JESUS, MIGHTY GOD (EL GIBBOR) - Are you growing weary and losing heart? Are you facing some seemingly insurmountable "mountain" of difficulty? Is there some "impossible situation" in a relationship with your spouse, a family member, a friend, a co-worker, etc? I am facing such a situation even as I write these words! Whenever God allows us to experience circumstances we think are too difficult, we need to fix our eyes on Jesus the Author and Perfecter of our faith, choosing to consider Him Who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that we may not grow weary and lose heart. (Heb 12:2-3-note) The Greek word for "fixing" (aphorao in Heb 12:2-note) literally means to turn our eyes away from those things which are nearby (e.g., our difficulties) and instead to steadfastly fix them on something else, in this case SOMEONE else! And one of the best ways to fix our eyes on Jesus is by meditating on the manifold truths inherent in Messiah's many majestic Names. As Jeremiah testified "No one is like You, O LORD. You are great, and Your Name is MIGHTY in power." (Jer 10:6NIV-note) May our Father enable us by His "Spirit of grace" (Heb 10:29b-note) to turn our eyes away from our difficulty and instead to focus steadfastly on Messiah's great Name MIGHTY GOD. Amen. Indeed, this great Name, EL GIBBOR, is for all of us in great need - He is now and forever our MIGHTY GOD, the One Who is eternally "MIGHTY TO SAVE" (see Zeph 3:17ESV-note below).
In one of most familiar Messianic Prophecies, Isaiah writes "a Child will be born to us, a Son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His Name will be called Wonderful Counselor, MIGHTY GOD (EL GIBBOR), Eternal Father, Prince of Peace." (Isa 9:6-note) Isaiah describes Messiah as the One Who has the wisdom to counsel (govern) and the MIGHT to carry it out. Isaiah follows in the next chapter with a prophecy alluding to the future restoration of Israel when "A remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob (Jews who believe in Messiah), to the MIGHTY GOD (EL GIBBOR)." (Isa 10:21-note). This Mighty God is Jesus, Who in His first advent came in meekness "to proclaim the favorable year of the LORD," (Isaiah 61:2a, Lk 4:19-note) but Who will return in majesty, as MIGHTY GOD, in "the day of vengeance of our God." (Isaiah 61:2b-note) He is the MIGHTY GOD, the divine Warrior Who conquers every foe, including our mortal enemies, sin (Ro 6:10-11-note, Ro 8:3-note), death (1Cor 15:55-57-note) and the devil (Heb 2:14,15-note). Our MIGHTY GOD will come again to avenge all wrongs (you can rest in that truth beloved! Read Ro 12:17,18,19-note), "clothed with a robe dipped in blood and His Name is called The Word of God. And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him (EL GIBBOR) on white horses (this is YOU dear saint, read Rev 17:14-note = "those who are with Him [when He returns to wage war] are the called and chosen and faithful!"). And from His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may smite the nations; and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the ALMIGHTY (Rev 1:8-note = Jesus). And on His robe and on His thigh He has a Name written, "KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS." (Rev 19:13-16-note) "All hail the pow’r of Jesus' Name (Mighty God)! Let angels prostate fall; Bring forth the royal diadem, And crown Him Lord of all. Bring forth the royal diadem, And crown Him Lord of all!"
Adrian Rogers recalls a story from Robert Louis Stevenson about passengers who were on a ship in a severe storm and in imminent danger of sinking. The passengers were whispering "Are we going down? Are we safe?" One passenger said, "I've got to find out," so he made his way topside across the heaving decks, to the pilot house, where the pilot of the ship had his hand firmly on the wheel. The pilot turned and saw the fear in the passenger's face and just smiled at him, not even speaking a word. On arriving below the once fearful passenger exclaimed "We're going be all right. I've seen the face of the pilot, and he smiled at me." What we need to do when we are crippled by fear caused by difficult circumstances is look away from the "stormy waves" and into the serene face of our Jesus, our MIGHTY GOD, the One Who is always mighty to save. We need to see the reassuring smile of our Savior Who alone is able to calm the storms simply by speaking these words to our heart - "Peace, be still!" (Mk 4:39KJV-note) But remember that while our MIGHTY GOD may calm the storm around us, more often He will calm the storm within us! Rogers went on to conclude "And I can tell you, friend, that He has sailed rougher seas than the one that you're in right now!" Corrie ten Boom said "Look at the world—you'll be distressed. Look within—you'll be depressed. Look at Christ—you'll be at rest." God grant us grace to sing and pray this great old hymn - "Guide me, O Thou great Jehovah, Pilgrim through this barren land. I am weak, but Thou art MIGHTY; Hold me with Thy powerful hand… Strong Deliverer, strong Deliverer, Be Thou still my Strength and Shield."
