Sounds like: a’mawd/ oh’med
In Hebrew this word can also mean to stop, settle, fix, appoint, confirm, establish, endure… it’s the idea that these things stand firm.
All Creation Stands in the Presence of YHWH
From the beginning, God ordered the creation of the Universe and it stood in the presence of YHWH:
You established the earth, and it stands [wa-ta-a’mod].
They stand [am’du] this day by Your ordinances, for all things are Your servants.
Creation recognized YHWH, and in His presence it stood at attention:
[YHWH:] “Listen to Me, Jacob, Israel whom I called; I am He, I am the first, I am also the last.
Assuredly My hand founded the earth, and My right hand spread out the heavens; when I call to them, they stand [ya-am’du] together.”
Standing on Holy Ground
The Bible made it clear. You either stood for God, or you stood against Him.
Standing in God’s presence meant you were standing on Holy Ground. When Moses faced YHWH at the burning bush, YHWH said: “Do not come near here; remove your sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing [ohmed] is holy ground.” (Exodus 3:5).
Joshua also heard these words from the captain of YHWH’s army:
…a man was standing [omed] opposite him with his sword drawn in his hand, and Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us or for our enemies?”
He said, “No; rather I have come now as captain of the army of YHWH.”
And Joshua fell on his face to the ground, and bowed down, and said to him, “What has my lord to say to his servant?”
And the captain of YHWH’s army said to Joshua, “Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing [omed] is holy.” And Joshua did so.
The truth was, in the presence of YHWH, no one (from heaven or earth) sat down. When you were in the presence of YHWH, you stood up:
- Abraham was stood before YHWH (Genesis 18:22, 19:27)
- YHWH presented the 10 commandments to the people and they “stood at a distance” (Exodus 20:18, 21)
- Moses stood on the mountain for 40 days and 40 nights and YHWH listened to him (Deuteronomy 10:10)
- Sons of Levi were to stand every morning and evening to thank and praise YHWH (1 Chronicles 23:30)
- Solomon stood in front of the altar of YHWH to praise Him (2 Chronicles 6:12)
- Elijah stood on the mountain before YHWH (1 Kings 19:11)
- The angels of heaven stood to the right and left of YHWH (1 Kings 22:19)
- Seraphim stood above YHWH’s throne (Isaiah 6:2)
- Cherabim stood in the presence of YHWH (Ezekiel 10:3)
- Satan stood at at the right hand of the angel of YHWH, to accuse Him (Zechariah 3:1)
YHWH explained to Jeremiah that those who returned to Him would stand before Him, and He would save them:
Therefore, this is what YHWH says:
“If you return, then I will restore you— you will stand [ta-a’mod] before Me; and if you extract the precious from the worthless, you will become My spokesman. They, for their part, may turn to you, but as for you, you are not to turn to them.
Then I will make you to this people a fortified wall of bronze; and though they fight against you, they will not prevail over you; for I am with you to save you and rescue you,” declares YHWH.
Who Can Stand in His Presence?
YHWH created humans to work alongside Him and to steward the earth… tending and caring for it; nurturing it, and helping it grow. Although He was the great Creator, He wanted to stand alongside us, guiding us towards good living.
We were made to stand in the presence of YHWH, but likewise, YHWH chose to stand in the presence of His people. David recognized this in one of his Psalms:
With my mouth I will give thanks abundantly to YHWH; and I will praise Him in the midst of many.
For He stands [ya-a’mod] at the right hand of the needy, to save him from those who judge his soul.
YHWH was there to save those in sincere need. When Moses was bombarded with the complaints of thirst from the people, YHWH stood before him and gave life-giving water:
[YHWH:] Behold, I will stand [omed] before you there on the rock at Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it, so that the people may drink.” And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.
YHWH was willing to stand alongside His people, but the people questioned their worthiness to stand in His presence. This was certainly not how other cultures understood their own gods. The neighbouring pagan cultures knew they were mere servants to their gods. They could never stand alongside their gods without punishment.
This understanding of how a god usually behaved made the Hebrew people question YHWH. Questioning who could stand in front of YHWH was a familiar trope in the Tanakh:
[Psalm of Asaph:] You (God), You indeed are to be feared, and who may stand [ya-a’mod] in Your presence, once You are angry?
