Michael Youssef - Deepening Relationship
In the Word of God names represent a person, represents that person's mission, that person's future. And that is why when God changes the mission or the future mission of a person, he changes their name. Now, hopefully by now, some of you are asking the question, "Michael, what has this got to do with the praise filled life that you've been preaching about and we're continuing in this series"? Everything, everything. Why? Because the names of God are the composite of God's self-revelation. Because the names of God reveals to us his nature, his identity, his sovereignty, and yes, his will and purpose for us. If you truly want to know God, then you must know his names.
Please hear me right, the reason God reveals his names to us in the Scriptures, and there are a number of them, it is because he longs in his heart for us to be intimate with him. The reason God reveals his names to us is in evidence of the fact that he wants us to praise him more fully and more completely. The reason why God reveals his name to us is in evidence that he wants us to freely enter into a deep, not shallow, which you see all around us, but into a deep and abiding relationship with him.
The first name and the most used name in the Scripture of God is Yahweh. The second name that's revealed to us in the Scripture is Yahweh-Jireh. The third name that God reveals to us about himself, and that's Yahweh-Rapha. And the fourth name God reveals to us about himself is Yahweh-Nissi, God is my banner. Sounds strange, doesn't it? God is my flag, it's just basically, you know, if you're marching down behind your school flag or college flag, whatever it is: banner, that's his... he's the banner. We're marching under his banner, it's a wonderful name. Exodus 17, when the Amalekites, by the way, the word Amalekites itself means giants, these were big boys. I don't know, 9 feet tall, before they got into the Promised Land, when they got to the wilderness, the Amalekites said, we're gonna wipe the Israelites, we're gonna just wipe them out. Just think about this, now the prophets, no, the Messiah who was in the loins in some of them, would have been wiped out.
And so, at this point Moses said to Joshua, he said, "Joshua, I want you to take a group of fighting men". Now, remember, these are not really a huge army, it's just a group of fighting men, and he said, Joshua being the second in command, he's the successor of Moses, he said, "I want you to take a group of fighting men, go down to the battlefield, and you fight those Amalekites," and imagine the knees that were knocking. W-w-w-w-we're going where? Those guys, do you know, have you seen how tall they are? Did you see how big they are? And he said, "Yup, you go down and you fight them, but I want to give you reassurance that I am going to go up to the top of the mountain, and I'm going to hold my staff".
Beloved, this was not just any old staff. I'm not talking about this one, but the one that Moses had, that was the staff that God used to perform many miracles, it was the staff that was the symbol of prayer life. The staff was a symbol of intercession, this was the staff that was the symbol of Moses's special relationship with the Lord. This staff was a symbol of Moses's utter dependance on Yahweh, this staff was symbol of Moses's complete trust in the power and the might and the graciousness of Yahweh. And so, Moses goes up to the top of the mountain, he lift up the staff, in fact, he gets very tired, and his arms get shaky. Two people had to come and hold his arms, and the Israelites defeated the Amalekites.
So, in the aftermath of this great, supernatural, supernatural victory, this ragtag of an army who could not have beaten those big boys, this is supernatural victory. The Lord said to Moses, "Write this on a scroll as something to be remembered," I don't want you to forget this happened, but also, I don't want you to forget what I'm going to tell you, and that is, I am going to wipe them off from the face of the earth, and God did. And here Moses builds an altar to the Lord, and he calls it Yahweh-Nissi. Banner, flag, he is my banner, can you say Yahweh-Nissi? The Lord is my flag, he's my banner.
Now, beloved, hear me out, please. When you're fighting under Yahweh's flag, let me tell you on the authority of the Word of God, you are assured of victory. Listen, you and I know from practical, everyday life, we know that we honor and respect the American flag, and the reason we honor and respect the flag is because for those who have fought for that flag and died protecting that flag, because of the freedom that we have, we owe it to those who gave their life to defend the flag. The very prosperity we enjoy, and we might not have it for much longer, but at least we've got it now, the very prosperity we have is because people fought and died for that flag.
In the same way when we praise Yahweh-Nissi, we are waving, we are waving his flag. We are saying to the enemy of our soul, take this, Satan. We are waving, and we are marching under Yahweh's flag. I am under Yahweh's magnificent oversight, I am under Yahweh's control, and because Yahweh is Nissi and is my Nissi, Satan, you need to know that my victory is assured. Satan, you need to know that you cannot destroy me, and you cannot destroy God's purpose in my life until he says so. You haven't heard me say this, when people worried about me going here, or travelling, or whatever, then it comes, "Are you sure you're doing this"?
