(I have been asked to post a series of devotionals that I wrote last fall on the names of God.)
William Shakespeare wrote that “ a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” The beautiful smell of a rose would still be just as real even if that rose had another name. However, for the different names of God in the old Testament that are used to describe each aspect of His character, no other name will suffice. Each name reveals part of His very nature. In the time of the old Testament, a person's name revealed something about the person who held it. For instance Abraham means “a father of a great multitude”, and he was the father of the great Hebrew nation. All the way through the His Word, God explains who He is through His names. If God created and knew us before we were even born (Psalm 139:13-15), we should also know Him by His names.
In the Lord's prayer, the first thing Jesus says after addressing His father in heaven is “hallowed be thy name” (Matthew 6:9, KJV). When we “hallow” something we honor it. It is sacred, precious, and holy. For God to be precious and holy, we exalt Him about all other things. He is our Savior who is worthy of our complete surrender, adoration, and worship. “Stand up and praise the Lord your God,” Nehemiah declared, “who is from everlasting to everlasting. Blessed be your glorious name, and may it be exalted above all blessing and praise (Nehemiah 9:5b, NIV)! God's name is worthy of all praise! We should never treat His name without the respect it is due. “Do not profane my holy name for I must be acknowledged as holy by the Israelites. I am the Lord, who made you holy” (Leviticus 22:32, NIV). We honor the Lord by allowing His name to be revered not only by what we say but how we live. To revere and honor Him, we must know who He is.
I would like to study and explore the spiritual meaning of some of the names of God. Who is God to you? Is He your healer? Is He the Lord who provides? Is He your master? Is He your peace? Do you know Him as your Father? Is He the shepherd who guides you safely? Is He your righteousness? God knows me by my name. I long to know Him by His.
Tomorrow He is El Shaddai, the Lord God Almighty.