Names Are Important
Names tell people something basic about us. When we meet someone, one of the first pieces of information we want to know is that person’s name. Knowing someone’s name is the first step in building a relationship.
Knowing a person’s name can tell us about their family history, country of origin, and it may even give us a clue into their character.
There are names that are based on an ancestor’s occupation: A MILLER was employed grinding flour from grain, a WAINWRIGHT was a wagon builder, and CANTRELL was a singer in a chapel. COOPER made barrels, FLETCHER made arrows, FULLER made cloth, RYDER delivered messages on horseback, and SMITH worked with a forge as a blacksmith.
One of the most common ways to differentiate one man from his neighbor was to describe him terms of his geographic surroundings or location
ATWOOD lived near a wood, DUNLOP lived near a muddy hill, BROOKS lived along a brook, and CHURCHILL lived near a church on a hill
In Bible times, Jewish parents took pride in selecting a name for their child that had special significance. BENJAMIN means “son of the right hand.” ISAAC was named “laughter” because of the astonishing news that he would be born to his parents in their old age. ADONIJAH means “Jehovah is my Lord” and DANIEL means “God is my judge.”
The Names Of God Reveal His Essence
In many cases, a given name reflects the real essence of the person. This is especially true of God.
In the Bible we have the proper names of God:
Almighty God – There is no power in the universe that is greater than God. Genesis 17:11 “I am the Almighty God.”
Everlasting God – God is timeless, He is always present for us in time of need, and His strength endures forever. Isaiah 40:28 “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.”
Father – The infinite God who is mighty in power is also our father. We can come into his presence as His own sons and daughters. Matthew 6:9 “This, then, is how you should pray: “Our Father in heaven…”
God – Translates the name ELOHIM which means “Mighty One.” Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God “the Mighty One” created the heavens and the earth.”
Holy One – God is utterly pure and without any evil motive, he has no treachery, and never breaks His word. Psalm 71:22 “I will sing praise to you with the lyre, O Holy One of Israel.”
Good – God wants the best for us and can be completely trusted. Psalm 86:5 “You are forgiving and good, O Lord, abounding in love to all who call to you.”
Helper – When we are helpless, we can look to God for assistance at any time. Psalm 118:7 “The LORD is with me; he is my helper. I will look in triumph on my enemies.”
Living God – Our God is alive and not a lifeless idol or distant memory. He is the source of life. Psalm 42:2 “My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?”
Redeemer – It is God who redeems (purchases us) from our bankruptcy to sin. Though we were slaves to sin, God paid the price and bought us out of bondage. Job 19:25 “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth.”
Strength – When we are weak and our options are gone, God continues to be our source of renewal. Psalm 22:19 “But you, O LORD, be not far off; O my Strength, come quickly to help me.”
True God – In a world filled with false religions and devious lies of Satan, God alone is true. Jeremiah 10:10 “But the LORD is the true God; he is the living God, the eternal King.”
Yahweh – God is the eternally faithful one who keeps his promises. Psalm 23:1 “The Lord (Yahweh) is my shepherd”
God’s Names Describe His Real Life Actions
To help us understand His person and nature, God has also chosen practical metaphors for himself. Each of the following names were taken from daily life to show the protection, resources, and strength that God could give to his people.
God Is Your:
Deliverer – Psalm 18:2. A deliverer provides a way of escape to a person who is threatened and in danger and allows them to slip away to a place of safety. God is our DELIVERER who brings us out of a hazard and puts us in a place of safety.
Fortified Tower – Proverbs 18:10. This was literally a “high tower” built to raise people out of the reach of their attackers. It was strong, solid, and impenetrable. God is our FORTIFIED TOWER in the day of trouble.
Fortress – Psalm 18:2. People built fortresses or castles out of stone or brick to protect themselves from attack. God is our FORTRESS who is solid and secure in the day of trouble.
Hiding place – Psalm 32:7. The word literally means hiding place, shelter, or secret place. In the day of trouble God is our HIDING PLACE where we are secreted away from danger and placed under the protection of God’s own presence.
Rock – Psalm 18:2. The mountains of Israel provided protection from enemy armies. When threatened by an attack, a person could find shelter and protection in a cave or on top of an inaccessible cliff where the enemy could not reach him. God is our ROCK because He is a place of stability and safety.
Shade – Psalm 121:5. In the arid land of Israel, the sun was dangerous and could easily kill the unprotected traveler. The shade of a tree or mountain provided protection from the heat of the sun and kept them safe. Figuratively, God is our SHADE because he comes between us and the threat which would harm us. In time of danger God is so close to us that he casts a shadow of protection over us that shadows us from harm.
Shield – Psalm 84:11. In Bible times soldiers would have a small round shield carried in the hand or worn on the arm in battle. It was usually made of wood or metal and provided mobile protection against arrows, swords, or rocks thrown at high speed by slings (remember David and Goliath?). God is our SHIELD who goes with us into battle, who protects us from the flaming arrows of Satan (Ephesians 6:16), and is between us and the enemy.
Sun – Psalm 84:11. The sun gives energy, warmth, growth, and life to everything on earth. It is the center of our solar system and without the sun there would be no life on earth. God is our SUN because he is source of light (guidance), life, energy, and power.
The Names Of God
The names of God remind the Christian of God’s love, protection, power, and care for us. The names of God tell us that God is timeless, holy, perfect, and powerful. Yet the names of God also remind us that he is close, caring, available, personal, and loving. He is not only our Creator, but our Father. He is holy, but he is our Redeemer who saves us. He is powerful, for he stands between us and danger. As we live by faith, we take daily courage that ultimately we will overcome all threats, peril, and evil because we have victory in the Everlasting God our Savior.