Knowing YHVH

Written by Schalk_and_Elsa on. Posted in Prayer, restoration

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walking

An artist is known by his work. If you were to show a person interested in art a certain masterpiece, he will know who the artist is. YHVH is the greatest Artist ever. His art is visible all around us, in every living being and creature, in nature, in the setting of the sun. YHVH can reveal Himself in this way to us for He is the Creator of all.

YHVH reveals Himself through creation

Genesis 1:1
1 In the beginning Elohim created the heavens and the earth.

When we read through Genesis 1 and 2, we read how Elohim created everything. There was no explosion and nothing evolved from nothing. He created everything. I know this is general knowledge to most believers, but have you really contemplated this? A Being able to create the most intricate detail by speaking it forth. The design of what was created is astonishing and cannot be replicated. That is our Elohim, our Heavenly Father and creation is one way of Him to reveal Himself to us.

Romans 1:20
20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.

YHVH reveals Himself to us, because He wants us to know Him, to have a relationship with Him. We were created for that purpose. After YHVH created the man and woman, He walked and talked with them every evening in the garden.

This ties up with what Paul said in 1 Corinthians:

1 Corinthians 10:31
31 Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of Elohim.

The word “glory” in Greek is “doxa” which means opinion, reputation, or estimation.

III. the opinion which others have of one, estimation, repute, πρὸς ἁπάντων ἀνθρώπων αἰεὶ δόξαν ἔχειν ἀγαθήν Sol.13.4, 34; δ. ἐπʼ ἀμφότερα φέρεσθαι Th.2.11.2

An opinion is formed based on knowledge, reputation is built on knowledge and so is estimation. If we don’t know YHVH, we cannot glorify Him. This knowledge of YHVH comes through Him revealing Himself to us. YHVH reveals Himself to us in four ways: through creation, through His written word, through obedience to His word and through our relationship with Him. To really know YHVH is through a personal relationship with Him and through obedience to His instructions. This is how we experience YHVH.

YHVH reveals Himself in relationship and through our obedience

Through a personal relationship and obedience to YHVH’s instructions, we experience who YHVH is. Through every answered and even unanswered prayer, we learn more about Him. Sometimes YHVH doesn’t answer our prayers and much later we understand that not answering that specific prayer was best for us. We are to pray to Him to do according to His will, for that is best for us. Through obeying His instructions, we experience how He wants us to live and worship Him.

Y’shua prayed to YHVH that we may know Him.

John 17:3
3 “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true Elohim, and Y’shua Messiah whom You have sent.

The Greek English Lexicon of the New Testament explains the word “know” as follows:

27.18 γινώσκωc: to learn to know a person through direct personal experience, implying a continuity of relationship—‘to know, to become acquainted with, to be familiar with.’ καὶ ἐν τούτῳ γινώσκομεν ὅτι ἐγνώκαμεν αὐτόν ‘then we are sure that we know him’ 1 Jn 2:3; ἵνα γινώσκωσιν σὲ τὸν μόνον ἀληθινὸν θεόν ‘for people to know you, the only true God’ Jn 17:3. In translating γινώσκω in Jn 17:3, it is important to avoid an expression which will mean merely ‘to learn about.’ Here the emphasis must be on the interpersonal relationship which is experienced.3

John Walvoord explains this verse beautifully:

17:3. Eternal life, as defined here by Y’shua, involves the experience of knowing the only true God through His Son (cf. Matt. 11:27). It is a personal relationship of intimacy which is continuous and dynamic. The word know (ginōskōsin) here in the present tense, is often used in the Septuagint and sometimes in the Greek New Testament to describe the intimacy of a sexual relationship (e.g., Gen 4:1, “lay”; Matt. 1:25, “had … union”). Thus a person who knows God has an intimate personal relationship with Him. And that relationship is eternal, not temporal. Eternal life is not simply endless existence. Everyone will exist somewhere forever (cf. Matt. 25:46), but the question is, In what condition or in what relationship will they spend eternity?4

Eternal life is the continuation of the relationship we have with the Father now, here. We are, for this reason and many others, to work on this relationship. Relationship and obedience is key in getting to know YHVH and knowing YHVH. This is confirmed by Y’shua’s words from Matthew 7:23:

Matthew 7:23
23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’

He said: I never knew you and added that they practiced lawlessness.

