March 28, 2007
What’s in a Name?
The God who made you is like your husband. His name is the LORD All-Powerful. Isaiah 54:5 (NCV)
Friend to Friend
When Dan and I were first married, I really struggled with what to call his parents. Mr. and Mrs. Southerland seemed too formal but Jerry and Norma was too familiar and did not address my level of respect for them. On the other hand, “Mom” and “Dad” were 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 for most of my life. 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. I loved them both very much and wanted to convey that love to them. After years of marriage, the death of my own mother and the survival of many family crisis with them 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 that I had made that transition until one night Dan commented on how much it meant to them that I would call his parents “Mom” and “Dad”. As I thought about his comment, I realized that over the years, I had not only grown to love and respect them more, but my relationship with them had grown to a new, intimate level. The same should be true in our spiritual journey.
How can we know God in an intimate way – on a marriage level? We get to know anyone we meet by first exchanging names. At an early age, I taught my son 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. 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 with you and me and wants us to come to Him just as we are in our weakness and incompleteness. When we come honestly before Him, sharing 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 in their insufficiency saying, “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 cry 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. Therefore, 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”. This name paints the picture of a broken hearted child climbing up into the lap of the loving Father. There the child finds comfort and safety. The Father wraps His arms around that child and becomes a refuge.
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.
Father, I want to know you more. I want to see your face and hear your voice. I long to see you in every circumstance and sense your presence with every breath I take. Amen.
Now it’s your turn
· Understand that we can come to God on a first name basis.
· Accept His invitation to meet Him at the point of your deepest need.
· Recognize that intimacy requires honesty.
· Be willing to come to Him – just like you are.
More from the girlfriends
Isn’t it amazing to think that we can know God and have a personal relationship with Him? If you are interested in taking the first step toward knowing God and turning your life over to Him, we would love to help you. Just email us! We look forward to hearing from you, friend!
For more on this topic, see Mary’s book Sandpaper People.
Girlfriends in God
Matthews, NC 28106
Originally published Wednesday, 28 March 2007.