My wife and I attend Mount Zion Baptist Church in Seattle, WA. As a predominantly African-American church, the first few months were a sometimes foreign cultural experience. One thing we quickly grew enamored with was the gospel music. Not just the kind you hear on the radio, but also “Negro Spirituals” (yes, that’s the politically correct term). These songs are captured as hymns in the African American Heritage Hymnal. Last Sunday we sang “Because of Who You Are” which lies somewhere between modern and antique.
Because of who You are I give You glory.Because of who You are I give You praise.Because of who You are,I will lift my voice and say,Lord, I worship You because of who You are.Lord, I worship You because of who You are.Jehovah Jirah, my provider,Jehovah Nissi, Lord You reign in victory,Jehovah Shalom, You’re my prince of peace,And, I worship You because of who You are.Lord, I worship You because of who You are.
As is characteristic of these hymns, there are few words. But the words are deep. And the song emphasizes what would be easy to gloss over. My favorite part is the three names of God that it emphasizes: Jehovah Jirah, Jehovah Nissi, and Jehovah Shalom. These Old Testament, Jewish names describe a providing, victorious, prince-of-peace God that is worthy of worship. With some rhetoric, I could probably sway myself to think the trinity were in those three adjectives. But I don’t want to use clever rhetoric. I just want to highlight those names: Jehovah Jirah, Jehovah Nissi, and Jehovah Shalom.
As I write this, I can’t help but sing the song in my head. Again and again it proclaims those three names: Jehovah Jirah, my provider; Jehovah Nissi, Lord You reign in victory; and Jehovah Shalom, You’re my prince of peace. In my present time of transition, I will be meditating on those names and what they mean.
Last updated on February 16, 2022.