To know YHVH through obedience and relationship is our personal journey. A journey of faith, prayer and the study of His word. When we study His word, this is to be our focus, to know Him and His will for our lives; not about gaining knowledge about Him.

Scripture is a great source for us in getting to know YHVH. He reveals His character to us through His word. In Scripture, YHVH refers to Himself in different ways, each one revealing more about Him. In this study, we will look at these names and titles.

YHVH reveals Himself through His word

In Scripture, names are significant. A name revealed something about a person’s character. YHVH refers to Himself by different names in scripture. Each of these names reveals some aspect of His character to us.

Elohim

In Genesis 1:1, YHVH is referred to as Elohim

466 אֱלֹהִים (ʾělō·hîm): n.masc.; ≡ Str 430; TWOT 93c

1. LN 12.22 God, i.e., the true God, note: though the form is a grammatical plural, the meaning is singular and many sources think implies a majesty or stateliness (Ge 1:1);

“Elohim” when referring to YHVH also means Mighty one, Great one or Majestic one. The word “elohim” can also refer to rulers or other gods.5

I AM WHO I AM

When Moses asked YHVH who he should say is sending him, YHVH told him “I am who I am” sent him:

Exodus 3:14
14 Elohim said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ ”

181 אֶהְיֶה (ʾěh·yě(h)): n.pr.; ≡ Str 1961; TWOT 491—LN 12.1–12.42 אֶהְיֶה אֲשֶׁר אֶהְיֶה (ʾěh·yě(h) ʾǎšěr ʾěh·yě(h)) I AM WHO I AM, i.e., a title of God with a focus on presence, care, concern, and relationship (Ex 3:14), note: God also speaks “I will be,” in the following verses (Ge 26:3; 31:3; Ex 3:12; 4:12, 15; Dt 31:23; 1Ch 17:13; Jer 31:1; Zec 2:9[EB 5])5

“I am who I am” defines YHVH’s existence, He has been from the beginning, still is and always will be.

YHVH

YHVH further identifies Himself as YHVH, the Elohim of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. In referring to Himself like this, He reveals His sure existence and that He is a covenant keeping Elohim.

Exodus 3:15
15 Elohim, furthermore, said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘YHVH , the Elohim of your fathers, the Elohim of Abraham, the Elohim of Isaac, and the Elohim of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is My name forever, and this is My memorial-name to all generations.

3378 יהוה (yhwh): n.pr.; ≡ Str 3068, 3069, 3070, 3071, 3072, 3073, 3074; TWOT 484a—LN 12.9 (true God)

(NJB) Yahweh: Jehovah, the LORD as an euphemism for Adonai, most versions the name of the one true God, with a focus on sure existence and His relationship to his covenant persons and peoples (Ex 3:15), see also 33635

El Elyon, the Most High

In Genesis 14:20, YHVH is referred to as El Elyon, Elohim Most High, the Most Supreme. Here, Melchizedek, king of Salem and Abraham refers to YHVH as El Elyon. In Numbers 24:16 Balaam refers to YHVH by this name.

Genesis 14:20
20 And blessed be El Elyon, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.” He gave him a tenth of all.

6610 II. עֶלְיוֹן (ʿěl·yôn): n.masc.; ≡ Str 5945; TWOT 1624g—LN 12.1–12.42

(as a title) the Most High, i.e., a title for the true God with a focus on him being supreme, and shows high status (Ge 14:18, 19, 20, 22; Nu 24:16; Dt 32:8; 2Sa 22:14; Ps 7:18[EB 17]; 9:3[EB 2]; 18:14[EB 13]; 21:8[EB 7]; 46:5[EB 4]; 47:3[EB 2]; 50:14; 57:3[EB 2]; 73:11; 77:11[EB 10]; 78:17, 35, 56; 82:6; 83:19[EB 18]; 87:5; 91:1, 9; 92:2[EB 1]; 97:9; 107:11; Isa 14:14; La 3:35, 38+), see also 66115

Also, when it is written how YHVH separated the nations, in Deut 32:8, YHVH is referred to as El Elyon.

