“I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.” John 17:6
Knowing a person’s name is the first step in human relationships. A name is powerful because it is the expression of a person’s unique identity, the embodiment of his very essence, attributes, and character.
In the Old Testament, God revealed Himself through His name.
We first encounter a class of names in the Bible pertaining to God: “El, Elohim, El Shaddai, El Elyon”, referring to “the strong and mighty One”. So the first thing we need to know about God is to realize His absolute might, strength and power. He is God Almighty, there is no limit to His power. He is the Creator, originator, and sustainer of everything that exists.
The name God revealed to Moses was the great name Jehovah, which in Hebrew is represented by the four letters YHWH. It means the self-sufficient and self-existent One from eternity to eternity, the One who increasingly reveals Himself to His people.
Jehovah is the name of God in His relationship to mankind. The God of eternity and glory takes the first step to reach down to humanity, in spite of all its sins and shortcomings. Other names are appended to the name “Jehovah”, and in these various names are incorporated God’s promises to His people.
Jehovah-Jireh: “The Lord will provide”. In our deepest needs, when we come to God in prayer, we are to remind ourselves that the Lord has promised to provide.
Jehovah-Rapha: “The Lord who heals”. God has the power to heal us of our diseases, and most of all the power to heal us of the ultimate disease, sin itself.
Jehovah-Nissi: “The Lord our banner”. God enables us to obtain victory over foes in this life.
Jehovah-Shalom: “The Lord our Peace”. When we are in the midst of turmoil in our lives, we can go to God because He has promised to give us peace.
Jehovah-Ro’eh: “The Lord is my Shepherd”. Because He is our Shepherd, we shall not want.
Jehovah-Tsidkenu: “The Lord our Righteousness”. God is the source of our righteousness, and not we ourselves.
Jehovah-Shammah: “The Lord is always present”. God is always with us, throughout all our experiences in life, especially during times of trouble.
These then are the attributes of God. But yet in spite of the revelations of His name, mankind still could not really know God. This is because there is no true knowledge of God except in and through Jesus Christ. He is the way, the truth and the life, and no one comes to the Father except through Him. (John 14:6)
Through Christ we come to realize that God’s name is ultimately Love, as He has loved us with an everlasting love. And by knowing God as love, we can appropriate for ourselves the gracious and precious promises embodied in His name, among them are His provision, healing, victory, peace, and His loving and abiding presence in our lives.
*** Reference: Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Safe in the World, The Assurance of our Salvation, Crossway Books, Illinois, 1988, pp. 44-54
*** Photography: Tree of Light by J. Philipson
God’s character, His personality, and His essence are described to us in each of the Names that He’s shared with mankind, so that we can have a sure hope of salvation in every area of our existence. And, as you said, that care for us cannot be better described than in the four-letter word L-O-V-E, His ultimate expression to us. Well said, Dee!
Thank you, Lester. Truly, we can ultimately call God by the name “Love”, because He is Love, and we are fortunate to be His very own children!
A pleasure to say His name, to sing it, to hold it in our hearts 🙂
What a lovely way to behold God’s name, Eric. I especially love the phrase “to hold it in our hearts”. 🙂