Girlfriends in God - Apr. 2, 2008


April 2, 2008

What’s in a Name?

Mary Southerland



Today’s Truth

Isaiah 54:5 (NCV) "The God who made you is like your husband. His name is the LORD All-Powerful."


Friend to Friend

When Dan and I were first married, I struggled with what to call his parents. “Mr. and Mrs. Southerland” seemed too formal but “Jerry and Norma” seemed too familiar and did not address my level of respect for them. On the other hand, “Mom and Dad” was just a little too intimate for me – maybe because I was still working through a lot of issues concerning my dad who died when I was five – years - old. My mom was both mother and father to me and it almost seemed disloyal to address another woman as “mom”.


I solved my problem by not calling them anything – which was not really a solution at all. After years of marriage, the death of my own mother and the survival of many family crisis with Dan's parents, I one day found myself calling them “Mom” and “Dad”. It was not a conscious decision on my part but seemed perfectly natural. In fact, I did not even realize I had made the transition until Dan commented on how much it meant to them that I would call them “Mom” and “Dad”. I then realized that I had not only grown to love and respect them more, but my relationship with them had grown to a new, intimate level as well. The same should be true for our spiritual journey.


How can we know God in an intimate way – on the marriage level? We get to know anyone we meet by first exchanging names. I taught my children that a simple way to meet someone new is to say, “Hi! My name is Jered. What’s yours?” Names are very important.


God has a first name – Yahweh or Jehovah, a Hebrew word that means, “I am”. “Lord” should be translated “Yahweh” meaning that Yahweh Almighty is His name. Translators did a great job with the Bible but here they took the name of God and substituted a title. Therefore, when you see “LORD” in all caps read it as “Jehovah”. Yahweh Jehovah is a personal name that reveals the very core of His being, His sufficiency and holiness. God wants to be on a first name basis and wants us to come to Him just as we are, weak and incomplete. When we come before Him, haring who we really are and what we really need, God then shares His last name.


God’s last name is always based upon the current need of our lives. God came to Moses and said, “I want you to be on a first name basis with me. My name is "Yahweh Jehovah” and from that point on, whenever the people had a need, they cried out, “God you are the I Am. Come and meet me!” God would then come, meet them and give them His last name.


·         In Exodus 16, the people cried, “”God we’re out here in the desert with no food or water, literally starving to death! Jehovah Yahweh, where are You?” God says, “I’m right here. My name today is Jehovah Jireh, which means “Provider”. All of a sudden, quail are raining down from heaven, manna is found on the desert floor and new water begins pouring out of a rock.


·         In Exodus 17, the people come up against a vastly superior military force and cried out to God saying, “We can’t do this! This army will wipe us out! Please help us!” God says, “I’ll be there. My name today is Jehovah Nissi, which means 'Banner'”. In Biblical times, when tribes went to war, flags and banners were carried out in front. God is telling the people that He will go before them and fight the battle for them.


·         In other passages, people came to God, overwhelmed and anxious. God says, “I am Jehovah Shalom, your Peace.”


·         David came to Him in a moment of desolation and said, “God, I am in the wilderness totally alone.” God says, “I am Jehovah Shammah. I am here.”


·         Jesus cried out to God saying, “Abba Father” which means “Dearest Daddy”, a name that paints the picture of a broken - hearted child climbing up into the lap of a loving Father.


God wants an intimate “marriage level” relationship with you, His child. You can come to Him, calling Him by name and He will meet the need of your heart.


Now it’s Your Turn

1.      Understand that you can come to God on a first name basis.

2.      Accept God's invitation to meet Him at the point of your deepest need.

3.      Recognize that intimacy requires honesty.

4.      Be willing to come to Him – just like you are.


More from the Girls

The deeper our relationship with God, the deeper our faith and hope will be. Do you want the secret to success? Pursue an intimate relationship with God. Do you want to experience peace and joy in a life of victory? Learn everything you can about God. How? By reading the Bible…by praying…by spending time with others who are seeking God…by disciplining your thoughts to dwell on Him. Need help? My CD, “I Have a Hope” is a message designed to help you experience God in a new way, an intimate way. And be sure to check out my free Online Bible Study, Light for the Journey. Blessings!


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Originally published Wednesday, 02 April 2008.