Deuteronomy 32:8
8 “When the Most High gave the nations their inheritance, When He separated the sons of man, He set the boundaries of the peoples According to the number of the sons of Israel.

In many Psalms, when YHVH’s praises are sung, He is referred to as El Elyon.

Psalm 7:17
17 I will give thanks to YHVH according to His righteousness And will sing praise to the name of YHVH Most High (El Elyon).

When it was written about the fall of satan, it is written that he said:

Isaiah 14:14
14 ‘I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’

YHVH’s supremacy was coveted by satan. He wanted to be like the Most High. He wanted the power, he wanted to be the Supreme one. YHVH is also referred to as El Roi.

El Roi, an Elohim Who sees

After Hagar conceived, she was treated harshly by Sarai and fled into the wilderness. By a spring of water, she was found by the Angel of YHVH and He spoke to her. He told her to return and gave her a prophecy regarding her son who was to be born.

Genesis 16:13
13 Then she called the name of YHVH who spoke to her, “You are El Roi”; for she said, “Have I even remained alive here after seeing Him?”

The Hebrew word “roi” is an interesting word:

8024 רֳאִי (rǒʾî): n.[masc.]; ≡ Str 7210; TWOT 2095f

1. LN 35.36–35.46 seeing, i.e., the act. of watching over another and so take care of someone (Ge 16:13+);

2. LN 58.14–58.18 appearance, i.e., the visual form which is seen (1Sa 16:12+);

3. LN 25.189–25.202 spectacle, exhibition, formally, seeing, i.e., an object of curiosity or contempt (Na 3:6+), note: see also domain LN 24.15;

4. LN 13.69–13.103 unit: מִן רֳאִי (min rǒʾî) disappears, formally, from appearance, i.e., a state in which a physical object ceases to exist (Job 33:21+), note: in context this disappearance is relatively slow5

It means to watch over in the sense of taking care of, appearance or visual form and to disappear. YHVH is an Elohim Who watches over us, takes care of us and reveals Himself to us. He sees all and makes Himself known to His servants. Isaiah 66:14 and Amos 3:7 confirms this.

Isaiah 66:14
14 Then you will see this, and your heart will be glad, And your bones will flourish like the new grass; And the hand of YHVH will be made known to His servants, But He will be indignant toward His enemies.

Amos 3:7
7 Surely YHVH Elohim does nothing Unless He reveals His secret counsel To His servants the prophets.

YHVH can also be hidden from us, for example, when we sin.

Isaiah 45:15
15 Truly, You are an Elohim who hides Himself, O Elohim of Israel, Savior!

Isaiah 1:15
15 “So when you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide My eyes from you; Yes, even though you multiply prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are covered with blood.

Isaiah 57:17
17 “Because of the iniquity of his unjust gain I was angry and struck him; I hid My face and was angry, And he went on turning away, in the way of his heart.

Whether YHVH reveals Himself to us or hides Himself from us depends on the state of our heart. Isaiah shows great insight into who YHVH really is. He has a deep understanding of YHVH’s heart as a result of the prophecies YHVH gave through him. When we read through the book of Isaiah, we learn much about YHVH. YHVH also calls Himself El Saddai.

El Saddai, the Almighty

In Genesis 17:1, YHVH speaks to Abram and calls Himself El Saddai and declares His promises of blessing to Abraham if he walks according to YHVH’s ways.

Genesis 17:1
1 Now when Abram was ninety-nine years old, YHVH appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am El Saddai; Walk before Me, and be blameless.

