Not far from here is an old abandoned gold mine stowed away in the mountains. Its tunnels are collapsed, loose rock lies scattered everywhere, its rugged walls stand beaten and battered. Many people go up to this mine just to do a bit of exploring on their own. Some carry picks, some small hammers, some wield a sledge hammer as they beat away at the hard rock. Even experts in the field of rock hunting like to probe around, trying to find some rare stone to add to their collection. Some come away with nothing but bits of colored rock, some carry a piece of crystal rock, and rarely one will go off with a small speck of gold. But it is interesting just the same, maybe more to satisfy one’s curiosity than to find a hidden treasure.
So often we overlook the fact that we have a much more precious gold mine in our homes at arm’s reach. This gold mine is filled with a supply of costly gems that never is exhausted. Especially today when the infallibility of the Scriptures is brought into question, and the verbal inspiration is openly denied as an old fogy notion, this gold mine of God’s Word should attract us more than ever. And I am sure that it does attract many. As you sit and read your Bible, you are suddenly impressed by some truth which you may have passed by unnoticed many times before: It depends so much upon whether we are in rapport with the Word, receptive to it, so that we hear Christ speak to us through the Word by His Spirit in our hearts. After all, it is the Holy Spirit Who testifies with our spirits of the truth of every word that is written. And the Holy Spirit applies that truth to our hearts, even according to the problems that confront us, the spiritual burdens that oppress us and the peculiar circumstances in which we find ourselves at the moment. God is Mighty. He can do it. That Word is a Lamp before our feet, a Light upon our pathway, enlightening even the heart with the Light of Christ as a sure Guide to eternity.
A pick and small hammer are considered essential for exploring an abandoned mine. A Reference Bible and a Concordance are wonderful aids in the study of the Scriptures. They are essential to exploring the undiscovered depths of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God as revealed in the Bible. That time which is so obviously wasted at the TV set can far better be spent in a bit of searching of the Scriptures, which are able to make us wise unto salvation. II Tim. 3:15.
One more comment: Along with the proper setting and a few useful tools, let us not forget the importance of prayer. “Open Thou my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of Thy law.” Psalm 119:18.
One of the gems that I want to mention now is found in the two names of God most commonly used in the Old Testament. I realize that a bit of study of all the names of God can prove to be both interesting and instructive. One might explore the name “The Holy One” and come up with riches untold. Or one can study the names of God used in particular instances, with the question in mind, why would that particular name be employed exactly in that connection?
But at the moment I am referring to the two familiar names God (Elohim) and LORD (Jehovah). As you know, the name Elohim (translated simply as ‘God’ in our Bibles) means “The Almighty.” Its plural form in the Hebrew is a plural of excellence, emphasizing that God is indeed the Almighty, to Whom belongs absolute, sovereign authority and power, so that besides Him there simply is and can be no other mighty one. Literally, all power belongs to God forever and ever.
And you need but be reminded that the name Jehovah is God’s covenant name, actually THE Name of God. He is the I AM, the eternal, self-existing, self-sufficient, unchangeable God Who keeps covenant according to His inviolable promises forever. This name is written in our Bibles in capital letters, as LORD.
Turning to the first chapter of the Bible, we see at once that the name God (Elohim) is used throughout the chapter, and even into the first three verses of chapter two. This, we realize, is entirely proper, since the Almighty called the things that were not as though they were. “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.” (Hebrews 11:3). Thus we confess: “I believe in God, the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.”
But now in Genesis 2:4 we suddenly come upon the name LORD God, Jehovah Elohim. Here we are told that the Almighty God establishes His covenant of friendship with His people in Christ. The Almighty, Who created all things, set man as His image bearer in the midst of His earthly creation as His covenant friend-servant, thus giving us in paradise an earthly picture of the heavenly reality in Christ. How impressive is that LORD God, Almighty Jehovah!
And now we turn to Genesis 17, the well-known chapter that tells of God’s establishing His covenant with Abraham and his seed. We read in the first few verses that the LORD (Jehovah) appeared to Abraham, and, quite properly, Abraham fell on his face. And then in verse 7, “And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee, for an everlasting covenant, to be a God (Elohim, the Almighty) unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. You see the gem: I will be thy Almighty, thy God, thy only God, the absolute source of all thy life, the fulness of all thy blessedness forever; and I will even be the Almighty of thy covenant seed after thee! Throughout thy generations, and even forever I will be the sole object of all thy faith and trust!
How true this was even in the consciousness of the patriarchs. For example, when Abraham sends his eldest servant to find a wife for Isaac, he says to him: “And I will make thee swear by Jehovah, the Almighty of heaven, and the Almighty of the earth. . . .”. (Gen. 24:3.)
In faith Abraham could say: Jehovah, my Almighty! Still more impressive are the words of the Lord to Jacob at Bethel at the time of the vision: “I am the LORD God of Abraham thy father, and the God (Elohim) of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed.” (Gen. 28:13).
Whereupon Jacob answers in verses 20, 21: “If God (Elohim; here the Hebrew has: Jehovah Elohim) will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, so that I come again to my father’s house in peace; then shall Jehovah be MY ELOHIM.”
In Jacob’s soul already arose the response of faith: All that my God does for me only proves that He is my God, my Almighty forever. He could say, as father Abraham did: My God!
And now turn to Genesis 32:9, 10: “And Jacob said, O God (Elohim) of my father Abraham, and God (Elohim) of my father Isaac, the LORD (Jehovah) which saidst unto me, Return unto thy country, and to thy kindred, and I will deal well with thee: I am not worthy of the least of all thy mercies, and of all the truth (faithfulness), which thou hast shewed unto thy servant!”
There Jacob expresses what he vowed at Bethel, breathing in humble adoration: Jehovah, my Elohim, my God.
That turns our attention to Revelation 21:3: “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and THEIR GOD.”
Now in principle, finally in perfection we whisper in awed reverence: Jehovah, my God!