How difficult is your difficulty dear saint? The Name MIGHTY GOD begs the question - "Is anything too difficult for the LORD?" (Ge 18:14-note) Jeremiah (in great difficulty, in a Jerusalem jail with Babylonians besieging his beloved City) in faith cried out "Ah Lord GOD! Behold, Thou hast made the heavens and the earth by Thy great power and by Thine outstretched arm! (he reminds himself that his MIGHTY GOD created everything out of nothing! [cp Heb 11:3-note] Therefore it follows that… ) NOTHING is too difficult for Thee… O great and MIGHTY GOD (EL GIBBOR). The LORD of hosts (of Sabaoth = Lord of the armies of angelic hosts!) is His Name." (Jer 32:17-18, 27-note) The angel's response to Mary's query reiterates that "Nothing will be impossible with God!" (Luke 1:37-note). Jesus, the Mighty God Himself affirmed that "with God all things are possible." (Mt 19:26-note). Paul concurs that our MIGHTY GOD is “able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think (How? According to His power that works [Greek = energeo ~ continually "energizes"] within us.”) (Eph. 3:20-note). And so, as His beloved children, we too can say with Paul “I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13-note = Paul learned the "secret" of spiritual strength thru his difficulties - read Phil 4:11,12-note). Henry Ward Beecher said "Tears are often the telescope by which men see far into heaven." May our Teacher (1Cor 2:11, 13-note) enable each of us to envision and lay hold of the "secret" of the sufficiency of Christ's power as we meditate on His great Name, El Gibbor. Amen.
There is a beautiful promise in Zephaniah given to Jews who will come to faith in the Messiah in the latter days, but it is also a promise applicable to saints of all ages. The prophet records that "The LORD your God is in your midst. He is MIGHTY (Gibbor) TO SAVE. He will take great delight in you. He will quiet you with His love (NLT = "With His love, He will calm all your fears."). He will rejoice over you with singing." (Zeph 3:17-note). Spurgeon remarks "What a word is this! Jehovah God in the center of His people in all the majesty of His power! This presence alone suffices to inspire us with peace and hope. Treasures of boundless might are stored in our MIGHTY GOD, and He dwells in the midst of His people; therefore may His people shout for joy. We not only have His presence, but He is engaged upon His choice work of salvation. “He is MIGHTY TO SAVE!” He is always saving: He takes His Name Jesus from it (Mt 1:21-note). Let us not fear any danger for He is MIGHTY TO SAVE. He even finds a theme for song in His beloved. This is exceedingly wonderful. When God wrought creation, the morning stars shouted for joy, but Jehovah did not sing, simply saying, “It is very good.” But when He came to redemption, then the sacred Trinity felt a joy to be expressed in song. Think of it and be astonished! Jehovah Jesus sings a marriage song over His chosen bride (Rev 19:7-note). She is to Him His love, His joy, His rest, His song. Oh, to think of it, that when all the chosen shall meet around the throne, the joy of the eternal Father shall swell so high, that God, Who fills all in all, shall burst out into an infinite godlike song! O Lord Jesus, by Thine immeasurable love to us, teach us to love Thee, to rejoice in Thee, and to sing unto Thee our Life-psalm (song)." Amen.
Here is a song about EL GIBBOR, our precious Jesus Who is Mighty to save (Zeph 3:17-note)…
Gibbor in the Septuagint of Zeph 3:17 is the Greek word dunatos = one who possesses power, one who has ability to perform some act, having the ability to alter or control circumstances) Dunatos is used of God in Luke 1:49 = "Mighty One" "For the Mighty One has done great things for me (50) and His mercy is upon generation after generation toward those who fear Him. (51) He has done mighty (kratos - NIV = "done powerfully") deeds with His arm, He has scattered those who were proud in their heart." Dunatos is used in Da 3:17NLT "If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is ABLE (LXX - DUNATOS) to save us. (ABLE TO DELIVER) He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty."
"Gird Thy sword on Thy thigh, O MIGHTY (Gibbor) ONE, In Thy splendor and Thy majesty!" (Ps 45:3).
Spurgeon writes ": O that the divine power of Jesus were put forth to use against error. The words before us represent our great King as urged to arm himself for battle, by placing his sword where it is ready for use. Christ is the true champion of the church, others are but underlings who must borrow strength from him; the single arm of Immanuel is the sole hope of the faithful. Our prayer should be that of this verse."
Moses refers to "the LORD your God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the great, the MIGHTY (Gibbor), and the awesome God who does not show partiality, nor take a bribe. (Dt 10:17)
In an almost identical description, Nehemiah refers to God as "the great, the MIGHTY (Gibbor), and the awesome (to be feared) God, Who keeps covenant and lovingkindness." (Neh 9:32).
