Did you have a nickname growing up? If so, you may have earned the moniker because of your personality, physical appearance, or a significant event in your life. For instance, years ago our pastor in Wyoming called our young daughter “Peaches” because her limited hair reminded him of the fuzz on a peach.
Choosing a Name
In ancient times, names held great significance. They were intimately connected to the essence of the person. Knowledge of a person’s name provided knowledge of their nature. Hebrew names particularly reflected the character or destiny of the individual.
Therefore, names were chosen carefully. For instance, God the Father used the angel to tell Joseph what to name His Son. In the first chapter of Matthew we learn the reason for the names. “Jesus” means “the LORD saves” and “Immanuel” means “God with us.” These names accurately reflect Jesus’ nature and purpose.
Power of a Name
In the Bible, the many names of God express His character, nature, and ways. Although our finite minds can never fully know or understand our infinite God, we can learn more about God by studying His names in Scripture. God has chosen to reveal specific things about Himself and graciously help us better understand His character and nature through His names.
“Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?” (Exodus 3:13, NIV).
Here in Exodus 3, Moses asked God His name. The Hebrew word translated as “name” in verse 13 is “shem.” It can be a synonym for “reputation” or “fame.” Moses – and the rest of the Hebrews – needed a sense of God’s character and power. They needed to know if their God could deliver them from the hand of Pharaoh.
What situation do you face today that needs your God’s intervention? Perhaps you need to remember an aspect of His character. Maybe you need to contemplate His power and authority. Reflecting on His names will expand your understanding of our great God and build your trust in His provision.
July is Theology month at Do Not Depart
Throughout the month of July, the Do Not Depart team will be exploring some of the names of God found in Scripture. Our goal is to understand, embrace, and actively respond to the truths God reveals to us about Himself through His names. I can hardly wait!
Let’s talk now!
Let’s start talking about God’s names now! What is your favorite name for God in the Bible and why?