We might ask the question, What’s in a name? In our culture a name is just a name, something we are given soon after birth to identify who we are in a family. In some cultures it may have an aspirational meaning for the persons character or future life, but it does not in any real sense tell us who that person is.
My name is Stella, it means star, but no one expects that I will in actual fact be found in the sky, shining brightly at night. When God gives himself a name however, it is different. His names tell us who He really is in essence. In the bible we read that in different places and at different times God calls Himself by various names, and the name given was usually appropriate to the need the people, or a person had at that time. God declares who He is by many different names, and each one conveys to us, His people, an essential aspect of who He wants to be for us.
In the Old Testament when God wanted His people to get to know who He was for them, He connected His various acts of deliverance to the name ‘Jehovah’, meaning ‘the Lord’. We too can learn who He wants to be for us by having a look at what He called Himself at various times. To name a few we read of….
Jehovah –Jireh The Lord who provides. Genesis 22:13,14. Jehovah-Rophe the Lord who heals. Exodus 15:26. Jehovah-Nissi The Lord is my banner, or the Lord who fights for me. Exodus 17:15. Jehovah-Tsidkenu The Lord our righteousness, Jeremiah 23:5,6.
There are many other names for God In the Bible like ‘The Prince of Peace, Wonderful Counsellor, Isaiah 9:6, El Shaddai- the All sufficient one, Emmanuel- God is with us, and of course Abba Father.
We also have the names that others have given God, according to how he has shown Himself to them in their times of need. Hagar knew Him as ‘the God who sees’, Genesis 16:13. David, in his psalms spoke of God as his shepherd, his rock, his refuge and high tower. God doesn’t just have one or two names like you and me, but each of His many names, is deeply significant and important to us in our walk of faith.
Today I believe the Lord is asking us a question, “Who do you need me to be for you today?” andwe are looking at the power of thanksgiving to release our faith in God, for Him to be for us what we need Him to be today. Let us find that ‘name of God’ that is important for us today, and personalise it by saying, for example, ‘Thank you Lord that you are my provider’. As we thank Him our faith will rise and we will see that He is who He says He is, and will do for us what His name declares.
There may not be an immediate intervention in our lives, and this is I believe because God is interested in our relationship with Him. He does not just want to ‘do’ things for us because we call Him by the right name, but He wants us to know Him better and grow closer to Him. He wants our faith to grow, like Abrahams’ did as he waited for his promised son giving glory to God, Romans 4:20,21
As one lovely song, released recently, says, ‘He’s in the waiting’, and as we intentionally thank Him for who he is, even as we wait for Him to acts for us, we will grow in trust and confidence, that He is Jehovah –Shammah , the God who is there, Ezekial 48:35.
There for us in all our circumstances.