Jehovah Sneaky

You might be familiar with names for God such as Jehovah Nissi (“God is my banner”) and Jehovah Rapha (“God the healer”), but how about… Jehovah Sneaky?

When it comes to linguistic creativity and verbal imagination, nobody takes the top prize like the Christians in the charismatic and “prophetic” movements. There are so many interesting metaphors and images. Sometimes I hardly know where to start as far as sharing all these charismatic and prophetic Christianese treasures. Well, why not start at the very top with names for God?

The Jewish people utter their most important prayers in Hebrew, because that’s the language of the Old Testament. Modern-day Christians, however, aren’t so attached to the ancient Biblical tongues—with the noteworthy exception of the Eastern Orthodox Christians, who very much keep the old Greek words alive in their liturgies. So it’s somewhat special how Christians have held onto some of the old Hebrew and Greek words and turned them into more-or-less everyday words. For example, we still use the Greek words agape (“God’s love”) and koinona (“church community”) pretty regularly.

Where Hebrew really shines in the Christian church nowadays is in names for God. We have Jehovah Nissi, Jehovah Jireh, Jehovah Rapha—and these are just the most popular names for God that start with Jehovah. (We could list lots of more names—for example, who could forget Amy Grant’s compelling worship ballad entitled “El Shaddai”?) People gravitate to all these various names for God because they express basic truths about God’s character: he’s our banner of victory, he’s our provider, he’s our healer and comforter. These names for God are a theology lesson packed into a few phrases that fit on a business card.

Now here’s where the linguistic creativity comes in. About nine years ago somebody invented a new name for God that’s patterned on the traditional Jehovah model. Are you ready for this? Jehovah Sneaky! Like the Biblical Hebrew names for God, the expression Jehovah Sneaky is also intended to communicate a basic attribute of God: in this case, the intended theological lesson is that you can’t really predict what the great “I Am” will be up to from one moment to the next. In fact, he frequently shows up where you least expect him to—and sometimes he shows up where we least want him to! That sneaky God of ours! Always coming in and blessing our socks off!

Do you sometimes refer to God as “Jehovah Sneaky”? What other creative names for God do you use? What is it that these names help you remember?

 

Jehovah Sneaky n. [Patterned after traditional Hebrew epithets for God such as Jehovah rapha ‘God who heals’ and Jehovah jireh ‘God who provides’] A playful epithet for God that is interpreted to mean “God who surprises.” The implication is that God is frequently at work when and where you least expect it.
The coining of the term is sometimes attributed to Bill Johnson of Bethel Church (Redding, California), but early evidence suggests that Paul Cain came up with it (see first two citations for 2004, especially the second one).
2003 Lance Wallnau Real Life and Times (Pasadena, CA) (Dec.) 6 : God thus reveals that in addition to His many names of the Old Testament, Jehovah Rohi and Jehovah Nissi, etc., He is also Jehovah sneaky! 2004 Shona Treasurer openheaven.com (12 Aug.) : Sometimes He surprises me by just turning up unnanounced. Paul Cain has another name for God, “Jehovah Sneaky,” to illustrate this point! 2004 Paul Cain (sermon) (26 Sep.) : I have another name for God. You know we call him Jehovah Jireh and Jehovah Rapha and Jehovah Shalom, and all these things, but I have a revelation of his new name, it’s “Jehovah Sneaky!” He will sneak up on you! 2004 Jason premcaptive.blogspot.com (25 Dec.) : A funny “new name for God” I’ve heard lately: Jehovah Sneaky. 2005 Umidi Transformational Coaching 222 : As my friend Randy Clark says, God thus reveals that in addition to His many names of the Old Testament, Jehovah Rophi and Jehovah Nisi, He is also Jehovah “sneaky”! 2005 Dan Durfee cascadiaconsultation.blogspot.com/ (4 Jun.) : I don’t know who coined this term in the first place but I use it fairly often: “Jehovah Sneaky.” He shows up quite often. 2010 Galloway Supernatural Revolution 47 : Little did I expect what was about to happen. As a good friend of mine often says, “One of God’s names seems to be Jehovah Sneaky.” 2010 Crone Power of Your Life Message 136 : Jehovah Sneaky had goaded me into stepping out of my own limited mind-set and stepping into the place of dreaming dreams bigger than myself: above and beyond what I could ask or think. 2011 Jones Finding Father: A Journey into the Loving Arms of Daddy God 240 : Daddy God still lives up to his lesser known Hebrew name of “Jehovah Sneaky” on a regular basis to access the deep places in me that still need to know love.
  • Damian Yerrick

    Does this include when Jehovah has a pair of lay ministers sneak up to the door of a sinner’s house to give the good news about the coming kingdom?

    • timoteostewart

      Ha ha! Funny. This term actually has nothing to do with Jehovah’s Witnesses, but I like the creative idea you came up with.

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