God’s Name – Can You See It?

And he built altars for them in the House of Hashem, of which Hashem had said, “I will establish My name in Yerushalayim.”




(the israel bible)

August 8, 2023

7 min read

Each time we open the Bible and seek truth from the Author of truth, we can gain insight into the Lord’s nature and character, and heart.  Sometimes these lessons reinforce things we already know and serve to bolster our faith.  Sometimes these lessons are new ideas that take us deeper in our faith journey.  Sometimes these lessons are powerful, mind-blowing realities that remind us that we have so much left to learn.

This week’s Torah portion begins with an instruction from Moses to the people of Israel.  “See (Re’eh רְאֵה), I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse.” (Deuteronomy 11:26)  Not yet in the Promised Land, Moses wanted to help the people of Israel prepare for their entrance by helping them choose blessings over curses, life over death.  Moshe Rabbeinu wanted the Israelites to “see” that God offered them (and us) the opportunity to make faithful, obedient, righteous choices.

These verses from Devarim (Deuteronomy) contain instructions for holiness and obedience regarding numerous topics like kosher, tithing, sacrifices, shmita and festivals (moedim).  Bible students know that Moses was preparing the People of Israel to inhabit the Land of Israel after his death.  This week’s reading, like the entire book, was designed as preparatory coaching for establishing God’s covenant people in the Promised Land.  

Because of that powerful opening word in Deuteronomy 11:26, this week’s parashah is titled Re’eh (רְאֵה).  Some versions of the Bible translate that first word into English as “behold.”  While that might be a valid translation of Re’eh (רְאֵה), the word “behold” might connotate to some readers the idea of a spiritual vision or a thought or a dream.

What if, instead of beholding the majesty and goodness of God in a spiritual sense, we could actually behold His nature with our eyes?  What if we could really “see” the awesomeness of the Lord when we “see” the Land of the Bible?

Before we try to “see” God’s truth, let’s read God’s truth.  Let’s briefly review ten passages from the Tanakh (Old Testament), three of which appear in this week’s portion.

  • “But you shall seek the Lord at the place which the Lord your God will choose from all your tribes, to establish His name there for His dwelling, and there you shall come.”  Deuteronomy 12:5
  • When you cross the Jordan and live in the land which the Lord your God is giving you to inherit, and He gives you rest from all your enemies around you so that you live in security, then it shall come about that the place in which the Lord your God will choose for His name to dwell, there you shall bring all that I command you: your burnt offerings and your sacrifices, your tithes and the contribution of your hand, and all your choice votive offerings which you will vow to the Lord.  Deuteronomy 12:10-11
  • “You shall sacrifice the Passover to the Lord your God from the flock and the herd, in the place where the Lord chooses to establish His name.” Deuteronomy 16:2
  • The Lord said to Moses, “You shall make an altar of earth for Me, and you shall sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and your peace offerings, your sheep and your oxen; in every place where I cause My name to be remembered, I will come to you and bless you.”  Exodus 20:24
  • Now Rehoboam the son of Solomon, reigned in Judah. Rehoboam was forty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city which the Lord had chosen from all the tribes of Israel to put His name there. And his mother’s name was Naamah the Ammonitess.  1 Kings 14:21
  • He (King Manasseh) built altars in the house of the Lord, of which the Lord had said, “In Jerusalem I will put My name.”  2 Kings 21:4
  • Solomon said, “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who spoke with His mouth to my father David and has fulfilled it with His hands, saying, ‘Since the day that I brought My people from the land of Egypt, I did not choose a city out of all the tribes of Israel in which to build a house that My name might be there, nor did I choose any man for a leader over My people Israel; but I have chosen Jerusalem that My name might be there, and I have chosen David to be over My people Israel.’”  2 Chronicles 6:4-6
  • “May the God who has caused His name to dwell there overthrow any king or people who attempts to change it, so as to destroy this house of God in Jerusalem. I, Darius, have issued this decree, let it be carried out with all diligence!”  Ezra 6:12
  • “O my God, incline Your ear and hear! Open Your eyes and see our desolations and the city which is called by Your name; for we are not presenting our supplications before You on account of any merits of our own, but on account of Your great compassion.”  Daniel 9:18
  • For the Lord has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His habitation.  “This is My resting place forever; here I will dwell, for I have desired it.”  Psalm 132:13-14

Do you notice the pattern?  Does the repetition of a keyword seem obvious and intentional?  Each of these verses affirms that the Lord not only created the earth, He chose to place His name on a specific spot on earth.  As the only true God, the Maker of heaven and earth, He can choose WHETHER to place His name and WHERE to place His name.

It is incredible but not surprising that Creator God would leave important hints about His name on the earth He created.  Like other artists, the Lord could have chosen to sign His work, maybe using His initials.  What would be a logical yet ingenious way for the Lord to add His initial(s) to His creation, allowing people to better “see” Him as not just an artist but the one true God?