8724 שַׁדַּי (šǎd·dǎy): n.pr. [oth n.masc.]; ≡ Str 7706; TWOT 2333

1. LN 12.1–12.42

(title) the Almighty, i.e., a title for the true God, often with a focus on the power to complete promises of blessing and prosperity (Ge 49:25; Nu 24:4, 16; Ru 1:20, 21; Job 5:17; 6:4, 14; 8:3, 5; 11:7; 13:3; 15:25; 21:15, 20; 22:3, 17, 23, 25, 26; 23:16; 24:1; 27:2, 10, 11, 13; 29:5; 31:2, 35; 32:8; 33:4; 34:10, 12; 35:13; 37:23; 40:2; Ps 68:15[EB 14]; 91:1; Isa 13:6; Eze 1:24; Joel 1:15+);

2. LN 12.1–12.42 unit: אֵל שַׁדַּי (ʾēl šǎd·dǎy) God Almighty, i.e., a title for the one true God (Ge 17:1; 28:3; 35:11; 43:14; 48:3; Ex 6:3; Eze 10:5+)5

Genesis 49:25
25 From the Elohim of your father who helps you, And by the Almighty who blesses you With blessings of heaven above, Blessings of the deep that lies beneath, Blessings of the breasts and of the womb.

When Isaac blessed Jacob, he referred to YHVH as El Saddai.

Genesis 28:3–4
3 “May Elohim Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and multiply you, that you may become a company of peoples. 4 “May He also give you the blessing of Abraham, to you and to your descendants with you, that you may possess the land of your sojournings, which Elohim gave to Abraham.”

YHVH confirms this blessing to Jacob as follows:

Genesis 35:11
11 Elohim also said to him, “I am El Sadday; Be fruitful and multiply; A nation and a company of nations shall come from you, And kings shall come forth from you.

YHVH is an Elohim who blesses and keeps His promises. He will not break a covenant He has made. He is also called El Olam.

El Olam, Everlasting Elohim

YHVH is eternal, from the beginning He was, and He will always be. He is El Olam, the Everlasting Elohim.

Genesis 21:33
33 Abraham planted a tamarisk tree at Beersheba, and there he called on the name of YHVH, El Olam (the Everlasting Elohim.)

He is the Creator of all and He does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable.

Isaiah 40:28
28 Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting Elohim, YHVH, the Creator of the ends of the earth Does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable.

Psalm 90:2
2 Before the mountains were born Or You gave birth to the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are Elohim.

Exodus 15:18
18 “YHVH shall reign forever and ever.”

YHVH sent His Son Y’shua to take our sins upon Himself and He took our punishment. He died in our place and so gives us eternal life if we believe. This was prophesied in Isaiah. His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty Elohim, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. Y’shua is YHVH in the flesh and His reign is eternal.

Isaiah 9:6–7
6 For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty Elohim, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. 7 There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore. The zeal of YHVH of hosts will accomplish this.

Not only is YHVH eternal, He is also unchanging

YHVH is unchanging

Psalm 102:26–27
26 “Even they will perish, but You endure; And all of them will wear out like a garment; Like clothing You will change them and they will be changed. 27 “But You are the same, And Your years will not come to an end.

Malachi 3:6
6 “For I, YHVH, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed.

Hebrews 13:8
8 Y’shua Messiah is the same yesterday and today and forever.

YHVH does not change. He is the same and His instructions remain the same. Y’shua’s coming, death and resurrection did not change this. Y’shua came as our perfect example to show us how to live according to YHVH’s instructions. He came to teach proper obedience. Matt 5:17-19 confirms this.

Matthew 5:17–19
17 “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. 18 “For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 “Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

YHVH also reveals Himself through titles connected to His name.

Titles of YHVH

YHVH Jireh, YHVH will provide

YHVH has provided a ram in place of Isaac. Abraham proved his faithfulness to YHVH by being willing to offer his son.

Genesis 22:14
14 Abraham called the name of that place YHVH Will Provide, as it is said to this day, “In the mount of YHVH it will be provided.”

YHVH will in the same way provide for us if we are faithful to Him.

