In my last post, I talked about going to God in worship when we are feeling overwhelmed and facing a crisis. I have been pondering this as I am developing a habit of worship for myself. How can I worship God if I don’t know WHO HE IS? I am wrestling with this concept that, yes, I can KNOW God…not just know about him. But, this feels so out of reach when I cannot even comprehend all the great vastness of who he truly is! And, yet, He invites us to learn of him. In fact, these words of J. I. Packer illuminate the need to study him, to pursue him and learn more and more of who he is – his character and ways.
Disregard the study of God, and you sentence yourself to stumble and blunder through life blindfolded, as it were, with no sense of direction and no understanding of what surrounds you. This way you can waste your life and lose your soul.– J. I. Packer, Knowing God
Names Have Meaning
When my children were still in the womb, my husband and I spent many hours pouring over baby name websites. We knew that names had meanings and we wanted to choose carefully what we would be calling our children. We hoped that their names would be reflected in their personalities and character. In the Scriptures we see that God even changed some names to better reflect what he was doing in their lives. While still childless, Abram became Abraham – Father of Multitudes; Sarai became Sarah – Mother of Nations.
Names of God Reveal His Character
In the same way, all throughout the Old Testament, God reveals more of his character in the names that he gives for himself. In fact, a quick search of the internet will generate multiple lists of all the names of God. One site I found has compiled a list of 955 different names for God or descriptions of God found in the Bible. There is so much to study and try to understand. But there is a danger here, as well. If we are not careful, we can get caught up in the tedium of knowing about God instead of learning to know him. As J. I. Packer said,
Our aim in studying the Godhead must be to know God himself better. Our concern must be to enlarge our acquaintance, not simply with the doctrine of God’s attributes, but with the living God whose attributes they are…We must seek, in studying God, to be led to God. It was for this purpose that revelation was given, and it is to this use that we must put it.J. I. Packer, Knowing God
God revealed his name to people who had a relationship with him. He wants us to get to know him, not just know about him.
God Invites Us To Know Him By Telling Us His Name
When you meet someone new, what is the first thing you do? You tell each other your names! I find that God made his intention of having relationships with people clear the moment he started to tell them his name. When we adopted our dog, he had a name, but the name didn’t really fit him so we naturally started calling him by various other names until one seemed to be the right fit. Now, his name is Stinker. But, we actually call him by several names – Stinker, Stinkamarinkadink (yes, we actually sink the song!), Puppy, Muttly Mutt, etc. In the same way, God has more than one name and He has told them to us. Actually, He told us many names! And each of those names reveals a little bit more of who He really is. He desires for us to know and experience His presence.
“Just as it is one thing to know about fire and quite another to experience its light, warmth and burn, God invites us to know him, not just about him.”– Lisa Bevere, Without Rival
Here are just a few of the names that God has revealed to us.
- Jehovah-Jireh (My Provider)
- El-Elohe-Israel (Mighty God of Israel)
- Jehovah-Shalom (God of Peace)
- Jehovah-Rafa (God Who Heals)
- Yahshuah – (God Who Rescues)
Calling God By Name (Prayer)
God has revealed his names because he wants to be with us. He wants to stand by our side as we walk through this crazy world, as we grow and learn. He gave us access to him as his children and we are allowed to call out to him BY NAME!
- When we are lacking resources, we can pray to Jehovah-Jireh for provision.
- When we are anxious…Jehovah Shalom will bring us peace.
- When we are sick…..Jehovah-Rafa brings healing.
So, when you are facing a crisis, big or small, turn to Him with all your concerns. It just so happens, He is also the God who Hears, the God who Rescues. He is El-Elohe-Israel – mightier than any problem we might face!