelites had forgotten – that the Lord God is God and there is no other.   He is a jealous God which means that He doesn’t share his throne with anyone.   He is Elohim, Creator God and He is El Elyon,  King of kings and Lord of Lords.   There is no other even remotely close to Him.   He alone has the right to be jealous because He alone is the supreme God of all.


JEHOVAH JIREH - the Lord will provide

     The first time this name of God is used is in Genesis when Abraham was about to offer his son, his only son Isaac up as an offering to the Lord as God had asked him to do.  God did this to test Abrahams faith and learn if he was truly ready to trust God and believe His promises.   Just as Abraham raised the knife to slay his son, The Lord called out to him to stop.   He then told Abraham that there was a ram caught in the bushes nearby that he could offer instead.  So Abraham named the place, Jehovah Jireh, The Lord will provide.

     This is not the story pictured on this banner.  I instead chose a the stories from the years the children of Israel spent in God’s desert classroom.  They had just witnessed more huge miracles than we can imagine… Egypt, the most powerful nation on the planet, totally destroyed through a series of 10 plagues.   Chased to the edge of the Red Sea by the Egyptian army, God miraculously opened the waters to reveal an underwater roadway He had placed there at the foundation of the world, for just this moment in time.  The Israelites escaped, the following Egyptians were flushed.

     The next miracle occurred thee days later when the bitter undrinkable waters at Merebah, were turned sweet.   Three days later they arrived at an oasis of 12 springs of water and 72 palm trees.   One spring for each tribe so no one had to share.

     They arrived at the foot of Jabel El Laws, Mt. Horeb, the real Mt. Sinai.   Here Gods presence descended to the mountain top in a fiery furnace of flames.   Here He gave Moses the 10 Commandments chiseled in stone.

     The people were thirsty and God provided a gushing fountain of water from a 50 foot rock.   The people were hungry and God provided manna, bread of heaven which sustained them for 40 years.   He provided meat in the form of quail.   He provided miracle after miracle – clothes that didn’t wear out,  feet that didn’t swell, a  leader who’s health did not wane with his age, a system of government, leaders, a system of worship and worship leaders.

     God provided for their every need.  He taught them, loved them, was patient with them.   And through them He taught us that He loves us and will provide for us in every way that is necessary.


EL ELYON - God Most High

      He is the great King above all else whose throne will stand firm forever and ever.   This picture is but a pale shadow of the awesome glory and brilliance of God’s real throne in heaven.   God is Spirit, we picture Him as light since “God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.”   (I Jn. 1:5)
This name of God was first revealed to Abram through Melchisedek, “a priest of the Most High God.”  Genesis 14:18-24.

     This name designates God as the Sovereign ruler; the King above all kings.   Nebuchadnezzer finally understood the full extent of this name when he praised El Elyon saying, “I thought it good to declare the signs and wonders that the Most High God has worked for me…His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and His dominion is from generation to generation.”   This Babylonian king, who was probably the highest on the planet in his day, learned the hard way that there was still a Great King high and above him and that “the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, gives it to whomever He will, and sets over it the lowest of men.”   (Dan. 4:2,3,17)     There is great comfort in this name of our God, particularly in light of war and political unrest.   There is no man, no ruler, no plan, and no terror, which could possibly unbalance our Most High God.    Nothing has Him upset, shocked or frustrated.     God Himself has said in Isaiah 14:24, 27, “Surely just as I have thought, so it shall come to pass, and as I have purposed, so shall it stand … For the Lord of hosts has purposed, and who will annul it?   His hand is stretched out, and who will turn it back?”

     Nothing in our lives or on this planet, no matter how great or how terrible, can happen without the express will and permission of the Sovereign High King, El Elyon.
 Why should we let worry consume us?   This same God, High King above all, loves us!   He created us for His will and purpose!   He laid aside the glories of heaven to take on flesh and walk among us, to live a perfect life and then lay it down on the cross so that we might one day join Him.
     We think it would be marvelous to have the attention of our president for a moment, yet because of Christ’s work on the cross, we have the undivided attention of God Most High!