YHVH Nissi, YHVH is my banner

Exodus 17:15
15 Moses built an altar and named it YHVH is My Banner;

Moses built this altar after their victory against Amalek. This is where Moses raised his staff above his head. When he did, Israel had victory, when he got tired of raising the staff, the enemy gained victory. The staff symbolized Israel’s total dependence on the power of YHVH.

Moses called on Joshua, who is mentioned here for the first time. Though Joshua entered into battle with zeal, the victory was secured in a unique fashion in order to demonstrate God’s power. Moses’ holding the staff of God (cf. Ex. 4:20) above his head with both hands symbolized Israel’s total dependence on the power of God. When Moses lowered his hands, a picture of lack of dependence, the enemy was winning.6

A banner is an ensign, standard or flag.

5812 נֵס (nēs): n.[masc.]; ≡ Str 3071, 5251; TWOT 1379a

1. LN 6.54–6.67 banner, standard, flag, i.e., an ornamental piece of cloth on the end of a staff or pole as a leader’s signal for it’ followers (Ps 60:6[EB 4]), see also domain LN 33.476–33.489;

2. LN 6.215–6.225 signal pole, i.e., a wood pole tall enough to be prominently seen when raised (Nu 21:8);

3. LN 33.476–33.489 signal, i.e., that which is a non-verbal communication (Nu 26:10; Jer 4:6);

4. LN 6.41–6.51 sail, i.e., a piece of cloth used for the wind to drive a boat (Isa 33:23);

5. LN 93-place unit: יהוה נֵס ־ִי (yhwh) the LORD is my Banner, i.e., the name of an altar as an n.pr.loc. (Ex 17:15)5

Each tribe had its own banner at their camp.

Numbers 2:2
2 “The sons of Israel shall camp, each by his own standard, with the banners of their fathers’ households; they shall camp around the tent of meeting at a distance.

Psalm 60:4
4 You have given a banner to those who fear You, That it may be displayed because of the truth. Selah.

Psalm 20:5
5 We will sing for joy over your victory, And in the name of our Elohim we will set up our banners. May YHVH fulfill all your petitions.

If YHVH is our banner it means He is our rallying point and our means of victory; the one who fights for His people.7

YHVH Shalom, YHVH is peace

In Judges, Gideon built an altar after the Angel of YHVH appeared to him calling him to deliver Israel. He was afraid and asked for a sign. The Angel of YHVH touched the meat and unleavened bread and fire sprung from the rock and consumed it. This convinced Gideon that He had indeed seen the Angel of YHVH face to face. Then YHVH said to him:

Judges 6:23–24
23 YHVH said to him, “Peace to you, do not fear; you shall not die.” 24 Then Gideon built an altar there to YHVH and named it YHVH is Peace. To this day it is still in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.

The word “shalom” in Hebrew has a range of meanings:

8934 שָׁלוֹם (šā·lôm): n.masc.; ≡ Str 3073, 7965; TWOT 2401a

1. LN 22.42–22.47 peace, prosperity, i.e., an intact state of favorable circumstance (1Sa 1:17);

2. LN 59.23–59.34 completeness, i.e., the state of a totality of a collection (Jer 13:19);

3. LN 21.9–21.13 safeness, salvation, i.e., a state of being free from danger (Ge 28:21);

4. LN 23.129–23.141 health, i.e., a state of lack of disease and a wholeness or well-being (Ps 38:4[EB 3]);

5. LN 25.80–25.84 satisfaction, contentment, i.e., the state of having one’s basic needs or more being met and so being content (Ex 18:23);

6. LN 34.1–34.21 friend, companion, i.e., one who has an association with another with affection or regard (Jer 20:10);

7. LN 88.66–88.74 blessing, i.e., the content of the act. of giving kindness to another (Jer 16:5);

8. LN 12.1–12.42 unit: יהוה שָׁלוֹם (yhwh) Yahweh is Peace, i.e., the name of an altar (Jdg 6:24);

9. LN 12.1–12.42 unit: שַׂר שָׁלוֹם (śǎr šā·lôm) Prince of Peace, i.e., the name of messiah (Isa 9:5[EB 6]), note: for NIV text in Ps 69:23[EB 22], see 89365

Y’shua the Prince of Peace

Isaiah 9:6
6 For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty Elohim, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.

