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Knowing God: It’s All in a Name Part 1

Knowing God’s many names reveals different aspects of His nature and character.

" The people who know their God will be strong and take action" Daniel 11:32.

"And those who know Your name will put their trust in You, For You, Lord, have not abandoned those who seek You". Psalm 9:10.

I just wrote a blog about the power of memories that we capture like photographs in our minds.  We can draw them from memory, relive them, and realize anew the grace of Godin our lives. Today I want to talk about the power of the written word in our lives, especially that of our personal journals. From them too we retrieve a memory, relive it, reminded afresh of the grace of God in that time and place

I am a life-long journaler (not sure if that is word!) and have several tubs of journals that I have filled over the years.  They are all sizes, colors, and materials. My favorite must be my first one!  It is a small 3-ring binder entitled “My Jesus Book” written in bubble letters.  It is full of entries made during my high school years, clippings from meaningful books, cards from friends, and much more.  Another favorite is a lovely Italian leather journal my daughter, Meagan, bought for me while visit Italy.

In the more financially lean periods of my life, my journals consisted of yellow legal pads.  I have several of those!  While looking through these tubs of journals for some good writing material, I ran across a few legal pads, including some dating back to 1990 and 1991.  These were filled with prayer lists from the Prayer Group at my church.  Oh, the joy and sadness of reading the many prayers offered up to the Lord on behalf Community UMC and its people!  Many we prayed for are no longer with us; many I had not thought of for years!  I do remember the faces and tears and smiles of those who prayed each week! How our faith grew in this fledgling prayer group - the first of its kind at Community!

I was so honored to be a part of that fellowship.  I was just beginning my disciple journey.  The wiser and older women of the church took me under their wings, mentoring and nurturing me in faith, prayer life and ministry.  I remember the tender love with which Madeline always rubbed her Bible with her hand when she opened it to read, as if it were the most precious thing in her life.  I remember Lorene praying with her hands open, inviting the Holy Spirit to fill us.  I remember Luella who taught me how to pray the Scriptures in my daily prayers.

We not only prayed, but we studied the Word as well.  One of our early studies  was on the names of God - especially the Hebrew names of God.  It was fascinating to me.  I had never studied that before!  My mind and heart were opened to the character and nature of God in new ways, and this has remained a topic near and dear to my heart.

When I am feeling alone and separated from those who love me, I call on the name El-Roi, “The Who Sees Me”.  I remember how He comforted a desolate Hagar, alone and scared in the Judean wilderness.

I cry out in need to my Jehovah-Jireh, “The Lord My Provider” always cognizant of the numerous times He has provided for me in the past - sometimes just what I needed, sometimes in abundance!

When I feel confused or uncertain, I call on Jehovah-Selah. “The Lord My Rock”.  He knows my uncertainty and to Him I cling, the one thing in my life that is certain and steadfast.

Friends, the enormous value of knowing our God is something I have treasured for most of my life.  It is the most urgent cry of my heart - to know Him more.  I am never alone.  I am always blessed and rewarded with good things in my seeking Him.  The learning of His character through His names is one of the tools that has strengthen my faith tremendously.

So, I am beginning a series of blogs on the Names of God, blossoming from my humble beginnings in prayer and study in a Prayer Group 30+ years ago. (BTW, that Prayer Group is still meeting, studying, and praying in a mighty way for God’s church and His people.  They are among my dearest friends and sisters in Christ.)

As I mentioned, it is through the names of God that we come to know Him better.  God takes His name seriously, as names are in important means of identification and identity.  In ancient Biblical times they carried a powerful significance in that they reflected a person’s character, nature and even destiny.  People’s names somewhat predicted their destiny.  For example, Abraham’s name meant “Father of many nations” and Sarah, his wife’s name, meant “Princess-mother of many nations.”  As Christians, we understand that is exactly what they were!

Knowing God’s many names reveals different aspects of His nature and character.

When you know and understand the meaning and  the story behind the name, your faith, confidence, and trust in your God will strengthen.  Before you begin to examine the first several names of God, read again the key scriptures as these verses speak to the blessings we gain from really knowing God.

Powerful Hebrew Names of God:

EL – “The Strong One”

El is often used alongside other names to give further context to those names. Rarely will you see it alone, but it does remind us of God’s strength and power.

The Lord is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation; He is my God, and I will praise Him; My father’s God, and I will exalt Him. (Exodus 15:2)

ELOHIM – “The Almighty Creator” (pronounced e-lo-HEEM)

The very first verse in the Scriptures use this name for God.  It contains the idea of God’s creative power, as well as His authority and sovereignty.  He spoke and there existed a whole creation out of nothing!  Beyond what our human minds can fathom!  Elohim is the plural form of El.  This is indicative of the Trinity - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  All three were present at the creation.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1)

EL ELYÓN – “The Most High God” (pronounced El el-YOHN)

We know God is beyond what mere words can tell or describe.  This name was often used in times of  worship.  Or to identify the worthiness and loftiness of God; letting all  He is the most exalted and high One!  He is the superlative ONE - no one matches His greatness.  This name reminds us that He is worthy of our worship and our praise and our adoration - in all aspects of our lives.  He is El Elyón.

Then they remembered that God was their rock, And the Most High God their Redeemer. (Psalm 78:35)

9If you make the Lord your refuge if you make the Most High your shelter,10 no evil will conquer you; no plague will come near your home. Psalm 91:9-10

EL-ROI – “The God Who Sees Me” (pronounced El raw-EE)

This is one name that expressed the tenderness of our God.  It comes from the story of Hagar in the 16th chapter of Genesis.  God saw her and rescued her at a great time of despair and need.  I suggest you read the story and take to heart the tender loving care God has for each and every one of His children.

Then she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees; for she said, “Have I also here seen Him who sees me?” (Genesis 16:13)

This is a good start and I pray that you enjoy the journey of discovering the character of God through His Names, revealing the many facets of our one Heavenly Father.

I pray for a richness of faith and confidence in our God as you read and study.





5 thoughts on “Knowing God: It’s All in a Name Part 1”

  1. I love this! What a great idea, well- written and I learned so much. Praying that these names do indeed enrich my worship and faith.

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