what's in a name

In many cultures personal names can be little more than labels to distinguish one person from another. Sometimes nicknames are chosen which tell something about a person, and in big families in some countries you can simply be called by a number because there are so many children.

To a lot of people the name God mean little more than an idea of a supreme being. It says little to them about God’s character, His ways, and what God means to each of us as human beings.

But God does reveal himself by the many names He uses in the Bible to describe and distinguish Himself from others to us, and to help us to understand who He is and His character, His works, and His relationship to us. It’s worth getting to know His name/s because when we understand Him better we can relate, depend and connect with Him on a deeper level.

In the Bible the names that God uses to describe Himself to us are ‘like miniature portraits and promises”.

I’ve grown to know Him more as I’ve deepened my understanding of His name and how He reveals Himself through them.

Here are just a few of my favourites.

YAHWEH-JIREH: “The Lord Will Provide” (Genesis 22:14) He wants to provide for all our needs both physically, emotionally, spiritually and mentally.

YAHWEH-RAPHA: “The Lord Who Heals” (Exodus 15:26) – “I am Jehovah who heals you” both in body and soul.

EL SHADDAI:God Almighty,” ALL Sufficiency “(Genesis 49:24; Psalm 132:2,5) His name speaks of His ultimate power over all and that we have everything we need in Him.

YAHWEH-SHALOM:The Lord Our Peace”(Judges 6:24) He is the one who calms our minds and hearts and brings peace to our souls if we would only let Him.

YAHWEH-ROHI:The Lord Our Shepherd”(Psalm 23:1) – After David pondered his relationship as a shepherd to his sheep, he realized that was exactly the relationship God had with him, and so he declares, “Yahweh-Rohi is my Shepherd. I shall not want” (Psalm 23:1).

YAHWEH-SHAMMAH:The Lord Is There” (Ezekiel 48:35). He promises that He will never leave us or forsake us and that He is always there. When we get to know that the Lord is there we need never fear being alone again.

YAHWEH-SABAOTH:The Lord of Hosts” (Isaiah 1:24; Psalm 46:7) – Hosts means “hordes,” both of angels and of men. He is Lord of the host of heaven and of the inhabitants of the earth. The name is expressive of the majesty, power, and authority of God and shows that He is able to accomplish what He determines to do. Nothing is too big for Him to handle.

EL-OLAM:Everlasting God” (Psalm 90:1-3) – God’s nature is without beginning or end, free from all constraints of time, and He contains within Himself the very cause of time itself. “From everlasting to everlasting You are God.”

Getting to know God takes time, and like any relationship you aren’t going to get to know Him fully in 5 minutes. But amazingly He does invite us to get to know Him – GOD HIMSELF, the creator of the universe, who is full of all majesty, power and might. Who still heals, works miracles, provides and who is just, true and right. A God who is always there.

Psalm 91 is an amazing promise to us when he know and acknowledge God’s name.  There is the promise of salvation, protection, deliverance, love and much more to those who know His name. I encourage you to read the whole of Psalm 91 but the last few verses say: 

“Because he loves me” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
He will call on me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.” (Psalm 91:14-16)

There’s an open invitation that God gives to know Him and the promises that are hidden in knowing His name.

Jesus said in John 17:3, “And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”

Why not take Him up on His offer to know Him and take some time to seek Him out and to read His promises in the bible so that you can get to know the one who is your peace-giver, comforter, healer, provider, all sufficiency, and who is consistently there for you.

Prayer: Lord I want to know you more and to understand your name and what it means. Please help me to discover you more and the promises that you have given me better today. In Jesus name Amen.