In YHVH, we find peace, wholeness, safety, salvation, healing, completeness, contentment, blessing, and friendship. All we are to do is to submit to Him daily and live a sanctified life.

YHVH Sabbaoth, YHVH of Hosts

1 Samuel 1:3
3 Now this man would go up from his city yearly to worship and to sacrifice to YHVH of hosts in Shiloh. And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were priests to YHVH there.

God is frequently called “the Lord God of hosts,” that is, of the celestial armies (Jer 5:14; 38:17; 44:7; Hos 12:5). The heavenly host includes angels or messengers who are associated with the Lord’s work in heaven and on earth. God presides over a heavenly council composed of angels or “sons of God” (Gn 1:26; 1 Kgs 22:19; Jb 1, 2; Ps 82; Is 6) whose messengers are sent from the Lord’s council to accomplish his purpose (Gn 28:12–15; Lk 2:13).

Though the hosts are sometimes understood as the stars or angels, the tribes of Israel are also called “the hosts of the Lord” (Ex 12:41). 8

1. Yahweh’s Military Retinue. ṣābāʾ is also used to designate the retinue of Yahweh, reflecting the Hebrew belief that Yahweh led the armies of Israel (Num 10:35–36; Deut 33:2–5, 26–29; Josh 5:13–15; Judg 5:23; Isa 13:1–5; Joel 4:11b—Eng 3:11b; Ps 68:8–13, 18—Eng 68:7–12, 17; etc.). This usage could be applied to the arena of human warfare (Exod 6:26; 7:4; 12:17, 41, 51). One of the clearest examples of this is found in David’s exchange with Goliath, where the young Israelite notes that he has come out to fight in the name of “Yahweh Ṣĕbāʾôt, the god of the battle lines of Israel (maʿarkôt yiśrāʾēl)” (1 Sam 17:45). Additionally, the association of Yahweh war with the ark (cf. especially 1 Sam 4:1–7:2) further exemplifies the conception of Yahweh’s involvement in military affairs. 10

YHVH is the commander of the host of heaven. He has myriads of angels He can dispatch at any time to do His bidding. He also has a heavenly council with the function to accomplish His purpose.

YHVH Maccaddeschem, YHVH your Sanctifier

YHVH calls Himself the One who sanctifies us.

Exodus 31:13
13 “But as for you, speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘You shall surely observe My sabbaths; for this is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the Lord who sanctifies you.

He refers to Himself by this title in the context of the Sabbath. How appropriate, for as we spend time with YHVH on the Sabbath and learn about Him, we are part of a sanctification process. We are taught by YHVH and as we obey, we become sanctified or set apart. This sanctification process is in His hands as He leads us, but we are to make the choice whether or not we will obey. YHVH remains our Sanctifier whether we obey or not, it is His title. A teacher remains a teacher whether the students learn or not.

To be sanctified is to be set apart for a special purpose. We are called to be lights and when we live set apart lives, we are a light to those around us.

YHVH Roi, YHVH my Shepherd

We have already looked at El Roi, the One who sees and can be hidden. YHVH Roi is obviously related to this. However, in Psalm 23:1, YHVH calls Himself YHVH Roi, translated as our shepherd. There is a slight difference in how the word was spelled. In ElRoi, it is spelled resh, aleph, yod. Here it is spelled resh, ayin, hey – pronounced “ra ah”. Both words are from the root roi. This slight change is significant for it refers to one who sees, watch over, but specifically in the role of shepherd.

Psalm 23:1
1 YHVH is my shepherd, I shall not want.

The Bible Knowledge Commentary explains it well:

23:1. The psalmist employed the figure of a shepherd to recall the blessings he enjoyed from the LORD (cf. God as Shepherd in 28:9; 80:1). The metaphor was a natural one for David, the shepherd-king. It was also a common metaphor in the ancient Near East, as many kings compared themselves to shepherds in their leadership capacity. The prophecy of the coming Messiah incorporated the same (Isa. 40:11), and Jesus identified Himself as that expected “Good Shepherd” (John 10:14). He is also called the “Great Shepherd” (Heb. 13:20) and “the Chief Shepherd” (1 Peter 5:4). Because the Lord was David’s Shepherd, his needs were met.