1 Samuel 6:20
And the men of Beth-shemesh said, “Who is able to stand [la-a’mod] before YHWH, this holy God? And to whom will He go up from us?”
Nahum 1:3a, 6a
YHWH is slow to anger and great in power, and YHWH will by no means leave the guilty unpunished…
…Who can stand [ya-a’mowd] before His indignation? Who can endure the burning of His anger?
YHWH was great and holy, but He was nothing like the pagan gods that the Hebrew people were comparing Him to. Therefore, YHWH did not directly give them an answer to their question. Instead He took their question and applied it to the great Messenger whom YHWH would send to the earth on His behalf:
Malachi 3:1-3, 7a
[YHWH:] “Behold, I am sending My messenger, and he will clear a way before Me. And the Lord, whom you are seeking, will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming,” says YHWH of armies.
“But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand [ha-omed] when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire, and like launderer’s soap. And He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to YHWH offerings in righteousness…
From the days of your fathers you have turned away from My statutes and have not kept them. Return to Me, and I will return to you,” says YHWH of armies.
It would be quite some time before the YHWH’s Messiah would come… and many terrible things happened to the people of Israel before His arrival. But while they waited, if they stood with YHWH, He would stand with them.
However, as time passed, the people wondered why YHWH seemed to remain at such a distance from them:
Why do You stand [ta-a’mod] far away, YHWH? Why do You hide Yourself in times of trouble?
The truth was, the people had forgotten all the many times that YHWH had rescued them in times of despair. We often forget the good and remember, with great detail, the bad.
But YHWH, more often than not, stood amongst them and rescued them. When the Hebrew people were being pursued by the Egyptians, the presence of YHWH stood between the Hebrew people and their enemies:
Then the angel of God, who had been going before the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud moved from before them and stood [wai-ya-a’mod] behind them. So it came between the camp of Egypt and the camp of Israel; and there was the cloud along with the darkness, yet it gave light at night. Therefore the one did not approach the other all night.
YHWH stood as an intercessor between good and evil. He would always stand for His people:
[YHWH to Zerubbabel and Joshua, the high priest:] “‘As for the promise which I made you when you came out of Egypt, My Spirit
remains stands [omedet] in your midst; do not fear!’
For this is what YHWH of armies says: ‘Once more in a little while, I am going to shake the heavens and the earth, the sea also and the dry land. I will shake all the nations; and they will come with the wealth of all nations, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says YHWH of armies. ‘The silver is Mine and the gold is Mine,’ declares YHWH of armies. ‘The latter glory of this house will be greater than the former,’ says YHWH of armies, ‘and in this place I will give peace,’ declares YHWH of armies.”
Job’s enigmatic fourth friend, Elihu, called on Job to stand and consider the wonders of YHWH:
[Elihu:] “Listen to this, Job; stand [a’mod] and consider the wonders of God.
Do you know how God establishes them, and makes the lightning of His clouds to shine? Do you know about the hovering of the clouds, the wonders of One who is perfect in knowledge, you whose garments are hot when the land is still because of the south wind? Can you, with Him, spread out the skies, strong as a cast metal mirror?”
This amazing, all-powerful, God stood for His people. We should stand and be amazed that the God who created the Universe stands for us, and wants to stand amongst us! That was unlike anything that the pagan gods were offering to their followers.
Letting other gods Stand
YHWH stood for His people, which means YHWH’s Adversary (ha-Satan) stood against YHWH’s people. We are told that Satan stood up against Israel in 1 Chronicles 21:1. One of the Adversary’s greatest achievements was enticing Israel to seek and follow foreign gods. In one of their greatest failures, Israel invited foreign gods to stand in their presence:
Now after Amaziah (king of Judah) came from slaughtering the Edomites, he brought the gods of the sons of Seir and
set stood: [wai-ya-a’midem] them up as his gods. Then he bowed down before them and burned incense to them. So the anger of YHWH burned against Amaziah, and He sent him a prophet who said to him, “Why have you sought the gods of the people who have not saved their own people from your hand?”
Isaiah cheekily pointed out that these gods had no power to save them:
“You are wearied with your many counsels; let now the astrologers, those who prophesy by the stars, those who predict by the new moons, stand [ya-am’du] up and save you from what will come upon you.”
If you’re in trouble, Isaiah announced, let these gods you worship stand up and save you. Let’s see how well that goes for you!