I say, listen, I am indestructible until God says so. Until he calls me home, I am indestructible, and so are you, so are you. Beloved, we need to fly the Lord's flag, we need to fly it in our lives, we need to fly it over our souls, we need to fly it over our families, we need to fly it over our homes, and we need to fly it over our marriages. We need to fly it over our church. And that is the secret of victory. I don't know, only you do, what giants you facing in your life. I don't know what giants that you facing right now, I don't know, I don't know, but you do. I don't know who you think out to destroy you, I don't know who's trying to destroy your marriage, or who's trying to destroy your family, or who's trying to destroy your business.
I don't know, but you do. I don't know who or what is terrifying you and causing you to live in fear and in terror and anxiety and worry, I don't know what past experience that is haunting you and that is pulling you back every time you wanna go forward, that past experience pulls you back, but whatever giant you are facing today, you can yell, praise Yahweh-Nissi. Praise who? He is bigger than any giant in your life, he's greater than any problem, he's mightier than any obstacle, he's higher than any mountain that you are facing. Say it with me, praise...
And the fifth one is Yahweh-Mekaddish. That's a Hebrew word which means to be set apart, be set apart. Dedicated for a cause, set aside, mekaddish is used of people when they're being set aside for a task, or sometimes actually used for utensils in the temple. When they put these utensils for holy use, for God's use in the temple, they're not allowed to be used for anything else, that word is used, mekaddish. This utensil's a mekaddish, these people are mekaddish, and it's translated, yes, in English, holy. Holy, I am told there are so many pastors and Bible teachers who do not want to use the word holy, they do not want to use the word holiness, because they say it actually causes an unreasonable restriction over their behavior.
How far we've come, how far we've come. Think about this, the word that means to be cleansed and set apart is now an offense. The Bible said, "Without holiness, no one can see God". Say that with me, "Without... no one can see God". Now, what does it mean? It means to be separated from sin, it means to be set aside or dedicated, listen to me. When we say God is holy, it means that he's totally separated from sin, that he is totally set aside from all impurities. It means, as he said and described himself in Leviticus chapter 20, and verse 7, "I am Yahweh-Mekaddish".
This is the way God describes himself, you can't improve on that. God's holiness also means that he's free to act in ways that we really may not make sense to us but make perfect sense to him. And you go to God, why are you doing this, why is this happening, God, "I got this". Not me, God is saying that, "I got it, it's under my control, don't panic". Listen to me, when we try to put God in a box, I want you to remember that it is Yahweh-Mekaddish, say it with me, Yahweh-Mekaddish. He is totally free to act graciously when we expect judgment, he is free to manifest himself differently from what we expected. But also, God sets himself apart for his church. This is the one thing that tears me up, I'm telling you, and I'm going to explain to you what I mean by this. Literally, the Bible said that Jesus set aside. John 17, the high priestly prayer, where Jesus praying not just for the disciples, but for those who are gonna come and believe through their message.
You see, God set himself apart for the believers, he set himself apart for their holiness, he set himself apart for their encouragement, he set himself apart for their empowerment, he set himself apart for us to be the totality of his focus. Think about that, think about that. When you begin to comprehend that, I am saying to you, just when you really get it, I'll pray to God that everyone will get it, I'll pray that everyone will get it. If you are his child, the brother or sister of Jesus, God is set apart for you to be the totality of his focus. And when that happens, when you get it, I'll pray to God that you get it before tomorrow morning, okay? When you get it, you wanna be set apart totally for him. You can't help it, and so we praise, who?
Six, Yahweh-Shalom, he is our peace, he is our peace. In the book of Judges chapter 6, verse 24, Gideon builds an altar to the Lord, and he called it Yahweh-Shalom, Yahweh-Shalom, say it with me, why? Because at that time God's people had no peace, they had no peace of mind, they had no peace physically, they had no peace at all. I want you to remember this when Satan comes, especially in the days we're living in now, and try to steal your peace, I want you to remember that, okay? Whatever you're going through right now, remember, Jehovah is what? There you go, you actually corrected me. Yahweh...
Back then, the Israelites are being harassed by their enemies. I mean, they could not get a decent night sleep. They were harassed and harassed day after day, and they come in as soon as their crops are ready to be harvested, they'll light a fire and they'll burn them, and they become impoverished, and they will become, they got in such a miserable situation, they were on the verge of death. And one day, listen to me, one day they faced up to the source of the lack of peace. This is the problem, we never go to the source, we always focus on the symptoms. We stay with the symptoms, but you need to go to the source, find out what is causing that lack of peace, and they faced up to it. They faced up to the fact that the reason for the lack of peace is they are disobedient to Yahweh.