23:2a. The first blessing David experienced was spiritual nourishment. As a shepherd leads sheep to fresh grass for feeding, so the Lord leads His people. One who follows the Lord does not lack any spiritual nourishment. Under-shepherds (cf. Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 5:2) are expected to feed the flock (Ezek. 34:1–10; John 21:15–17) as well. Food for the soul is the Word of God (Heb. 5:12–14; 1 Peter 2:2).

23:2b–3a. A second blessing that comes from the Lord’s leading is spiritual restoration. As a shepherd leads his sheep to placid waters for rest and cleansing, so the Lord restores or refreshes the soul. Here the spiritual lesson is clear: the Lord provides forgiveness and peace for those who follow Him.

23:3b. The third blessing that comes from the Lord’s leading is guidance in the right way (paths of righteousness). A good shepherd knows the right paths on which to bring the sheep home safely. So too the Lord loses none of His sheep, but guides them in the right way. He does so partly because of His reputation (for His name’s sake).

23:4. The fourth blessing from the Lord’s leading is protection. If one finds himself in a valley of deep darkness (or shadow of death), he need not fear. The Lord is with him and will protect him. The rod and staff are the shepherd’s equipment to protect the sheep in such situations. David was comforted by the Lord’s presence and protection. Believers are never in situations the Lord is not aware of, for He never leaves or forsakes His people (cf. Heb. 13:5).9

A shepherd leads his flock and provides in all their needs. Y’shua was also identified as our Shepherd in Is 40:11 and identified Himself as the good shepherd.

John 10:11
11 “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.

So much is implied by this title. Spiritual guidance, spiritual restoration, guidance in righteousness and protection. When we continue reading in Psalm 23, we see YHVH also as Provider.

YHVH Tsidkenu, YHVH our righteousness

Jeremiah 23:6
6 “In His days Judah will be saved, And Israel will dwell securely; And this is His name by which He will be called, ‘YHVH our righteousness.’

The word righteousness, “sedeq” in Hebrew is defined as follows:

7406 צֶדֶק (ṣě·ḏěq): n.masc.; ≡ Str 6664; TWOT 1879a

1. LN 88.12–88.23 righteousness, justice, rightness, i.e., the act. of doing what is required according to a standard (Ps 7:9[EB 8]);

2. LN 88.39–88.45 honesty, fairness, accuracy, i.e., an act. which is proper according to a standard, and not deviant in any way (Lev 19:36);

3. LN 12.1–12.42 Righteousness, i.e., a title of the LORD (Jer 23:6; 33:16);

4. LN 56.20–56.34 justice, i.e., the act. of fairly deciding what is right in a legal case, without prejudice (Dt 16:20), note: further study may yield more domains5

YHVH is our righteousness, our justice. We do not have to seek justice for the wrongs done to us. We are to release it to YHVH. He will repay, He is our justice. When we forgive, we release it to YHVH.

2 Thessalonians 1:6
6 For after all it is only just for Elohim to repay with affliction those who afflict you,

Y’shua is the righteousness of Elohim and in Him we are righteous.

Romans 3:21–24
21 But now apart from the Law the righteousness of Elohim has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of Elohim through faith in Y’shua Messiah for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of Elohim, 24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Messiah Y’shua;

YHVH Shammah, YHVH is there

Ezekiel 48:35
35The city shall be 18,000 cubits round about; and the name of the city from that day shall be, ‘YHVH is there.’ ”

YHVH has promised through His prophets that He will come and dwell in our midst.

Isaiah 12:6
6 Cry aloud and shout for joy, O inhabitant of Zion, For great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.

Zechariah 2:10
10 “Sing for joy and be glad, O daughter of Zion; for behold I am coming and I will dwell in your midst,” declares YHVH.