The Hebrew alphabet has 22 letters, and the 21st letter is the letter “Shin” (ש‎).  This Hebrew letter looks a bit like the English letter “W” and makes the “sh” sound.   This letter is used in countless Hebrew words, including everyday terms like “shemesh” (שֶׁמֶשׁ) meaning “sun” and “shuk” (שוק) meaning “market” and “shaar” (שַׁעַר) meaning “gate.”

On a more spiritual level, the letter “Shin” (ש‎) serves as the first letter in the word Shaddai (שַׁדַּי), a description of God usually translated into English as “Almighty” or “Sufficient.”  Interestingly, the first time in the Bible when God is described as “El Shaddai”( אֵל שַׁדַּי) is in Genesis 17:1 when the Lord introduces Himself to ninety-nine-year-old Abram by that very title.

Because of the importance of this letter, a kohen (priest) forms the letter “Shin” (ש‎) with his hands as he recites the Priestly Blessing (birkat kohanim) as written in Numbers 6:23-27.

In addition to the words mentioned above, there are some very important Bible words that contain the letter “Shin” (ש‎), including:

  • Shofar שׁוֹפָר
  • Shalomשָׁלוֹם 
  • Shabbat שַׁבָּת 
  • Simchaשִׂמְחָה 
  • HaShem השם
  • Messiah מָשִׁיחַ‎
  • Yeshua  יֵשׁוּעַ 

Now that we have learned a bit about the Hebrew alphabet, we may wonder how the letter “Shin” (ש‎) might help us understand the power of this week’s Torah portion and guide us as we seek to “see” God.

What if God the Heavenly Artist really did place His initial(s) on His masterpiece called earth?  What if we could actually “see” His name with our eyes?

Let’s review a few amazing graphics produced by various scholars.  Let’s look first at the holy city of Jerusalem and notice the hints left by the Heavenly Artist.

Source: https://www.minimannamoments.com/i-will-put-my-name-part-2/ 

Can you “see” it?  Did you know that underneath the modern city of Jerusalem lies three different valleys which, when placed together, form the letter “Shin” (ש‎)?  Would it amaze you to learn that El Shaddai left His initial (ש‎) on the city called Jerusalem, where He actually said, “I will put My name” (2 Kings 21:4)?

While the above graphic is a form of the topographic map of modern Jerusalem, the letter “Shin” (ש‎) may be more easily recognized when superimposed on the scale model of first-century Jerusalem located at the Israel Museum.

Source: https://ahabiblemoments.com/2017/02/11/the-hebrew-letter-shin/

Can you “see” the three valleys better in that photograph?  As you look northward on the model, can you identify the letter “Shin” (ש‎) and notice that El Shaddai really did place His initial on Jerusalem?

When the Lord makes a promise, we can count on it.  When God says that He chose one specific place on earth to make His name dwell, we should understand that He did not mean Cairo or London or Dallas.  He meant the Promised Land of Israel.  He even left an initial behind to emphasize the point.

What could be more incredible than God leaving His “initial” on His artwork?  What if He placed His entire signature?  What if the complete name of God, the highest and holiest name of the Lord, appeared on the canvas of His masterpiece known as planet Earth?  

Please take a look at this incredible aerial photograph.  What do you see?

Source: https://www.cfi.org.uk/thefingerofgod.html

Can you “see” it?  Can you read the holiest name of God, יהוה‎, carved into His creation?  Notice that the Heavenly Artist signed His signature in a very special place about ten miles north of Jerusalem.  

As this article explains, “God is concerned for His nation Israel, so much so that He has written His name – YHVH in the land there.  It is at Beit El (Bethel) that from space, one can see God’s name written in the topography of the land – יהוה (YHVH – Yahweh). There are some places that one can’t adequately put into words.  There are some places that need to be seen, yet to remain silent and stand in awe of God.  This is such a place – Beit El – the House of God.”

With the help of modern technology, today we can “see” the name of God on His chosen Land.  In a way that only omniscience could design, the hills and valleys and sunlight and shadows form יהוה (Yahweh).  Of all the places where HaShem could choose to sign His name, what better place than Beit El, the House of God?

What seems like a miracle to people seems normal to our God.  What seems like a novelty of geography is really just the Lord keeping His promise.  What seems like an impossible coincidence is just a gracious gift allowing the faithful to “see” our Creator.  

Remember that our Lord makes and keeps promises.  Remember that we have been called to behold the majesty of the Creator. Remember that our El Shaddai made it all and owns it all.

As you read God’s Word this week, ask the Lord to help you “see” Him better.  

Pastor Trey Graham is a writer and radio host in Texas who leads unique tours for Christians who want to better understand the Bible and the Land of Israel.  He serves with multiple organizations across Israel helping build friendships between Christians and Jews.  Learn more at www.IsraelByTheBook.com and www.TreyGraham.com.

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