How Majestic Is Your Name
About the Guest
In the Scriptures, God often combines His name Jehovah with another name. Why? Best-selling author and pastor Tony Evans explains the meaning behind God's names "Jehovah Jireh," "Jehovah Tsaba," and "Jehovah Nissi." Tony tells how God has "lived up to His name" by showing up in amazing ways in the life of his family.
Tony EvansDr. Tony Evans is one of the country’s most respected leaders in evangelical circles. As a pastor, teacher, author and speaker, he serves the body of Christ through his unique ability to communicate complex theological truths through simple, yet profound, illustrations. While addressing the practical issues of today, Dr. Evans is known as a relevant expositor. New and veteran pastors alike regard him as a pastor of pastors and a father in the faith. The first African-American to graduate w...more
Best-selling author and pastor Tony Evans explains the meaning behind God’s names “Jehovah Jireh,” “Jehovah Tsaba,” and “Jehovah Nissi.” Tony tells how God has “lived up to His name” in the life of his family.
How Majestic Is Your Name
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Now, let’s introduce our guest for today.
Dennis: Dr. Tony Evans, a good friend and a comrade in the Kingdom battle, joins us again today on FamilyLife Today. Welcome back.
Tony: Good to be with you always. Thank you again for the great work you’re doing for the Kingdom of God.
Dennis: Well, we’re grateful you’re a family man and you preach on behalf of the family at your church, Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship, which you helped start over four decades ago.
You’ve written a book called The Power of God’s Names. You do something in your book, Tony—that I don’t know that I’ve ever heard explained quite as uniquely as you did. You say that “God explains who He is through compounded names. He takes two names and blends them together to introduce us to who He really is.”
Explain what you mean by that.
Tony: There are actually about 85 names of God in the Bible. We highlight the top 14 in this particular book, The Power of God’s Names. In these compound names, He will take one of His foundational names, which are Elohim, Jehovah, or Adonai—those are His foundational names—and He’ll connect them with a provision—like as “Provider,” or with “Peace,” or as “Healer.”
So He will show you, through the compound, how a foundational name combines with a need. When He puts those two names together, He is addressing the need through the use of that name. That is the compounding process that God is using.
Bob: And most of the time, the foundational name He’s using is the Jehovah name / the Yahweh name; right?
Tony: Well, yes. Most of them are Jehovah, but there are a number of El names in there as well.
And there are a couple of Adonai names.
Tony: And sometimes, He’ll put them all in the same passage—like in Psalm 91, where He uses all three and throws in compound names—El-Elian and El-Shaddai. He wants to just pack you and overwhelm you with who He is!
Dennis: Okay, let’s just apply this in your marriage and family. You and Lois have been married how many years now?
Tony: We’ve been married 44 years.
Dennis: Let’s go back a few years, though. Early on, how did you learn one of these names—like Jehovah-jireh / the Lord God Provides? We talked about that earlier, but practically—
Tony: Yes, great question!
Dennis: —I’m thinking of some ways Barbara and I did, but I’d be interested in knowing how you two experienced it.
Tony: Alright; I’ll tell you. We were in seminary; and we were eeking out a living, as most seminarians do. I’m making like $400 each month—I’ve got two kids / I’m trying to make it through school. We made a decision that we wanted my wife to be home—to be a homemaker for the kids—so, “How are we going to do this?”
I got to the point where we were very desperate. I had to make a decision whether we could continue in school or not because I had to provide for my family. I sat down with my wife at breakfast. I said: “Now, I’m going to school today. If God does not answer us by giving us”—and then I paused and I said—“How much would you ask God to give us to validate I should keep going because He’s going to take care of us in this school process?” She said, “We desperately need, right now, $500 just to make it.” I said: “Okay, you gave me the number. We’re going to pray right now. If God doesn’t provide it, I’m going to assume that means He wants me to discontinue school right now / provide for my family because we just are not making it.”
We prayed that day around the table and said, “Lord, we need a miracle if You want me to stay here.” I went to school that day / finished my classes. They have mailboxes for the students. I went to my mailbox at the end of class, and in there was an envelope. Inside the envelope were five $100 bills.
I never knew who put it there. There was no name / there was nothing—there was just an envelope with $500. When I brought that envelope home, my wife broke into tears because we both had experienced Jehovah-jireh. We were called to school, but we weren’t making it in school—that’s a contradiction. God demonstrated: “I AM the LORD who provides.”