And so, they cried to the Lord, and the Lord sends an angel to a man, very ordinary man, in fact, beyond ordinary, the name is Gideon. As a matter of fact, when the angels appeared to him, they said, "Oh, you mighty man of God," and Gideon said, "You talking to me? Are you talking to me? I'm the man of courage? You came to the wrong guy, this is the wrong address, you need to go somewhere else". No, it was you, it was you, because you, plus God, equal mighty power. Don't you ever forget that.
And so, the Lord gives him victory, and they named the place Yahweh-Shalom. I want to tell you something you can take to the bank, not literally, but you know what I mean. If you do not experiencing genuine, deep, abiding peace, it's for two reasons. Either you have never given your life to Jesus Christ and never experienced his presence in your life, or for the vast majority of people who are listening to me right now, are come under the second category. Is that they are living in blatant disobedience to the Word of God. In either case, God can change it today. He can change it today. Yahweh-Shalom, praise...
Yahweh-Rohi. Actually, it's more than just the Lord is my shepherd, it really is. The Hebrew word is so tender, I wish I could explain it. It's so tender, now, we don't see sheep, we don't see shepherds, and we don't even relate to that to begin with, but the words really mean more than just the Lord is my shepherd. Rohi means that his grace is perfect for me, that his peace endures in my life, that his leading of me is most thoughtful, that his comfort to me is superior than all others, that his companionship is eternal and forever, that his assurance banishes all my fears, that his provision makes my enemy flee, that his anointing is my abundance, and that his goodness and mercy is overflowing, can I get an amen? Praise Yahweh-Rohi, say it with me.
Okay, I come to the eighth one, and it's found in Jeremiah 23, verse 5. Yahweh-Tsidkenu, I know it's hard to get your tongue around it, don't worry about it. Yahweh-Tsidkenu, the Lord our righteousness. In Jeremiah 23:5, Jeremiah prophesied of the coming of Jesus, the Messiah. Now, Isaiah and Jeremiah probably gave us more detailed prophecy about the coming of Christ hundreds of years before he was born. We saw Abraham gave us a prophecy 2,000 years before he was born. In fact, Jesus said, "Abraham longed to see my day, and he saw my day". But here's what he said, let me read the Scripture to you, "This is the name by which he will be called," this is a future prophecy, that he will be called, "The Lord our righteousness".
Remember, during the time of the prophecy, this prophecy came as a nice glass of cold water to a thirsty and parched people, because during the time of Jeremiah, there were many prophets who are false prophets, they were prophesying falsely, this sounds familiar. So many of the priests who were just busy feathering their own nests, they feathering their own nests. Those who preach prosperity gospel, they the ones who are prospering, not the congregation. Violence was rampant, bloodshed, the spiritual leaders in the time of Jeremiah were confused, they were uncertain, and here comes the Word from the Lord.
The day is coming, the day is coming, and I'm sending my Messiah who will be called my righteousness. We have no righteousness if we live 2,000,000 lifetimes, if we do a lot of good work that lasts 1,000,000 years, we have no righteousness, we have no right standing with God the Father. Only through the righteousness of Jesus Christ are we righteous before God. In fact, the word literally means, tsidkenu means an upright, or a straight, or an arrow, sometimes, refer to... no wonder the Apostle Paul could say, 1 Corinthians chapter 1, verse 30, he said, "Christ is our righteousness". We have no righteousness without Jesus. Praise Yahweh-Tsidkenu.
Finally, for now anyway, ninth name is Yahweh-Shammah. Actually, literally can be the God who hears me, but the one who hears me is because he's there all the time. So, it can be the God who's always there, or God who always hears me. Beloved, listen to me. He is there for you every moment of every day. He never puts you on hold to take another call. He never turns you down. He never ignores you. He never says, oh, no, not you again. In fact, the Bible said he rejoices over us with singing, he's delighted when you come to him, he loves it when you genuinely want to fellowship with him, he loves it when you want to be in intimacy with him.
In Matthew 28:20, Jesus said, "Lo, I am with you," how often? "Always," how many times? Praise with me, Yahweh-Shammah. I'm almost at the end, but I wanna give a word of testimony. I have never begun to praise the names of God without being engulfed in the presence of God, not one time. I don't know if I'm giving away family secrets, but I was up at 4 o'clock and in another room, was praying, and I was praying loud. My wife jumped out of bed, said, "Are you okay"? I said, "Yeah, just praising God".
Listen, the more I know God, the more I want to praise him. And the more I see him working in my life, the more I see his power and sovereignty surrounding me. Now, what I want you to do as we come to the end, I want you to go through the list with me. All nine of them, so let's do it. Praise... Praise... Praise... Praise... Praise... Praise... Praise... Praise... Praise... Now, I want you to go home and do that every single day, every day. He will transform your life, he will transform your family life.