Do you know God? I mean, do you actually know Him? You may know that He is a good good Father (thanks to the song by Chris Tomlin!), or as the Shepherd in Psalm 23. But beyond the common names for God, many of us struggle to think of more than a few of His names.
We are told over and over in the Bible to trust the Lord, to have confidence in Him, to live by faith. But how can you trust someone you don’t really know? Take, for example, a young child: his father places him on a small ledge and encourages the boy to jump into his arms - where, naturally, the father lovingly catches him. The boy knows that his father will catch him and so is willing to take the risk to jump. But if a stranger stands there and tells the boy to jump into his arms, the child is much more wary of doing so. Why? Because the boy doesn’t know the stranger and if he can be trusted.
We will only trust someone as much as we know them. In the same way, we will only place our lives in the care of the Lord as much as we know Him. If we only know Him as Father and Shepherd, we will only trust Him to a limited extent. But what if we knew more about His character and that He could be trusted? What if we saw Him in a much greater light - if we personally knew that He is faithful, that He will provide for our needs or that He is the God who sees us?
“And those who know Your name put their trust in You.” (Psalm 9:10)
The Lord progressively reveals Himself throughout scripture with His names. In the Bible, names often reflect a person’s character. There are literally dozens of names of God, including King of Glory, Prince of Peace, and Alpha and Omega, all of which highlight an attribute or character trait of God. A few of my favourite names of God are:
Jehovah-Sabaoth (LORD of Hosts / Armies)
Jehovah-Sabaoth is used to describe a God who delivers when there is no human way out of a situation. Remember the story of David and Goliath? After Goliath had taunted the Israelites for 40 days, David comes on the scene. This young man had seen the Lord deliver him from the lion and the bear, and knew that the same Lord would now deliver him from the Philistines. David replied to Goliath, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty (Jehovah-Sabaoth), the God of the armies of Israel” (1 Samuel 17:45). You know the rest of the story - David then killed Goliath with nothing more than a stone.
I AM THAT I AM
Oh how I love this name! When God was sending Moses back to Egypt to free the Israelites, Moses was understandably skeptical and asks what His name is. “God said to Moses, ‘I AM THAT I AM’. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: “I AM has sent me to you’” (Exodus 3:14). In using this name, God was essentially saying, “I am everything that you need me to be in every circumstance”. And if you continue reading in Exodus, you will see that I AM THAT I AM was more than enough for all their needs and difficulties.
Immanuel (God With Us)
Imagine! God With Us!!! Romans 8:11 says, “The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you.” Yes, God Himself, the creator of the universe, is with you – all day, every day, for your entire life – He is always there with you and for you. All the resources of heaven are available to you through Immanuel!
These are just three examples of the names of God. In studying more aspects of His character, do you now see Him in a different light? In learning more about who the Lord is, are you feeling encouraged, more hopeful or thankful? I pray that you will take time to learn more about who this awesome God is! Spend some time looking into what His names mean and then apply that to your life. As you begin to see Him in bigger way, watch your trust in Him abound!!!!
- Sheri Price, HoPE Volunteer Staff member