Sometimes, He backs you up—just like He did Abraham—against the wall so that there is no question and it is inextricably clear: “This was a divine moment that He never wants you to forget.” That’s why I love the names of God—because these names come in the realities of life. When they come in the realities of life, and become your experience, then it attaches to your soul, and it is real.
Dennis: Well, let’s talk about another one of the names / the compound names of God—the one that is the God who shows up when David and Goliath square off.
Tony: Ah, yes! That’s Jehovah Tsaba. See, that’s the warrior God—that’s when you’re in a battle / that’s when you’re in a war. Everybody has a Goliath in their life that is something bigger than you / that is something that dwarfs you and causes you to be afraid because you know that you don’t have within your ability the wherewithal to defeat it. You are overwhelmed by it.
The key to David and Goliath—a lot of people don’t know this—is something he says twice. He says, “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that threatens the armies of the living God?” And the key word there is “uncircumcised.” In other words: “He ain’t been to the doctor / he ain’t been cut. [Laughter] If he hadn’t been cut, he hadn’t been covered. And if he’s not covered, there is no divine assistance for him. I’m under the covering because”— in that Old Testament sense—“I’ve been circumcised / Israel has been circumcised. Therefore, I can call on God as my Warrior / my Defender—Somebody who will fight my battle for me.”
When you see David win, it’s because he understood the covenant and the fact that, even though the enemy was bigger / even though they were outnumbered, when you put God in the equation to your obedience, it changes the equation of how big your enemy is. So David looked at Goliath and said: “You’re big, but you ain’t that big! You’re bad, but you ain’t that bad! [Laughter] Let me show you Somebody!” [Laughter]
In fact, he tricked Goliath because, when he went to Goliath and challenged him—because it says he took the initiative, and he went on the offense, and ran to Goliath—Goliath made a dumb statement. Goliath made the statement that “I am going to feed you to my gods.” He just made it a battle between gods. That’s what you want to do—it’s like calling your big brother: [Laughter] “Let’s get the spiritual in here. Let’s get the gods fighting. I’m smaller / you’re bigger, but let’s get the gods fighting each other and see where this baby winds up!” ‘[Laughter]
Bob: Kind of like Elijah and the prophets of Baal.
Bob: “My God / your god—let’s see who wins this one”; right?
Tony: That’s right—I’m glad you brought that up because that means you can’t be halting between two opinions. You’ve got to say which god you’re committed to, and that’s exactly what David did but Saul didn’t do.
Dennis: There have to have been moments, though, Tony—as you’ve gone through life with Lois, and your family, and your ministry—when fear almost won / when you almost caved in. I mean, it’s a battle of faith. I don’t care if you do experience great moments like this—
Dennis: —like five $100 bills in your mailbox—
Dennis: —every man / every woman has to face these moments, by faith, afresh every time.
Tony: I think of Job 23 [verses 8 and 9]—Job says: “I looked north and could not find you. I looked south and could not find you. I looked east and west, and I could not find you.” God allows those times of silence—like in Habakkuk: “Where are you? I can’t find you!”—where He goes silent / where He has nothing to say, seemingly; and where He wants you to trust Him in the dark.
He wants you to trust Him when solutions are not being found, when healing is not taking place, when the divorce is not reversed. He wants you to believe Him when you see nothing because, when you believe Him and He has not shown up yet, that means you are trusting a Person, not merely trusting a power or a solution.
You have some times that God lifts you out of a situation; but sometimes, He has to walk with you through the situation, and He’s changing you before He ever touches what’s wrong.
Bob: There are some purposes of God that we won’t know what His plan was in this life. We may go to our grave, wondering, “What was God up to in the midst of that?” and “Why did I have to go through that valley?”—aren’t there?
Tony: Absolutely. God will not answer everything in time. He will clarify everything in eternity, but He won’t answer everything in time. We have to trust Him with the unknown.
Dennis: Okay; let’s talk about one of those times in your life.
And I’m not saying this was exactly it, but let’s say it was something like the $500 you and Lois went on the line for to trust Him at the beginning of the day—where you stepped out in faith—but in time, you didn’t see the answer nearly as quickly as you had hoped. You had to kind of struggle in your faith to trust this God who hadn’t showed up and provided yet.
Tony: My daughter, Chrystal, is kind of a strong-willed person.
Bob: Takes after her dad a little bit?
