“God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM.’ And He said, ‘u shall say to the children of Israel ‘I AM has sent me to you.” Moreover, God said to Moses, ‘Thus you shall say to the children of Israel: “The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you: This is My name forever, and this is my memorial to all generations.’” Exodus 3:14-15 (NKJV)
When the Israelite nation was delivered from slavery in Egypt, they did not know who the Lord was. Even Moses had to ask the angel of the LORD in the burning bush whom he should say sent him. The Lord answered Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” Over time, this living God revealed Himself to the Israelites by His character and actions every time they sought Him and needed a reminder and a rescue.
The attached list of the Hebrew names of God includes the scripture references where the stories behind the names are found. In each instance, God exhibited a part of His character when he fulfilled the Israelites’ needs. For instance, in Exodus 15:22-26 Moses had taken the congregation through the Red Sea but now they needed water to drink. The spring they found at Marah was bitter so the Lord instructed Moses to throw in a specific tree and the waters became drinkable. The Lord revealed Himself as Jehovah Rophe, the God who heals you.
The Lord has always wanted man to know Him and fellowship with Him like Adam and Eve did in the Garden before the sinful fall. He continued to teach mankind Who He is so He could provide the way back to Him. In Genesis 22 the Lord requested Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac, the son of the promise of a great nation to come from Abraham’s lineage. Abraham obeyed and set off to complete the task but as he arranged Isaac on the altar, a ram was found, bristling through a nearby thicket. Like a covenant partner, the Lord provided the sacrificial lamb, identifying Himself as Jehovah Jireh, the Lord our Provider. It is also a picture of the mission of Jesus Christ, as are many of the backstories behind God’s Hebrew names.
In the ancient world oral tradition was used to spread God’s message of love and protection. Stories and songs were passed from generation to generation that told of the Lord’s presence in troubling times and battles, his novel strategies to defeat the enemies of His chosen nation, and His loving miracles of provision. The names of God based on His character were shared verbally and recorded in scripture even for us to know Him more closely today. Do you know Jehovah Jireh, the Lord who heals you (Exodus 15:26)? Or the God Elroi, who is everywhere, all-knowing, and all-powerful (Genesis 16:13, Psalm 139:7-12)? Do you really understand that you have been pursued by your creator, the eternal God, Elohim (Genesis 2:3)? By just meditating on one name at a time and reading the relevant passages of scripture, you will become better acquainted with your “friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24 (NKJV) It will surprise you how much deeper your relationship with the Lord can become. See the following list and try it!
HEBREW NAMES OF GOD IN OLD TESTAMENT REFERENCES
Adonai Master or Lord (Malachi 1:6)
Elohim Eternal God (Genesis 2:3)
El Bethel God is my Sanctuary (Genesis 28:16-19, Genesis 35:7)
El Elyon Most High God, Strongest of the Strong, Omnipotent, All-Powerful God (Genesis 14:18-20)
El Olam Everlasting God (Psalm 90:1-2)
Elroi God who sees, Omniscient, All-knowing God (Genesis 16:13); Omnipresent, God is everywhere (Psalm 139:7-12)
El Shaddai All-sufficient, Almighty God (Genesis 17:1)
Immanuel God with us (Isaiah 7:14)
Jehovah Jirah Our Provider (Genesis 22:8, 14)
Jehovah M’Kaddesh Our Sanctification (Leviticus 20:8)
Jehovah Nissi Our Banner of Victory (Exodus 17:15)
Jehovah Rohi Our Good Shepherd (Psalm 23)
Jehovah Rophe Our Healer (Exodus 15:26)
Jehovah Sabaoth The Lord of Hosts (Isaiah 6:3)
Jehovah Shalom Our Peace (Judges 6:24)
Jehovah Shammah Ever-Present God who is there (Ezekial 48:35)
Jehovah Tsidkenu Our Righteousness (Jeremiah 23:6)
Yahweh “I AM” (Exodus 3:14)
[As adapted from The Bondage Breaker and Stomping Out The Darkness by Dr. Neil Anderson and Dr. Dave Park.]