Names of God—Part 34

YHWH Makkeh

Names of God—Part 34

The LORD who smites

YHWH is God’s actual name which he revealed to Moses from the burning bush, it implies the personal nature of God.

The second part of the name here is how God relates to us:


This is actually one of the names of God I have been dreading, how can I be consistent in what I say about God’s nature being love, forgiveness and grace and then have to own up that one of the Biblical names of God is The LORD who smites.

The English Standard Version Anglicized has the word traditionally translated smites or smiteth translated strikes, but it is still of little help:

And my eye will not spare, nor will I have pity. I will punish you according to your ways, while your abominations are in your midst. Then you will know that I am the Lord, who strikes. Ezekiel 7:9

How can I understand that a God of love is also a God who strikes? That all depends on what we mean by striking. I always thought of that a God who smites was a vindictive God who will repay us for every little sin. Smiting is punishment of the worst kind.

Or so I thought. I was wrong. I was wrong because it isn’t about vindictiveness at all, it is still all about love and grace.

The smiting or striking that Ezekiel used is about a father lovingly correcting his children. In a 21st Century PC culture, we no longer talk about or approve of corporal punishment, the modern day equivalent would be the naughty step. In Ezekial, God’s naughty step was in Babylon, and the people of Judah had to sit on that step for the duration of the exile. A post-Christ view of the same thing can be found in the book of Hebrews:

For they {parents] disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he [God] disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:10-11

Human parents discipline as they see best. God’s discipline is for our own good, to make us share his holiness. If you want to be holy there are a lot of prayer and meditation plans out there, I use Lectio Divina, but the end result is that they help us to subject ourselves to God’s discipline. If there was any Bible passage which said, “no pain no gain,” this is it.

God’s discipline is because he wants you to be a better you. 

God is shaping those who subject themselves to his discipline into something beautiful, it will take time and it may hurt, but it will not harm you.

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