Revelation 21:3
3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of Elohim is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and Elohim Himself will be among them,

Revelation 22:3
3 There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of Elohim and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him;

How glorious that would be. YHVH has given us a Helper to guide us in His ways until that time.

John 14:16–18
16 “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; 17 that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. 18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.

Y’shua did not leave us as orphans, we have the Spirit of YHVH in us, giving us guidance in all we are to do.

YHVH Elohim Israel

Judges 5:3
3 “Hear, O kings; give ear, O rulers! I—to YHVH, I will sing, I will sing praise to YHVH, the Elohim of Israel.

YHVH is the Elohim of Israel. Israel is His chosen people. He chose them from amongst the nations. He said He will be their Elohim and they will be His people. Through Y’shua, we too can be a part of Israel. We don not replace His people, but join them. If you want to know more about being part of Israel you can read the article: Who is Israel and why you would want to be a part of Israel

Last, but not least, YHVH is our Abba, our Father

Abba Father

YHVH is our Maker, but He is also our Father. YHVH being our Father is a concept throughout scripture.

Isaiah 63:16
16 For You are our Father, though Abraham does not know us And Israel does not recognize us. You, O YHVH, are our Father, Our Redeemer from of old is Your name.

Isaiah 64:8
8 But now, O YHVH, You are our Father, We are the clay, and You our potter; And all of us are the work of Your hand.

Malachi 2:10
10 “Do we not all have one father? Has not one Elohim created us? Why do we deal treacherously each against his brother so as to profane the covenant of our fathers?

Matthew 6:9
9 “Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.

1 Corinthians 8:6
6 yet for us there is but one Elohim, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Master, Y’shua Messiah, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him.

One of Y’shua’s prophesied titles is “Eternal Father”. This is not strange as Y’shua and YHVH are one.

Isaiah 9:6
6 For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty Elohim, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.

Conclusion

The purpose of this study is to give you a bit more insight as to who YHVH is from His word. He is our Creator, He is the Potter, we are the clay, He is our Heavenly Father. He provides for us what we need every day. He is sufficient for us.

Psalm 46:1
1 Elohim is our refuge and strength, a very sufficient help in troubles.

We can go to Him for help and trust that He will do for us what is best. He hears our prayers. He is also a just Elohim, who will avenge those who hurt us, but will also punish us when we continue in sin.

This is by no means an exhaustive study on who YHVH is, but we hope that it will stimulate you to read the word of YHVH with a fresh perspective. Seeking to know YHVH, our Elohim for the more we know Him, the more we will be able to put our trust in Him. The more we will be able to walk with Him.

Genesis 5:24
24 And Enoch walked with Elohim, and he was no more, for Elohim took him.

Enoch left behind a legacy, he was known as a man who walked with Elohim. He knew YHVH and walked with Him. He went in the same direction as YHVH. He didn’t know about YHVH, he knew Him intimately. Walking with YHVH implies intimacy and fellowship. Through Y’shua, the Living Word, we who were once separated from YHVH, can walk with Him. We can know Him.

References

  1. All quoted passages are from the New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update. LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995. We have substituted YHVH for LORD and Y’shua for Jesus
  2. Liddell, H. G., Scott, R., Jones, H. S., & McKenzie, R. (1996). A Greek-English lexicon (p. 444). Oxford: Clarendon Press.
  3. Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition., Vol. 1, p. 327). New York: United Bible Societies.
  4. Blum, E. A. (1985). John. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 331). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  5. Swanson, J. (1997). Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains : Hebrew (Old Testament) (electronic ed.). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
  6. Hannah, J. D. (1985). Exodus. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 1, p. 135). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  7. https://bible.org/article/names-god
  8. Elwell, W. A., & Beitzel, B. J. (1988). In Baker encyclopedia of the Bible (p. 1006). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.
  9. Ross, A. P. (1985). Psalms. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 1, pp. 811–812). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  10. Mullen, E. T., Jr. (1992). Hosts, Host of Heaven. In D. N. Freedman (Ed.), The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary (Vol. 3, p. 302). New York: Doubleday.
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