I have a secret! My mother is a phenomenal and sought after speaker, and she is a secret weapon in my writing arsenal! Every time I finish a piece that I want to post, I call her and seek her advise. I often need her to come up with that one word that is on the tip of my tongue but I just can’t think of, and she is an invaluable resource for grammar! I am now taking that secret weapon a bit further – I have confiscated the notes of one of her prized speeches, and have weaved parts of it into this post!
At the first introduction to others, we exchange names. From then on, we struggle to remember the other person’s name! It warms our heart and makes us feel special when others know our name, because our names are important to us, and should be. Solomon wrote that “a good name is better than great riches.” And he knew. He had both, then lost his good name.
In Bible times, names meant much more than they do today. They represented the character, personality, and essence of the person. God named the first man Adam, meaning mankind. (Gen. 5:2) God changed Abram’s name to Abraham, “the father of many nations.” (Gen. 17:5) When God told Abraham and Sarah in their old age that they would have a baby, they laughed. (Gen. 17:17; 18:12) So they named their son Isaac, meaning laughter. (Gen. 21:3) Rachel, as she was dying, named her newborn Ben-oni, Son of my sorrow. (Gen. 35:18) His daddy, Jacob, renamed him Benjamin, Son of my right hand.
In the fairly recent history of man, names generally originated from sources that carried meaning such as geographical location. If a family lived on the bank of a river, Atwater might become their surname. My maiden name is Tweedy. While my family genealogy is from Ireland, the name is derived from the owner of the lands of Tweedie which were along the valley of the river Tweed in Scotland.
Vocations also became surnames: Cook, Baker, Taylor, or Potter. My mother’s maiden name is Sexton. Sextons were caretakers, keepers, and wardens of church grounds. One’s father’s name came to be a surname as well: Johnson, Thompson, Benson.
Even God Almighty has chosen to introduce Himself to us through His names. Behind every name of God, He reveals to us His presence, person, character, and attributes. Each time God tells us His name, He opens an avenue for us to grow in greater trust, love, and knowledge of Him. Through His name, God tells us Who He was, Who He is, and Who He will be, for God is immutable, He never changes. (Heb. 13:8; James 1:17; Is. 40:8) No single word or name can adequately convey the idea or rightly reveal all the facets of our God. Yet to get to know God, we must get to know Him by name, and it is an exciting adventure that ensures safety and peace in our lives. Truly knowing Him is the greatest claim and highest ambition of our lives.
1 Corinthians 13:7 says “Love believes all things.”, and always trusts. 1 John 4:18 says “Perfect love casts out fear.” If we will press in and know our Lord, we will not fear the things of earth, but believe in and trust Him in all things – because we know Him, we know Him by name. We can be like Paul and say “For I know Whom I have believed.” The Hebrew word translated “trust” is Batach. Its reference is to reliance or belief in a person or object. Knowing God’s names and what they mean is a secret to trusting in Him.
Robert Louis Stevenson tells of a storm that caught and threatened a ship and its passengers. In the midst of the brutal and frightening storm, one man, contrary to orders, made the perilous journey to the pilothouse. He saw the captain at his post holding the wheel unwaveringly. The pilot turned and smiled at the man. That daring man made his way down below to the other frightened passengers and shouted out a welcome and comforting assurance. “I have seen the face of the pilot, and he smiled. All is well.” As we come to know the names of our Pilot, it is as though we have seen His face smiling, and we can say “All is well!”
Scripture is bursting with promises, blessings, strength, peace, and safety through the Name of our God. “The Name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous run into it, and they are safe!” (Proverbs 18:10) “And those who know Your name will put their trust in You.” (Ps. 9:10) “We trust in the name of the LORD our God.” (Ps. 20: 7) “If two or three gather together in my Name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Matt. 18:20) “Whoever calls upon the name of the LORD will be delivered.” (Joel 2:32) “Because he has loved Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on securely on high because he has known My name.” (Ps. 91: 14) David came against Goliath “in the name of the Lord of Hosts!”…and won. (1 Sam. 17:45) Elijah had a bit of fun with the prophets of Baal at Mount Carmal. “Then you call on the name of your god and I will call upon the name of the LORD, and the god that answers by fire – he is God.” (1 Kings 18:24) Guess who won that little contest. If you want a kick – and to see the power of the name of the Lord – read 1 Kings 18:16-45. Total hysterical riot! 🙂
I will be taking this blog through a study in which we can know our God through His names. Among many, we will study Jehovah Jireh, our Provider; Jehovah Shalom, our Peace; Adonay, our Lord and Master; El Roi, the God who sees even me; El Shaddai, our Sufficiency; El Elyon, the most high God, the strongest Strong One, All-Powerful, All-Sufficient Creator, Possessor of heaven and earth! I will, of course, write on other topics as they arise, but this will become the theme of this blog for a time: to come to know God by name.
God is jealous for His name. He has worked great and mighty works for His Name’s sake. His name is Who He is, and for good reason. We must be careful to not take the name of the Lord in vain. (Ex. 20:7) According to Webster’s dictionary, Vain means to have no real value or significance; to be worthless or empty; to be without force or effect; to be unprofitable or useless. God sees taking His name in vain as serious business, and so should we.
So come with me, my friends, let us be humbled, yet bold in this exciting journey of passionate pursuit! “The people who know their God will display strength and take action” Daniel said. May our prayer be that of Jacob the night he wrestled with God, “Please, tell me your name.” (Gen. 32:29) Knowing the Names of your God will forever alter the course of your life, and the appetite of your soul! Let’s take action and learn of our God, our Righteousness, Protector, Strength, Banner, Peace, Healer, Provider, Shepherd, Leader, and Victory, for this God is our God forever and ever: He will be our Guide even unto death! For in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength!! (Ps. 48:14; Is. 26:4) Hallowed, holy, high and lifted up, to be honored is His name! O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is Your name!