Tony: Well, well, look! That’s not part of this broadcast. [Laughter] She got pregnant in college—this is something she talks about. She got pregnant in college; and that was a big disappointment, obviously—wondering why God didn’t interrupt, block, keep it from happening, remove the guy, remove—I mean, it was disappointment—disappointment with her—but also disappointment that God didn’t do something; you know? It was a frustration that we went through with our daughter and with God.
But God has a way of hitting the bullseye with a crooked stick.
Tony: And what He’s done in the life of my daughter, spiritually, and the life of my granddaughter, who was born out of that—but we couldn’t see any of that then. All we saw was the disappointment. You will have times where you feel like you need to forgive God.
Dennis: Sometimes, as human beings—and I’m speaking now, as a husband—God calls upon us to be His arms of love—to reach out and touch a child or a spouse—and to express the love of God, humanly-speaking. He is who He is; but He can use us, if we’re available, to minister to those that He’s given us responsibility for.
Tony: The whole responsibility of a parent or a Christian is to—you know, when the Bible says to present your body as a “living sacrifice,” that means—when God needs some hands, He has access to yours; when He needs some heads, He has access to yours; when He needs to go somewhere, He can get your feet and move there.
We are the continuation of the incarnation so that God can continue expressing Himself through human flesh.
Bob: Yes, and I’m wondering—because I know “incarnation,”—one of the names of God that you talk about in the end of the book, is the incarnational name that is given to Jesus. His name is a set-apart name as well; isn’t it?
Tony: —“God with us.” This is what makes Jesus so extraordinary—one-of-a-kind / unique. Starting with the virgin birth—the Son who existed before the child that was born—I mean, it’s God in flesh. Hebrews 4 [verse 15] wants you to understand that because he says, “I want you to understand…so that He could sympathize with our weaknesses.” That goes back to the concept that God wants to experience what we experience and not just know about what we experience.
Tony: So, in Jesus Christ in flesh—the experience goes there.
When a woman is pregnant and has a baby, it’s a difference of having a male obstetrician or a female obstetrician, who’s also a mother. A male knows the facts about the birth / the female obstetrician, who is a mother, has the experience of the birth.
Tony: When we have Jesus Christ, we have somebody who knows about the birth—He knows what to do—but He also knows what labor pains feel like / in being tempted in every way such as we are. In Jesus Christ, you have somebody who can relate and who can do something about it because He’s the God-man.
Bob: He is fully God and fully man. We were talking this morning—I think, sometimes, we have this idea that Jesus was mostly God and a little bit of man thrown in so that He could relate to us.
Tony: Ahhh, well this is quite extraordinary! You know, in the manger—you know, He’s a baby needing to feed on His mother / yet, He made His mother. You know, He can say, “I thirst”; and yet, He can walk on water. You know, He can die; but He can get up out of the grave; you know? He’s fully both—and He can maneuver both in sync and in harmony—100 percent of the time.
Bob: He weeps at the death of Lazarus and then He raises him from the dead.
Tony: He can do both in the same situation. That means He can relate and help.
Dennis: There has to be a listener, right now, who needs to hear just the promise of another name of God that is so familiar—it is the 23rd Psalm—“The Lord is my Shepherd.”
Tony: And what makes that psalm so beautiful is that it puts you in the position of a sheep. Sheep are dumb! Let me tell you how dumb sheep are! Sheep are so dumb that one sheep will follow another sheep that’s walking in a circle, and they all think they’re going somewhere! [Laughter] I mean, they’re just dumb!—alright? But a shepherd knows how to move sheep from one place to another and protect them in the process.
In Psalm 23, He covers every area of life. He can meet your spiritual needs—you know, “make you lie down.” He can meet your directional need—“lead you in the path.” He can meet your emotional needs—“you will not fear the shadow of death.” He can meet your physical need—“your cup runs over.” Then He can meet your eternal need because, now, “I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
There is no need you have that doesn’t fit in Psalm 23. The question is: “Are you willing to be a sheep so that you’re allowing Him to by your Shepherd?”
Dennis: —“and submit to the Shepherd and the direction He’s taking you?”
Tony: Absolutely, because a wayward sheep is going to be gobbled up by wolves.
Dennis: Okay. Out of all these names—and you said there are like 80 you could have sampled from the Scripture—what’s your favorite? Do you have one that you haven’t mentioned that’s a favorite?
Tony: Boy! I like Jehovah-nissi because that’s “the Lord is my banner.” When Israel would go out to war, they would have this banner that let them know that God was going in front of them for the battle.
