Jehovah Shammah – The LORD is There

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

We find the use of this name for God “Jehovah Shammah only once in the Old Testament Scriptures and that is in Ezekiel 48:35. When we look at the meaning of Jehovah we see that it means “The Existing One or eternal one.” The word Jehovah comes from the word Havah and carries the meaning “to be’ or to “exist.” The word also suggest “to become” or to “become known.” The thought then becomes that God is the eternal existing one who is always revealing Himself. With that said, we as man and of His creation living in His world have no excuse for not recognizing God. “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.” (Romans 1:20) Shammah comes from the Hebrew word sham and translates as “there.” Which means the existing One is there. God is always there, wherever, and there is nowhere that God is not. God is ever present throughout His creation. “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.” (Psalm 139:7-8)

Commentary tells us that the name Jehovah Shammah is a symbolic name for the earthly city of Jerusalem. A name meaning that God has not abandoned the Holy City of Jerusalem but will one day will restore Jerusalem as His Holy City on earth. “Thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘If it is too difficult in the sight of the remnant of this people in those days, will it also be too difficult in My sight?’ declares the LORD of hosts. “Thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘Behold, I am going to save My people from the land of the east and from the land of the west; and I will bring them back and they will live in the midst of Jerusalem; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God in truth and righteousness.” (Zechariah 8:6-8) At the end of the age God will literally dwell amongst His people. “And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them.” (Revelation 21:3)

This name of God has a great importance concerning the promise that God had given to His people the Israelite nation. When the Lord God had brought His people out of bandage from the Egyptians He had promised them that He would be with them and go before them and lead them unto the Promised Land. “Behold, I am going to send an angel before you to guard you along the way and to bring you into the place which I have prepared.” (Exodus 23:20)

Even as the Israelite nation was not always obedient unto God, often breaking their covenant with Him, God was always faithful and true to them. The Lord God partnered with His people and shared in their afflictions and was always mindful of them. “In all their affliction He was afflicted, And the angel of His presence saved them; In His love and in His mercy He redeemed them, And He lifted them and carried them all the days of old.” (Isaiah 63:9)

God had a unique relationship with His people which was different from the relationships of the gods of other people in the world, and this remains true to this day. This is what separates God from the false gods of the world, this is what separates our God from the god of this world, the Prince of the Air, and the many man made gods of present day civilization. The false gods that men of the world worship and serve are ruthless, cruel, and eventually will lead to destruction. But the one and true God is a God of Love. “We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” (1 John 4:16)

God was faithful to the covenant that He made with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Though His people often forsook Him God never varied from His promise to the children of Abraham. “You will live in the land that I gave to your forefathers; so you will be My people, and I will be your God.” (Ezekiel 36:28)

Now the world has moved from the Old Testament, the Old Covenant, days unto the New Testament times of the New Covenant. We have moved from the old way of animal sacrifice to atone for our sins to the Church age where we have a Savior that was our sacrifice that we would not have to pay the debt of our sinful ways. We no longer have to seek out a priest to intercede for us between before God but have an advocate, a High Priest in Jesus Christ that we can pray through to God the Father. This is the fulfillment that we receive through Jesus, that He paid the debt of our sin, that through His righteous life He was worthy as the perfect sacrifice for our sin, that He paid that price by His death on the cross and has the authority to forgive us of our sin, and that because God raised Him from the grave He defeated death and gives us eternal life in His Kingdom. Jesus is the fulfillment of our Hope which is to come.

In the Old Testament we see a shadow of things to come. Many of the prophecies of the Old Testament prophets were limited to Old Testament use but gave visions of the greater things to come. God’s special relationship with His people the Israelite nation was a foreshadowing of His special relationship with the redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ.

Where Jehovah Shammah was there with His people in Jerusalem in the Temple He is now with His people through our faith in His Son Jesus Christ. Through the gift of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, we have the promise of His continued presence wherever we are. We have His promise found in His Word, “Teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)

We are never out of the presence of our Lord for there is nowhere that He cannot be found. He is a friend closer than a brother and in the best of times and the worst He is always there, always present, and always willing and able to carry us through. “Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5)

We are always in His presence as He is always within us. We have this comfort that His Spirit will guide us to all truth and convict us that we may stay upon the narrow path that leads to the Kingdom of God. For He is ours and we are His and we dwell together. “Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16)

We have this promise of an everlasting future that has no end. We have this promise that there is a purpose for us to accomplish that will bring us joy in serving the Almighty God. And we have this promise that no matter how the world may abandon us there is a place for us in His Kingdom, the Kingdom of Heaven. “In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. “If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.” (John 14:2-3)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, March 16, 2016)

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