Notice that in Moses, Nehemiah and Jeremiah all associate "great" with "mighty" emphasizing that our God is able to accomplish whatever He desires.
The Psalmist asks "Who is the King of glory? The LORD strong and MIGHTY (GIBBOR), The LORD mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O gates, And lift them up, O ancient doors, That the King of glory may come in! Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, He is the King of glory. Selah." (Ps 24:8-10)
Ps 45:3 Gird Thy sword on Thy thigh, O Mighty (Gibbor) One, In Thy splendor and Thy majesty!
Verses 2-5. In these verses the Lord Jesus is presented,
1. As most amiable in himself.
2. As the great favourite of heaven.
3. As victorious over his enemies.
Spurgeon: Verse 3. Gird thy sword upon thy thigh. Loving spirits jealous of the Redeemer's glory long to see him putting forth his power to vindicate his own most holy cause. Why should the sword of the Spirit lie still, like a weapon hung up in an armoury; it is sharp and strong, both for cutting and piercing: O that the divine power of Jesus were put forth to use against error. The words before us represent our great King as urged to arm himself for battle, by placing his sword where it is ready for use. Christ is the true champion of the church, others are but underlings who must borrow strength from him; the single arm of Immanuel is the sole hope of the faithful. Our prayer should be that of this verse. There is at this moment an apparent suspension of our Lord's former power, we must by importunate prayer call him to the conflict, for like the Greeks without Achilles we are soon overcome by our enemies, and we are but dead men if Jesus be not in our midst. O most mighty. A title well deserved, and not given from empty courtesy like the serenities, excellencies and highnesses of our fellow mortals—titles, which are but sops for vain glory. Jesus is the truest of heroes. Hero worship in his case alone is commendable. He is mighty to save, mighty in love. With thy glory and thy majesty. Let thy sword both win thee renown and dominion, or as it may mean, gird on with thy sword thy robes which indicate thy royal splendour. Love delights to see the Beloved arrayed as beseemeth his excellency; she weeps as she sees him in the garments of humiliation, she rejoices to behold him in the vestments of his exaltation. Our precious Christ can never be made too much of. Heaven itself is but just good enough for him. All the pomp that angels and archangels, and thrones, and dominions, and principalities, and powers can pour at his feet is too little for him. Only his own essential glory is such as fully answers to the desire of his people, who can never enough extol him.
Ps 50:1 (A Psalm of Asaph.) The Mighty One (Not Gibbor but 'el elohim), God, the LORD, has spoken, And summoned the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting.
Luke 1:49 "For the Mighty One (dunatos) has done great things for me; And holy is His name.
THE MIGHTY ONE
OF JACOB (ISRAEL)
The Hebrew word abiyr is used only six times in the OT and all describe the MIGHT ONE. While not using the Hebrew word gibbor for "Mighty," the gist of these passages is similar to those that describe "El Gibbor."
Ge 49:24 But his bow remained firm, And his arms were agile, From the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob (From there is the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel),
Ps 132:2 How he swore to the LORD, And vowed to the Mighty One of Jacob,
Ps 132:5 Until I find a place for the LORD, A dwelling place for the Mighty One of Jacob."
Isa 1:24 Therefore the Lord GOD of hosts, The Mighty One of Israel declares, "Ah, I will be relieved of My adversaries, And avenge Myself on My foes.
Isa 49:26 "And I will feed your oppressors with their own flesh, And they will become drunk with their own blood as with sweet wine; And all flesh will know that I, the LORD, am your Savior, And your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob."
Isa 60:16 "You will also suck the milk of nations, And will suck the breast of kings; Then you will know that I, the LORD, am your Savior, And your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.
Ps 45: Gird Thy sword on Thy thigh, O Mighty One, In Thy splendor and Thy majesty!
The Mighty One…
… of Jacob
… of Israel…
… of ________ (fill your name in blank!)
In the first analysis, might and mighty men were causes for celebration in the ot . During much of the biblical period Israel was in a heroic age. Thus the feats and exploits of her champions were causes for delight and storytelling. Such an exploit was that of David’s three mighty men as they broke through the Philistine lines to bring him water from Bethlehem (I Chr 11:15–19). I Samuel 1 is a lament for the fallen heroes, Saul and Jonathan, extolling their valiant deeds. Similarly II Sam 23 records the glories of various mighty men. I and II Chronicles contain many references to the mighty men of Israel, commonly employing the phrase gibbôr ḥayil “mighty man of valor” to describe them. Although Chr generally uses the term to express “warrior” or “soldier,” there are indications that originally this was a technical term for men of a certain social class, “nobles” who had the privilege of bearing arms for their king (cf. Ruth 2:1; I Sam 9:1; II Kgs 15:20, etc. where “warrior” is too narrow a translation).
