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Do you remember when you were a child, and somebody would take something from you? Sometimes, you would say, “Hey, that’s not yours!” Then the reply would come: “It doesn’t have your name on it!” This is often a battle between siblings when both want the same thing, but there isn’t enough to go around. At least I’ve heard that a few times in my household! :-)
In Deuteronomy, when the Israelites were nearing the time of coming into the Promised Land, Moses was instructing them. Many instructions had been given by God in previous books, and Deuteronomy is basically Moses ‘going back over’ these things before the people journeyed forth into the land God gave them.
In the 12th chapter of Deuteronomy, there are several references to the place that God would require them to meet with Him, bringing their sacrifices and offerings:
Deut 12:11 Then to the place the Lord your God will choose as a dwelling for his Name—there you are to bring everything I command you: your burnt offerings and sacrifices, your tithes and special gifts, and all the choice possessions you have vowed to the Lord.
Deut 12:21 If the place where the Lord your God chooses to put his Name is too far away from you, you may slaughter animals from the herds and flocks the Lord has given you, as I commanded you, and in your own towns you may eat as much of them as you want.
Jerusalem was the place to come and offer their gifts and sacrifices. This is where the tabernacle was, (and the temple came to be later) where sacrifices and offerings were made daily. There is great significance to this place. God was known by Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as El Shaddai. Shaddai means ‘almighty’. To them, God was called the ‘Almighty God’.
The first letter of ‘Shaddai’ in Hebrew is the letter shin (pronounced ‘sheen’). It looks like this:
The photo shows what shin looks like in book type. Just as in English, some of the Hebrew letters look different handwritten than they do in book type. To see a good representation of the letter shin in handwritten form, hold up 3 fingers just like you’re trying to show someone the number 3. This gives a better picture of how it would have been written.
Below is a map of ancient Jerusalem. It shows many areas of Jerusalem as they were added through time. Jerusalem sits on a mountain that is surrounded by taller mountains. There are three valleys that come together at the base of Mount Moriah. They are the Kidron Valley on the right, the Central Valley in the middle, and the Hinnom Valley on the left. They aren’t easy to see on this one because of the colors on top of the valleys.
Here is the same map (although a bit smaller) with the valleys blacked in so you can see them clearly:
This is what’s exciting to me. This is the place where God literally chose to write His name! The valleys here form the first letter of Shaddai…God Almighty!
There has been much conflict over the nation of Israel for many years. Many nations want to take over the land and control it for their own purposes. They continue to try, and continue to fail. God has in essence said to them, “You can’t have it, because my Name is written on it!”
There is one other place God has chosen to write His Name:
Follow the curve going under the right and left ventricles, and the ‘finger’ going up in the middle. Once again, the letter shin…the first letter of Shaddai. God’s Name is not only written in the land of Israel, but physically on our hearts! Humanity has the undeniable mark of being God’s creation. Each of us have to choose whether to give our hearts totally to Him or not. But, when we do, and the enemy comes against us, God can also tell him, “You can’t have them, because my Name is written there!”
map pictures from The Moody Atlas of Bible Lands, pg 159 (black ink mine)