Monday, 02 December 2013 10:54

What’s in a Name?

Written by  Pamela Boswell, Eastwood Counseling Center
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Who named you? For whom are you named? What does your name mean? Do you have a nickname? What do those who know you best call you? In getting to know people, one of the first things we do is learn their name and tell them ours. That is exactly what God does in the Bible. He reveals His names as well as His character so that we might know Him better.


One of the greatest needs any human has is true knowledge of God. Yet God is unknowable unless He reveals Himself to us. Throughout the scriptures we are instructed to seek God and gain knowledge of Him. This is for our good. In 2 Peter 1 we are told that grace and peace will be multiplied through the knowledge of God, and that all things that pertain to life and godliness have been given to us through the knowledge of Him. In Colossians 1 we are instructed that in order to walk in a manner worthy of our Lord, bearing fruit, we are to increase our knowledge of Him. As we become acquainted with God we learn some of His names which express His multifaceted personality. There are hundreds of names that refer to God in the Bible, here are just a few.


In the beginning God created the earth. The first name used for God is the Hebrew word Elohim. Elohim is the name of God as the creator. This establishes an important fact, He is the Creator and everything else is the created. He is often described as the potter and we are the clay. He makes us into the vessels He wants for the purpose He has planned. This may seem simple but it is very basic in beginning to truly understand God ---who is the blessed controller of everything, including the circumstances of our lives.


Later as the story of the Bible unfolds, Moses encounters God in the burning bush. Moses asked God what name to use to tell the Jewish people who sent him. God said “I Am” which is Yahweh in Hebrew, or Jehovah in Latin. In essence, when Moses said “Who are you?” in Exodus 3:15, God said “I Am Who I Am.” The implications and meaning of this are great. He is self-existent and unchanging. He always was, He is, He always will be and He has no dependence. He needs nothing, not even us.


Yet we depend on Him for everything. In Genesis 22:8, Abraham traveled to Moriah to make a burnt offering instructed by God. Along the way, Abraham told Isaac that God would provide the sacrificial lamb needed. God did provide for Abraham and He provided the sacrificial lamb we need for reconciliation with Him. Jehovah-Jireh, the Lord will provide, is the name to call on in our times of need as well.


When life seems out of control and worry tends to creep into our minds, the name El-Shaddai can remind us that our God is almighty. Nothing is too hard for Him or beyond His power. In Psalm 47 He is described as the Most High or El Elyon. He rules over everything, even the things that may make you sad or angry or fearful. God is a great Ruler.


Not only is He powerful, He is wise and good.  Nothing is beyond God’s sight. He is El Roi, The God who sees. In Genesis 16 when Hagar ran away into the wilderness and fell down crying in despair, God saw her and took care of her. Hagar learned much about God through this experience. Psalm 34 tells us that the eyes of the Lord are everywhere seeing evil and good.


And though He is all powerful and full of majesty and wisdom, He is also our Jehovah-Rohi, the Lord my shepherd. Night and day He tenderly loves and cares for us. Each one of His sheep is special to Him. If one wanders away, He leaves the 99 to bring it back into the fold (Luke 15). He wants to comfort and guide us.


Who are the people you trust? How well do you know them?  When you are in trouble who do you call? God intends for you to call on Him no matter your need or situation. The better you know God, the easier it is for you to trust Him and call on His name. By what name are you calling on Him and on what aspects of His character should you be calling today? True peace and lasting joy comes from knowing God. What name are you calling?








Last modified on Thursday, 02 January 2014 10:57
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