It is at once interesting, instructive, and edifying to mark the
various titles under which God appears in the Holy Scriptures. These
titles are expressive of certain characters and relationships in which
God has been pleased to reveal Himself to man' and we are persuaded
that the Christian reader will find solid profit and real spiritual
refreshment and blessing in the study of this subject. We can do little
more in this brief paper than offer a suggestion or two, leaving the
reader to search the Scriptures for himself, in order to obtain a full
understanding of the true meaning and proper application of the various
In the first chapter of Genesis we have the first great title--"God"
(Elohim): "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." This
presents God in unapproachable, incomprehensible Deity. "No man hath
seen God at any time." We hear His voice and see His work in creating;
but Himself no man hath seen or can see. He dwelleth in the light which
no man can approach unto.
But in Genesis 2, we have another title added to God, namely, "Lord"
(Jehovah). Why is this? Because man is now on the scene, and "Lord" is
expressive of the divine relation with man. Precious truth! It is
impossible to read these two chapters and not be struck with the
difference of the titles "God" and "the Lord God"--"Elohim" and
"Jehovah Elohim"; and the difference is at once beautiful and
Gen. 7:16 presents an interesting example. "And they went in, went
in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him: and the Lord
shut him in." God, in His government, was about to destroy the human
race, and every living thing. But Jehovah, in infinite grace, shut Noah
in. Mark the distinction. If a mere man were writing the history, he
might transpose the titles, not seeing what was involved. Not so the
Holy Spirit. He brings out the lovely point of Jehovah's relationship
with Noah. Elohim was going to judge the world; but as Jehovah He had
His eye upon His beloved servant Noah, and graciously sheltered him in
the vessel of mercy. How perfect is Scripture! How edifying and
refreshing to trace the moral glories of the divine volume!
Let us turn to a passage in 1 Sam. 17, where we have the record of
David's encounter with Goliath. He boldly tells the giant what he is
about to do, both to him and to the host of the Philistines, in order
"that all the earth may know that there is a God (Elohim) in Israel.
And all this assembly shall know that the Lord (Jehovah) saveth not
with the sword and spear; for the battle is Jehovah's, and He will give
you into our hands" (verse. 46-47).
"All the earth" was to know and own the presence of God in the midst
of His people. They could know nothing of the precious relationship
involved in the title "Jehovah." This latter was for the assembly of
Israel alone. They were to know not only His presence in their midst,
but His blessed mode of acting. To the world He was Elohim, to His
beloved people He was Jehovah.
Well may these exquisite touches command our heart's admiration. Oh,
the living depths, the moral glories, of that peerless Revelation which
our Father has graciously penned for our comfort and edification! We
must confess it gives us unspeakable delight to dwell on these things
and point them out to the reader, in this infidel day when the divine
inspiration of Holy Scripture is boldly called in question, in puarts
where we should least expect it. But we have something better to do
just now that replying to the contemptible assaults of infidelity. We
are thoroughly persuaded that the most effective safeguard against all
such assaults is to have the Word of Christ dwelling in us richly, in
all its living, formative power. To the heart thus filled and
fortified, the most plausible and powerful arguments of all infidel
writers are but as the pattering of rain on the window.
We shall give the reader only one more illustration of our subject
from the Old Testament. It occurs in the interesting history of
Jehoshaphat (2 Chron. 18:31). "And it came to pass, when the captains
of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat, that they said, It is the king of
Israel. Therefore they compassed about him to fight: but Jehoshaphat
cried out, and the Lord (Jehovah) helped him; and God (Elohim) moved
them to depart from him."
This is deeply affecting. Jehoshaphat had put himself into an
utterly false position. He had linked himself with the most ungodly of
Israel's kings. He had even gone so far as to say to the wicked Ahab,
"I am as though art, and my people as they people; and we will be with
thee in the war." No marvel, therefore, if the Syrian captains mistook
him for Ahab. It was only taking him at his word. But when brought down
to the very lowest point--into the very shadow of death-- "he cried
out"; and that cry went up to the gracious and ever-attentive ear of
Jehovah, who had said, "Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will
deliver thee." Precious grace!