Namaan, a captain of the Syrian army, was a pagan warrior who suffered from leprosy. At some point in his fighting life, he took a young Hebrew girl to be his slave. When she saw his suffering she convinced him to see the Hebrew prophet Elisha for healing. It took a lot of convincing but eventually Namaan went to Elisha and followed his instructions. Miraculously he was healed of his leprosy.
One of Elijah and Elisha’s favourite phrases was this: “As surely as YHWH lives, before whom I stand [amad’ti]…” This phrase preceded an announcement, as seen in 1 Kings 17:1, 1 Kings 18:15, 2 Kings 3:14. Elisha used the phrase when he responded to Namaan.
2 Kings 5:15-17a
Then he (Namaan) returned to the man of God with all his company, and came and stood [wai-ya-a’mod] before him (Elisha). And he said, “Behold now, I know that there is no God in all the earth, except in Israel; so please accept a gift from your servant now.”
But he (Elisha) said, “As surely as YHWH lives, before whom I stand [amad’ti], I will accept nothing.” And he urged him to accept it, but he refused.
Then Naaman said, “If not, please let your servant be given two mules’ load of earth; for your servant will no longer offer a burnt offering nor a sacrifice to other gods, but to YHWH. Regarding this matter may YHWH forgive your servant: when my master goes into the house of Rimmon to worship there, and he leans on my hand and I bow down in the house of Rimmon, when I bow down in the house of Rimmon, may YHWH please forgive your servant in this matter.” He [Elisha] said to him, “Go in peace.”
As sure as he stood before YHWH, Elisha would accept no gift from Namaan. So instead Namaan asked for a gift from Elisha: dirt on which to stand. He wanted to take some “God space” with him as he was about to return home to pagan territory. Namaan would no longer worship any god, except YHWH. But he knew he would have to enter the temple of Rimmon, as he assisted his king who worshipped there.
So Namman also asked for forgiveness; he wanted to make it clear: although he assisted the Syrian king in the temple of Rimmon, in his heart he stood only for YHWH. Elisha’s offering of peace, meant that Namaan could be content. YHWH read the heart, and Namaan’s heart was sincere. He would be forgiven. In Luke 4:27, Yeshua (Jesus) used Namaan as an example of great faith. We know where Namaan stood. Even in the presence of evil, surrounded by corruption and perversion, we can stand for God.
Stand on Your Feet
However, it’s not easy to stand for God, surrounded by so much desolation, rebellion, evil and temptation. In Ezekiel’s story God continually stood him up on his feet:
Then He said to me, “Son of man, stand [amod] on your feet, and I will speak with you.” And as He spoke to me the Spirit entered me and set me on my feet; and I heard Him speaking to me. Then He said to me, “Son of man, I am sending you to the sons of Israel, to a rebellious people who have rebelled against Me; they and their fathers have revolted against Me to this very day.”
Ezekiel went back and forth between falling down and standing up. When he saw YHWH standing, he fell on his face, but the Spirit stood him up again:
Now the hand of YHWH was on me (Ezekiel) there, and He said to me, “Get up, go out to the plain, and there I will speak to you.” So I got up and went out to the plain; and behold, the glory of YHWH was standing [k’vod YHWH omed] there, like the glory that I saw by the river Chebar, and I fell on my face. But the Spirit entered me and stood me [wa-ta-a’mideni] up on my feet…
With God’s Spirit within us, we can stand up and face YHWH!
YHWH announced to Ezekiel that He looked for someone among the people to stand up for Israel, so God would not destroy it, but He found no one:
[YHWH:] The people of the land have practiced extortion and committed robbery, and they have oppressed the poor and needy, and have oppressed the stranger without justice. I searched for a man among them who would build up a wall and stand [w-omed] in the gap before Me for the land, so that I would not destroy it; but I found no one.
There would be only one Saviour for Israel, and it wouldn’t come from the people. He would come, through the East Gate, and stand and dwell amongst His people to save them:
Then he led me to the gate, the gate facing east; and behold, the glory of the God of Israel was coming from the way of the east. And His voice was like the sound of many waters; and the earth shone from His glory. And it was like the appearance of the vision which I saw, like the vision which I saw when He came to destroy the city. And the visions were like the vision which I saw by the river Chebar; and I fell on my face. And the glory of YHWH entered the house by way of the gate facing east. And the Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner courtyard; and behold, the glory of YHWH filled the house.
