During my nursing career one of my favorite work experiences was in the Newborn Nursery. It was great fun to see the name that parents would give their newborn. Some would name their child after a favorite relative or friend. Others reflected the current pop culture or a famous person. Some were chosen because they were ranked #1 in the book of baby names. However, some were just plain weird. I would just have to look at that beautiful baby and shake my head – “You poor thing, what were they thinking?”
While newborns have no choice about the name they receive, God has determined the names by which He is known through His revelation to his people.
We know what God is like not only by the name He had called Himself (Yahweh) but by His names as revealed to specific people in relationship with Him.
God created us to have a love relationship with Him. He pursues a love relationship with us because we do not naturally seek it on our own. As we participate in this relationship we come to know and understand God’s character.
God relates to each of us in a way that is unique to us because He knows our past, what the future holds for us and the circumstances of our present.
There are many names describing God’s character but the following are especially meaningful to me because they represent His revelation of Himself to me personally.
- Yahweh Tsidkenu – The Lord Our Righteousness. Before I came to know Jesus, I thought it was all about me – could I be good enough; could I keep all the rules. When I realized I could do neither, I asked Jesus to be my Savior and do for me what I could not do for myself. Then I realized it was all about Him. When He became my Savior He clothed me in His robe of righteousness and finally because of Him, I was good enough.
- Father – the name “Father” is used 15 times in the Old Testament and 245 times in the New Testament. It reflects the attributes of loving care, provision, and discipline. I was blessed with a godly, earthly father who possessed these attributes but as a human being he had limitations. My Heavenly Father does not.
- El Elyon – The Most High God. This name stresses God’s strength, sovereignty and supremacy. Being a control freak, this has been one of the most difficult of God’s names for me to accept. I want to tell God how things should be or become inpatient with His timing. What a relief when I came to understand that because God is in control He is responsible for the outcome – not me! Whew!!
- Yahweh Jireh – The LORD will Provide. This name stresses God’s provision for His people. My years as a single mom were lean years. One month I had $5.00 left in my checking account and had been laid off from my job. I had two teenage sons with big appetites and no money to buy groceries. I walked to the mailbox with a heavy heart. There I found an envelope from my insurance company with a refund check for $250.00 which I had no idea was due me. My Yahweh Jireh had provided.
- El Shaddai – The All Sufficient One. The All Sufficient One is dependent on no one therefore we can trust Him to provide all we need. In 2002 – 2003, in a span of four months, God called home three men who had loved and encouraged me in different seasons of my life – my father, my first husband and father of my children and my second husband. During that time God met my physical needs, my material needs, my emotional needs and most importantly my spiritual needs. The All Sufficient One was enough.
- El Roi – The Lord Who Sees. We had arrived in Singapore at 1 am in the morning so when we arrived at our daughter’s home we were exhausted and went straight to bed. I awoke later that morning at 8 am to the refrain of Amazing Grace being sung in Chinese from a little church across the street from our daughter’s apartment. We were on the other side of the world and God was there. How reassuring that His presence is always with us no matter where life takes us.
The most significant lesson we can learn from the many names describing God’s character is how much God wants us to know Him. He was continually at work expanding and revealing Israel’s knowledge of Him through the circumstances of their lives – and so He does in our lives as well .
Truth to Claim: God wants to reveal Himself to us.
Application: Thank God that he reveals His character to us through His names.
Solo Deo Gloria