North Side Daily Devotional

Thursday, May 28, 2020

What’s In a Name


Thursday, May 28, 2020

What’s In a Name

Then Moses said to God, "Behold, I am going to the sons of Israel, and I will say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you.' Now they may say to me, 'What is His name?' What shall I say to them?" God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM"; and He said, "Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you.'" God, furthermore, said to Moses, "Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, 'The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.' This is My name forever, and this is My memorial-name to all generations.  (Exodus 3:13-15)

The name of God holds an important key to understanding the doctrine of God and the doctrine of revelation.  We cannot separate the person of God from the name of God. It is in his name we find the person, personality, and the character of God revealed.  

The size of your faith can be directly related to your understanding of who God is.

The name of God is a personal disclosure and reveals His relationship with His people. His name is known only because He chooses to make it known.  The truth of God's character is focused in His name.  The divine name reveals God's power, authority, holiness and His relationship to His creation.  To the Hebrew mind, God was both hidden and revealed, transcendent and immanent.  Even though He was mysterious, lofty, and unapproachable, He bridged the gap with humankind by revealing His name.

Before Moses' encounter with God in the desert, God was known generally as the God of the Fathers.  Various names were used for God under this conception, most of which were associated with the primitive Semitic word El. El is a generic term for God or deity.  The word El refers to an awesome power that instills within humankind a mysterious dread or reverence.

One of the most interesting uses of El is its alliance with other terms to reveal the character of God.  Some of these combinations are: El-Shaddai "The Almighty God," El-Elyon "The Most High God," or El-Olam "God the Everlasting One"

Elohim is a plural form for deity. It is a frequently used term and the most comprehensive of the El combinations.  The plurality of this word is not a hint of polytheism. It is a plural of majesty. It is a revelation of the infinite nature of God.  In the creation narrative, we read: "Then Elohim said, 'Let us make man in our image.'" (Gen. 1:26)  God is absolute, infinite Lord over creation and history. The Christian sees in this term a pointer to the trinitarian reality of creation.

The Covenant Name

God revealed Himself to Moses with the name, “I AM WHO I AM” and told Him He was the first to know His name.  The covenant name for God was "Yahweh" which appears in English translations as Jehovah or YHWH.  Israel's faith was a new response to God based on His disclosure. This name was so unique and powerful that God formed a covenant with His people based upon his self-revelation.  Therefore, El was replaced with YHWH.  Hence, Yahweh-Jireh "The Lord will Provide," Yahweh-Nissi "The Lord is my Banner,” etc.

The names of God represent the full character and power of God.  We call on God in prayer for power, deliverance, peace, healing, righteousness, etc. because He IS all of these things.  As we review some of the names of God this week, we will have opportunity to call upon His name knowing that He is able to answer our prayer.

This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and
Jesus Christ whom You have sent. John 17:3

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