Then I heard Him speaking to me from the house, while a man was standing [omed] beside me. And He said to me, “Son of man, this is the place of My throne and the place of the soles of My feet, where I will dwell among the sons of Israel forever.”
Again the Spirit entered Ezekiel, lifted him up, and stood him on his feet so that he could see that YHWH would enter the Temple through the East Gate and He would plant His feet on the ground and dwell amongst His people forever.
It was the beautiful redemptive plan. God would return to us, so we could return to Him. We would stand together!
It should not be lost on us that Yeshua came through the East Gate when He entered Jerusalem only days before His execution. This was where He took His stand amongst the people.
Stand and Watch the Salvation of YHWH
We cannot save ourselves. That was a major theme in the Bible. This concept was made very clear when the Moabites, Ammonites and the Meunites joined forces to destroy Judah. Jehoshaphat, king of Judah at the time, knew that he could trust in YHWH to save them:
2 Chronicles 20:5-9
Then Jehoshaphat stood [wai-ya-a’mod] in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of YHWH in front of the new courtyard; and he said, “YHWH, God of our fathers, are You not God in the heavens? And are You not ruler over all the kingdoms of the nations? Power and might are in Your hand so that no one can stand [l-hit-yatsev] against You. Did You not, our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land from Your people Israel, and give it to the descendants of Your friend Abraham forever? They have lived in it, and have built You a sanctuary in it for Your name, saying, ‘If disaster comes upon us, the sword, or judgment, or plague, or famine, we will stand [na-am’dah] before this house and before You (for Your name is in this house), and cry out to You in our distress, and You will hear and save us.’
In the midst of the people who stood on their feet, Jahaziel the priest was overcome with the Spirit of YHWH and he replied to Jehoshaphat’s prayer with God’s message:
2 Chronicles 20:13-14a, 15-17
…All Judah was standing [om’dim] before YHWH, with their infants, their wives, and their children.
Then in the midst of the assembly the Spirit of YHWH came upon Jahaziel…and he said, “Listen, all you of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and King Jehoshaphat: This is what YHWH says to you: ‘Do not fear or be dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours but God’s. Tomorrow, go down against them. Behold, they will come up by the ascent of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the valley in front of the wilderness of Jeruel. You need not fight in this battle; take your position, stand [im’du] and watch the salvation of YHWH in your behalf, Judah and Jerusalem.’ Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow, go out to face them, for YHWH is with you.”
The Hebrew people did not have to do a single thing, other than stand and watch the salvation of YHWH on their behalf! They stood and sang praises to YHWH as they watched the enemies in front of them:
2 Chronicles 20:22-24
When they began singing and praising, YHWH set ambushes against the sons of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; so they were struck down. For the sons of Ammon and Moab rose up against the inhabitants of Mount Seir, completely destroying them; and when they had finished with the inhabitants of Seir, they helped to destroy one another.
When Judah came to the watchtower of the wilderness, they turned toward the multitude, and behold, they were corpses lying on the ground, and there was no survivor.
The Hebrew people stood and watched as their enemies turned on each other and fell down. This was the great lesson. We will stand and our enemies will fall down. In the end, the righteous will stand and reflect on the mighty power of YHWH:
The wicked are overthrown and are no more, but the house of the righteous will stand [ya-a’mod].
YHWH always stood for His people, and all He asked was that they stand for Him, in return:
2 Chronicles 29:11
[Hezekiah, king of Judah:] My sons, do not be negligent now, for YHWH has chosen you to stand [la-a’mod] before Him, to serve Him, and to be His ministers and burn incense.
YHWH chose to stand for Israel and all who stood in the House of YHWH would stand in His awesome Presence:
Praise the name of YHWH; praise Him, you servants of YHWH, you who stand [om’dim] in the house of YHWH, in the courtyards of the house of our God! Praise YHWH, for YHWH is good; sing praises to His name, for it is lovely.
For YHWH has chosen Jacob for Himself, Israel as His own possession. For I know that YHWH is great and that our Lord is above all gods.
If you’re going to stand up for a god, stand for YHWH who is above all gods, for He is the God who’s righteousness stands forever:
I will give thanks to YHWH with all my heart, in the company of the upright and in the assembly.
