What’s in a Name? – Part 2


Yesterday, we looked at some of the name changes in the Bible. We also saw the promise that is given to believers in Revelation 2:17, of a new name selected for each of us and known only by God. Obviously, names are very significant to God. This applies to not only people, but God Himself.

The other night at dinner things were getting a little rowdy. I’m sure that it hard for you to believe with five children around the table. Anyhow, our oldest, Taylor, suggested a game to play to try and calm things down. She said, “let’s go around the table and think of the various names of God.” I was awe struck by the answers our three older children gave. They started out with all the ones people generally think of God, Father, Son, Holy Spirit, Savior, and Lord. However, they didn’t stop there. They went deeper into the various aspects of God’s character and what that reminded them of. For example, one of our sons mentioned that Christ was like a diamond; pure, precious and able to reflect light, whereas humans are simply rocks without God. Our other son mentioned that God was like a tree rooted deep in truths and with branches outstretching to the world. The oldest simply blew me away when she was explaining to the other kids the difference between “LORD”, meaning the Hebrew word YHWH (Yahweh) and “Lord”, meaning master. This immediately brought to mind something that I absolutely love to study — the Hebrew names of God.

There are several names for God, but these are some of the ones that really struck me. The first one would be Elohim, which means universal Creator. This is seen in Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” The next name is Adonai meaning master or Lord. This is first seen in Genesis 15:2, “O Sovereign Lord.” We have already talked about YHWH, which is an inexplicable name, beyond our imagination. Hebrews used to believe that this name for God was so sacred that it couldn’t be uttered. It is translated in your Bibles when you see LORD in all capitals, such as in Genesis 12:1, “The LORD had said to Abram…” The next name, El Roi, brings me so much comfort. El Roi means the God who sees. There is nothing that misses God’s gaze. He will take care of everything in His way and in His time. It can be seen in Genesis 16:13, She [Hagar] gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.” I just love that about God. The name El Shaddai, God Almighty, in seen in Genesis 17:1, “When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty, walk before me and be blameless.” The final name that I would like to leave you with today is El Olam. It means eternal God, as seen in Genesis 21:33, “Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba, and there he called upon the name of the LORD, the eternal God.” God is not only the Creator of all, but also eternal, from beginning to end. How awesome is that?

This is by no means an inexhaustible list of the names of God. I encourage you to open the Bible and study for yourself. If you have a favorite name or attribute of God, I would love for you to comment and share with others. This is one of the best ways to study and reach out to others.

Since names, especially in the Bible, were given with significant representation to an individual‘s character, then God, with His various attributes, can not possibly be held to only one name. Which of God’s names or attributes are you clinging to today?

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