It is not surprising that in such a society God was often depicted as a warrior. God is the true prototype of the mighty man, and if an earthly warrior’s deeds are recounted, how much more should God’s be. Thus the psalmists recount God’s mighty acts (106:8; 145:4, 11, 12; etc.) and in various places those attributes which a warrior-king might be expected to possess—wisdom, might, counsel and understanding—are attributed par excellence to God (Job 12:13; Prov 8:14). Isaiah (9:6; cf. 10:21) indicates that these will be the attributes of the Coming King, whose name is the Mighty God as well as the Prince of Peace, but he also makes it plain that justice and righteousness will accompany his might (cf. Ps 89:13–14 [H 14–15]).
God’s might draws the limits to man’s might, for man’s prowess is to be gloried in just so long as it does not overstep itself. When man sees his might as all he needs for successful living, he is deluded (Ps 33:16; 90:10; Eccl 9:11). When he, in the arrogance of his strength, pits himself against the Warrior-God, he will be destroyed (Ps 52; Jer 9:22; 46:5; etc.). Rather might must be tempered with wisdom (I Sam 2:9; Prov 16:32; 21:22) and the greatest wisdom of all is to trust God. Thus it is said that he is a geber (a male at the height of his powers) who trusts God (Ps 40:4 [H 5]). The man possessed of might who yet distrusts his own powers and instead trusts those of God is most truly entitled to the appellation “man” (Job 38:3; Jer 17:7; Mic 3:8). This is the “new man” of Paul, for he will have discovered that although transgressions have prevailed over him (Ps 65:3 [H 4]), the Lord’s mercy will prevail over them (Ps 103:11) and that the Lord is indeed “mighty to save” (Ps 80:3). (Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament- R Laird Harris, Gleason L Archer Jr., Bruce K. Waltke)
Venditti on Zephaniah 3:17
Welcome to Daily Treasures from the Word of God. Today’s reading is Zephaniah and Haggai. Our lesson is from Zephaniah 3:17, “The Lord your God is in your midst, A victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.” (NAS)
One of the great biblical realities for believers is that they are not alone. Today’s text gives us a glimpse of God’s future restoration of His people. Let’s look at five benefits of a relationship with the Lord.
The first benefit is that the Lord is with His people. The Bible from the onset shows how God has a relationship with the first humans, Adam and Eve. They converse and interact with one another. There is a change in the relationship when Adam and Eve disobey the Lord’s command. However, it did not annul the ongoing desire of the Lord to communicate with humanity as noted in his relationships with Abraham, Joseph and so many more.
Second, the Lord fights for His people. As the author paints the Lord as a warrior, the idea is that the battle belongs to Him. He is the one who gives His people the victory as seen in the lives of Moses, Joshua, Gideon and others. God intervenes on behalf of His people so they may be triumphant.
Next, the Lord delights in His people. By this the writer desires to communicate that as the people of God continue to obey the Lord, it brings pleasure to the Lord. God’s people are to demonstrate their appreciation and love for God in all spheres of life.
Fourth, the Lord loves His people. God’s people are to love God with all of their being. This should be the natural response to God’s love because He first loved us.
The greatest demonstration of God’s love is in the life and mission of Jesus Christ. Christ took all of the abuse and sin upon Himself because He chose to love humanity. In spite of His innocence, He purposefully decided to go to the cross for even those who despised Him. There is no greater love story.
Finally, the Lord rejoices over His people. The mental image is one of God celebrating and rejoicing over the satisfaction caused by His people. What a wonderful day it will be when God fulfills His plan.
In summary, the Lord is with His people. The Lord fights for His people. The Lord delights in His people. The Lord loves His people. And the Lord rejoices over His people.
God’s grace and care is so amazing. His values are so different from humanity’s limited perspective. Take time today to demonstrate your gratitude and appreciation toward our Lord. May we bring pleasure to God’s heart by submitting to Him and His ways.
Tozer on Zephaniah 3:17
Now the Bible teaches that there is something in God which is like emotion. He experiences something which is like our love, something that is like our grief, that is like our joy. And we need not fear to go along with this conception of what God is like. Faith would easily draw the inference that since we were made in His image, He would have qualities like our own. But such an inference, while satisfying to the mind, is not the ground of our belief. God has said certain things about Himself, and these furnish all the grounds we require.
The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing. (Zephaniah 3:17)
This is but one verse among thousands which serve to form our rational picture of what God is like, and they tell us plainly that God feels something like our love, like our joy, and what He feels makes Him act very much as we would in a similar situation; He rejoices over His loved ones with joy and singing.
Here is emotion on as high a plane as it can ever be seen, emotion flowing out of the heart of God Himself.