Great are the works of YHWH; they are studied by all who delight in them.
Splendid and majestic is His work, and His righteousness stands forever [omedet la-ad].
Standing for the God who Defeats Death
YHWH was and is the God of Life. And over and over we read that He was the God who would save us. But what do we need saving from?
Humans originally stood and walked alongside God in the Garden of Eden. But they made a terrible decision to disobey God and try to be gods of their own making. Their decision barred them from Eden and they were sent into the wilderness where death reigned. If YHWH was the God of Life and order, His Adversary stood for everything YHWH was not. The Adversary (ha-Satan) was the promoter of Death and Chaos… and the wilderness was his kingdom.
We were sent into the wilderness (by our own choosing) but we were never meant to stay there. YHWH would not leave His people abandoned in the wilderness. He put a plan into place to bring them home.
The plan of YHWH stands [ta-a’mod], the plans of His heart from generation to generation.
God revealed His plan to the prophet Ezekiel when he came across dry bones in the wilderness. In front of Ezekiel’s eyes, YHWH reformed the bones into living beings and breathed life back into them:
So I (Ezekiel) prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath entered them, and they came to life and stood [wai-ya-am’du] on their feet, an exceedingly great army.
This was a God who stood against death. He was the God of Life… and He could take death and turn it on it’s head.
The Messiah: Standing as a Signal
Ezekiel’s vision was a forerunner of a greater miracle. YHWH would send an Anointed One (a Messiah) to turn death on it’s head.
Isaiah prophesied that the Messiah would come from the line of Jesse:
Isaiah 11:1-4, 10
Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, and a Branch from his roots will bear fruit.
The Spirit of YHWH will rest on Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and strength, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of YHWH.
And He will delight in the fear of YHWH, and He will not judge by what His eyes see, nor make decisions by what His ears hear; but with righteousness He will judge the poor, and decide with fairness for the humble of the earth; and He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked…
…Then on that day the nations will resort to the root of Jesse, who will stand [omed] as a signal flag for the peoples; and His resting place will be glorious.
The Messiah would stand as a signal for what YHWH would do. He would stand as the great Shepherd to lead His people back home… back to the Garden so that we could stand and walk beside YHWH:
“But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you One will come forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His times of coming forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity.”
Therefore He will give them up until the time when she who is in labour has given birth. Then the remainder of His kinsmen will return to the sons of Israel.
And He will
arise stand [w-amad] and shepherd His flock in the strength of YHWH, in the majesty of the name of YHWH His God.
And they will remain, because at that time He will be great to the ends of the earth. This One will be our peace.
This Anointed One would be the peace… the fulfillment… of YHWH’s plan.
Heaven and Earth will Stand Before Me, says YHWH
The prophet Zechariah envisioned a great battle, when YHWH would stand on the Mount of Olives and bring His holy family with Him:
Then YHWH will go forth and fight against those nations, as when He fights on a day of battle. On that day His feet will stand [w-am’du] on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from east to west forming a very large valley. Half of the mountain will move toward the north, and the other half toward the south. And you will flee by the valley of My mountains, for the valley of the mountains will reach to Azel; yes, you will flee just as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then YHWH, my God, will come, and all the holy ones with Him!
Who were the holy ones? They were those who stood alongside YHWH:
“For just as the new heavens and the new earth, which I make, will
endure stand [om’dim] before Me,” declares YHWH, “so will your descendants and your name stand [ya-a’mod].
And it shall be from new moon to new moon and from Sabbath to Sabbath, all mankind will come to bow down before Me,” says YHWH.
Eventually all would bow down to Him, but the holy ones stood beside Him long before that fateful day.
An Invitation to Sit Down
Standing in the Presence of YHWH will be a wonderful thing! But Yeshua took it one step further. His sacrifice would not only allow us to stand in YHWH’s presence, it would allow us to sit down beside Him!
[Jesus:] Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. The one who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat with My Father on His throne.
Yeshua stands in front of us and asks to be let in. If we open the door to Him we will be the recipients of God’s greatest gift… He will invite us to sit upon His throne!
That is the kind of God we have… a god like no other!… a God who wants to bring us home, to sit with Him and eat at His table. Death has no sting because it just brings us home, where we can put our feet up and live joyfully in the glow of God’s presence. Oh what a wonderful day that will be!
Next week: SANCTUARY