We’re in a war—in our country, in our culture, in our families, in our society—everywhere you look, worldwide/nationwide, and every community.
Dennis: And we’re in a war in our hearts too—with myself.
Tony: Yes, we live in a war zone because we are “we.” We look to the enemy and: “It is me!” [Laughter]
So we’re in a war zone. I need to know that victory is possible. The Lord being my banner says that—even when I’m outnumbered / even when I don’t think I can make it—if I put that banner in front of me, that means it ain’t over. That means the final decision / the final bell has not rung yet and that I’m on the winning side. To be reminded that I’m on the winning side, even when I feel like I’m losing, is a good thing to have.
Dennis: But it’s important to know that, as you look forward to the God, who has that banner, that you’re in line and you’re marching according to the General’s directions.
Bob: That you’re under the banner—that’s right!
Tony: That’s right.
Dennis: Speak to that because some are struggling with the authority of the General. If they’re going to have the victory, they’ve got to salute.
Tony: You cannot be going your own way / your own path, doing your own thing, and still claim the victory because, now, you are sleeping with the enemy / you’re helping the enemy.
What you want to do is be under divine rule so that His banner and you are in the same location.
Dennis: Would you pray for the person, right now, who this is their battle, right now, today? I mean, I don’t know what they’re facing—just pray for them—
Dennis: —that God will show up, and that they will salute and follow Him because this is not just a broadcast to entertain people. It is a broadcast to, hopefully, deliver the Scriptures and the reality of who God is and who Christ is so that He will begin to transform human lives.
Father, right now, I pray for that person / those people, right now, who are in a battle—a battle with themselves, a battle in their homes, a battle in our society—wherever the battle that is being waged—that You will, in light of who You are and the names You bear, demonstrate—to them, in them, for them, and from them—the glory of Your name.
That they will experience Your intrusion into their lives and, even if it’s not yet time for their circumstances to change, change them in the midst of their circumstances. Give them a peace that passes understanding—the shalom peace that you offer to everyone who comes to You through Christ. So I pray that the peace of God will rest as people wait on You for You to address their deepest needs. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Dennis: Amen. Tony, I want to thank you for making the journey up here—for being a Texan and crossing the border into Arkansas. They wouldn’t let me into Texas the other day when I tried to get in.
Tony: So that’s why I came to you.
Dennis: There you go. They wouldn’t let me—my passport wasn’t good enough. Thanks for being a champion for Christ, though, and for your faithfulness over the past—well, more than four-and-a-half decades—just for your life and the ministry you continue to have. I just appreciate you and pray that God’s favor rests upon you.
Tony: Thank you, my friend.
Bob: Well, and let me just say, on behalf of those who are going to get a copy of your book and dig into it: “Thank you for the time, and the study, and the investment in writing The Power of God’s Names,” which is a book that we’ve got in our FamilyLife Today Resource Center—a book which, by the way, fits very nicely with the Adorenaments®—the Christmas tree ornaments—that your wife, Barbara, has created over the last several years—
Bob: —including this year’s ornaments that are the names of Jesus in different languages—Spanish, Russian, Hebrew, Arabic, and Mandarin. They can be hung on your Christmas tree as well.
And then we’ve got this resource that we’ve created for children called “The Twelve Names of Christmas™—12 Christmas tree ornaments that children will appreciate with different names of Jesus: He is Immanuel, He’s the Living Water, He’s the Door, He’s the Light of the world, the Lamb of God, the King of kings, the Lion of Judah. Along with the ornaments, there is a storybook so that you can read to the kids the stories about the names of Jesus.
All of these resources are available in our FamilyLife Today Resource Center. So go, online, at FamilyLifeToday.com. Order Dr. Tony Evans’ book, The Power of God’s Names, some of Barbara’s ornaments, and “The Twelve Names of Christmas” ornaments for children. Again, the website is FamilyLifeToday.com—order online; or call 1-800-FL-TODAY and order over the phone—1-800-358-6329—that’s 1-800-“F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then the word, “TODAY.”
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Or you can mail your yearend contribution to FamilyLife Today at PO Box 7111, Little Rock, AR; and our zip code is 72223.
And we hope you can join us again tomorrow. Max Lucado is going to be here. We’re going to look at the life of Joshua—the battle of Jericho and the taking of the Promised Land—and find out what that has to say to us during the Christmas season and in our own walk with Jesus today. I hope you can be here for that.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, along with our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I’m Bob Lepine. We’ll see you back tomorrow for another edition of FamilyLife Today
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