But mark the lovely accuracy in the application of the divine
titles--for this is our thesis. "He cried out, and Jehovah helped him;"
and--what then? A mere human author would doubtless have put it thus:
"Jehovah helped him, and moved them." But no; Jehovah had, as such,
nothing to do with the uncircumcised Syrians. His eye was upon his
dear, though erring, servant; His heart was toward him, and His
everlasting arms around him. There was no link between Jehovah and the
Syrians; but Elohim, whom they knew not, moved them away.
Who can fail to see the beauty and perfection of all this? Is it not
plain that the stamp of a divine hand is visible upon the three
passages which we have culled for consideration" Yes, and so it is upon
every clause, from cover to cover, of the divine volume. Let no one
suppose for a moment that we want to occupy our readers with curious
points, nice distinctions, or learned criticisms. Nothing is further
from our thoughts. We would not pen a line for any or all of these
objects. As God is our witness, our one great object in writing this
paper is to deepen in the hearts of our readers the sense of the
preciousness, the beauty and excellence of the Holy Scriptures, given
of God for the guidance, help and blessing of His people in the dark
world. If this object be gained, we have our full reward.
But we cannot close without referring, for a moment, to the precious
pages of the New Testament. We shall ask the reader to turn to Rom. 15,
in which we have God presented to us under three distinct titles, each
one of which is in perfect and beautiful keeping with the immediate
subject in hand. Thus, in the opening verses of the chapter, which
properly belong to chapter 14, the inspired apostle is urging upon us
the necessity of patience, forbearance, and kindly consideration one of
And to whom does he direct us for power to respond to those holy and
much-needed exhortations? "To the God of patience and consolation." He
presents God in the very character in which we need Him. Our small
stock of patience would soon be exhausted in seeking to meet the varied
characters which cross our path, even in intercourse with our brethren.
There are constant claims upon our patience and forbearance; and most
surely others have need of patience and forbearance with us. Where are
we all to get the means of meeting all of these claims"? At the
exhaustless treasure of "the God of patience and consolation." Our tiny
springs would soon dry up if not kept in unbroken connection with that
ever-flowing Fountain. The weight of a feather would be an overmatch
for our patience; how much more the ten thousand things that come
before us even in the Church of God!
Hence the need of the beautiful prayer of the apostle, "Now the God
of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward
another, according to Christ Jesus; that ye may with one mind and one
mouth glorify God, even with the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the
glory of God."
Here lies the grand secret, the divine power of receiving one
another, and going together in holy love, heavenly patience, and tender
consideration. We cannot get on otherwise. It is only by habitual
communion with the God of patience and consolation that we shall be
able to rise above the numberless hindrances to confidence and
fellowship that continually present themselves, and walk in fervent
love to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity.
But we must draw this paper to a close, and shall merely glance at
the other divine titles presented in our chapter. When the apostle
speaks of the future of glory, his heart at once turns to God in the
very character suited to the subject before him. "Now the God of hope
fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in
hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost." If we would have the hope
of glory heightened in our souls--and truly we need it--we must turn
our eyes to "the God of hope."
How marked and striking is the application of the divine titles,
wherever we turn! Whatever may be the character of our need, God
presents himself to our hearts in the very way adapted to meet it.
Thus, at the close of the chapter, when the apostle turns his eyes
towards Judaea, and the difficulties and the dangers awaiting him, his
heart springs up to the God of peace." Precious resource in all our
varied exercises, anxieties, sorrows, and cares!
In a word, whatever we want, we have just to turn in simple faith to
God, and find it all in Him. God--blessed forever be His name--is the
one grand and all-sufficient answer to our every need, from the
starting point to the goal of our Christian career. Oh for artless
faith to use Him!