The Sovereign Lord Jehovah
Jehovah is so versatile, so adaptable, that he rightly bears a wide array of titles in Scripture. These do not compete with his personal name; rather, they teach us more about what his name represents. For example, he is called the “Sovereign Lord Jehovah.” (2 Samuel 7:22) That lofty title, which occurs hundreds of times in the Bible, tells us Jehovah’s position. He alone has the right to be Ruler of all the universe. Consider why.
Jehovah is unique as the Creator. Revelation 4:11 says: “You are worthy, Jehovah, even our God, to receive the glory and the honor and the power, because you created all things, and because of your will they existed and were created.” These majestic words could apply to no other being. Everything in the universe owes its existence to Jehovah! Without question, Jehovah is worthy of the honor, power, and glory that come with being the Sovereign Lord and Creator of all things.
Another title applied exclusively to Jehovah is “King of eternity.” (1 Timothy 1:17; Revelation 15:3) What does this mean? It is difficult for our limited minds to comprehend, but Jehovah is eternal in both directions—past and future. Psalm 90:2 says: “Even from time indefinite to time indefinite you are God.” So Jehovah never began; he has always been. He is rightly called “the Ancient of Days”—he existed for an eternity before anyone or anything else in the universe came into being! (Daniel 7:9, 13, 22) Who can validly question his right to be the Sovereign Lord?
Yet, some do question that right, as did Pharaoh. Part of the problem is that imperfect men put too much stock in what they can see with their eyes. We cannot see the Sovereign Lord. He is a spirit being, invisible to human eyes. (John 4:24) Besides, if a flesh-and-blood human were to stand in the immediate presence of Jehovah God, the experience would prove fatal. Jehovah himself told Moses: “You are not able to see my face, because no man may see me and yet live.”—
That should not surprise us. Moses got to see just a part of Jehovah’s glory, evidently through an angelic representative. With what effect? Moses’ face “emitted rays” for some time afterward. The Israelites feared even to look directly at Moses’ face. (Exodus 33:21-23; 34:5-7, 29, 30) Surely, then, no mere human could look upon the Sovereign Lord himself in all his glory! Does this mean that he is any less real than what we can see and touch? No, we readily accept the reality of many things we cannot see—wind, radio waves, and thoughts, for example. Furthermore, Jehovah is permanent, unaffected by the passage of time, even untold billions of years! In that sense, he is far more real than anything we can touch or see, for the physical realm is subject to age and decay. (Matthew 6:19) Should we think of him, though, as merely some abstract, impersonal force or a vague First Cause? Let us see.
A God With Personality
Although we cannot see God, there are thrilling passages in the Bible that afford us glimpses into heaven itself. The first chapter of Ezekiel is one example. Ezekiel was given a vision of Jehovah’s heavenly organization, which he saw as a vast celestial chariot. Especially impressive is the description of the mighty spirit creatures around Jehovah. (Ezekiel 1:4-10) These “living creatures” are closely associated with Jehovah, and their appearance tells us something important about the God they serve. Each one has four faces—that of a bull, a lion, an eagle, and a man. These evidently symbolize the four outstanding qualities of Jehovah’s personality.—Revelation 4:6-8, 10.
In the Bible, a bull often represents power, and fittingly so, for it is an immensely strong animal. A lion, on the other hand, often pictures justice, for true justice requires courage, a quality for which lions are renowned. Eagles are well-known for their keen eyesight, seeing even tiny objects miles away. So the eagle’s face would well picture God’s farsighted wisdom. And the man’s face? Well, man, made in God’s image, is unique in his ability to reflect God’s dominant quality—love. (Genesis 1:26) These facets of Jehovah’s personality—power, justice, wisdom, and love—are so frequently highlighted in Scripture that they may be referred to as God’s cardinal attributes.
Should we worry that God might have changed in the thousands of years since he was described in the Bible? No, God’s personality does not alter. He tells us: “I am Jehovah; I have not changed.” (Malachi 3:6) Rather than arbitrarily changing, Jehovah proves himself an ideal Father in the way he responds to each situation. He brings to the fore those aspects of his personality that are most appropriate. Of the four qualities, the one that predominates is love. It permeates everything God does. He exercises his power, justice, and wisdom in a loving way. In fact, the Bible says something extraordinary regarding God and this quality. It says: “God is love.” (1 John 4:8) Note that it does not say that God has love or that God is loving. Rather, it says that God is love. Love, his very essence, motivates you.
Look! This Is Our God
Have you ever seen a small child point out his father to his friends and then say with innocent joy and pride, “That’s my daddy”? God’s worshipers have every reason to feel similarly about Jehovah. The Bible foretells a time when faithful people will exclaim: “Look! This is our God.” (Isaiah 25:8, 9) The more insight you gain into Jehovah’s qualities, the more you will feel that you have the best Father imagine.
This Father is not cold, aloof, or distant—despite what some austere religionists and philosophers have taught. We would hardly feel drawn to a cold God, and the Bible does not portray our heavenly Father that way. On the contrary, it calls him “the happy God.” (1 Timothy 1:11) He has feelings both strong and tender. He is “hurt at his heart” when his intelligent creatures violate the guidelines that he provides for their well-being. (Genesis 6:6; Psalm 78:41) But when we act wisely according to his Word, we make his “heart rejoice.
Our Father wants us to be close to him. His Word encourages us to “grope for him and really find him, although, in fact, he is not far off from each one of us.” (Acts 17:27) How, though, is it possible for mere humans to draw close to the Sovereign Lord of the universe.