While I’m working on writing a summary of Luke, I’m going to re post a few of my older ones, on some of the names of God. I will endeavor to post new ones as soon as possible.
In the Old Testament times, people din’t call God by His name. Names were powerful, names were an identity , names were given to children after a great deal of thought. Their name was who they were , or some times who they turned out to be.
Abram ( exalted father ) was changed by God to Abraham (father of a multitude) before the birth of Isaac, before his descendants become more numerous than the sand in the sea and the stars in the sky. Sarai was changed to Sarah. Some commentators believe both words mean “princess”( one with a local meaning, and one with a more global meaning). Some commentators on the other hand believe Sarai denotes firmness in a negative way (stubbornness) while Sarah means “my lady, my princess” .
Jacob was born holding his twin brother’s heel and so was called “supplanter “. His life was testament to the fact that he lied and cheated his way to blessing after blessing, but in his nineties , he wrestled with God , and God graciously changed his name to Israel ” who contends with/ struggles with God” . ( Jacob had asked for a blessing, and all he was given was a name change, to us it may seem like it’s not enough, but he was given a new identity by God, a precursor to what would happen , when we accept Christ and become a new creation in Him 2 Corinthians 5:17 :Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old has gone, the new is here! ).
During the days of Eli the priest ( before Samuel become priest and prophet and the last judge of Israel), the Ark of the Lord was stolen by the Philistines, Eli’s two sons were killed, Eli when he heard this, fell over and died, Eli’s pregnant daughter-in-law delivered a baby boy, whom she named Ichabod ” the glory has departed/inglorious”.
Isaiah was asked by God to name his sons Shear-Jashub means “a remnant shall return” and Maher-shalal-hash-baz means “Swift to the booty, speedy to the prey”. These two names were names with a message and were a constant reminder to Isaiah of the burden of his prophetic word: Destruction and exile were coming, yet a remnant would return and be preserved. As Isaiah said, “Then a shoot will spring from the root of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit” (Isaiah 11:1-2). Jesse was King David’s father.
David after his adultery with Bathsheba, and that child was taken by God, named his next son with Bathsheba, Solomon “peace”, but he was named by the prophet Nathan (on God’s direction), Jedidiah “beloved of the Lord”.
Zechariah, John the Baptist’s father , was told by an Angel the name to give his son, John, even though no one else in the family had that name, which meant “Jehovah is gracious” ( at a time when the Israelites were under Roman rule and were waiting for the promised messiah. They hadn’t heard God’s voice through the prophets for over 400 years). Zechariah was still given a promise that God was looking down on them.
A few months later , Joseph the carpenter, would name the child of his wife, Mary, Jesus “Jehovah saves”, He would also be called Emmanuel ” God with us” in accordance with the prophecy in Isaiah 7:14 .(Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.)
Jesus himself would change Simon’s name to Peter. Some commentators believe the former means “reed” and the latter “rock”, giving Peter the responsibility to start building the Church. Saul ” asked of God” of Tarsus, a proud Hebrew name, a name given to the first king of Israel, changed his name to the Roman name Paul , “small/humble” , when he changed after his encounter of God on the Damascus road, a testament to how Paul would see himself , as chief of the sinners, in need of grace, but one who would do great things to further the gospel of Christ.
Why am I spending so much time on names? Especially names in the bible, and the situations they were in? To build up to the importance of names in the biblical times. To show you that when people gave a name to God, it was because of the character of God revealed to them , in their moment of need. God cannot be limited to a single character , neither are there multiple gods, but a single God, in three different persons, but all together they are one.
This post I’m going to focus on the names Adonai and Yahweh.
Adonai ( in English, usually represented by Lord), means Lord and Master. If God is Adonai to you, He is the one to whom you submit or bow down; He is the Boss of your life. Adonai is the ultimate authority figure in your life and the One to whom you owe your complete allegiance.
Many times I haven’t given the Lord authority in my life, I have relegated Him to the sidelines, even compartmentalized Him, to Wednesdays and Sundays. I’ve gone my own way, and have harboured un forgiveness, yelled at my kids, been mean to my husband. I’ve put other things ahead of God, only recently realising that they’ve been idols. Our pastor recently talked about this. In the western world, not many people build images of gold and silver , but we have idols all the same. I’ve worshipped idols. I’ve put the kids, my husband, serving in church, being loved by friends, Facebook surfing, cooking, reading, movies all before the Lord. I’m trying to watch my thoughts now. I’m not perfect. So I’m choosing to focus on God, I’m choosing to put Him first, I’m choosing to come to the throne first before going to the phone, I’m choosing to ask forgiveness, I’m choosing to pray during uncertainties. I’m choosing to make Him the Adonai of my life again. Will you?
The name Yahweh is also ” I AM” ( God who was, who is, who will be, in English LORD) . We seen this first in Exodus 3, when God talks to Moses from a burning bush, telling him to go rescue the Israelites. When Moses asked God what name he should give them, the Lord replies ” I AM” .
This is another article that fleshes out Yahweh and the meaning. Yahweh is not to be trifled with. His isn’t the name to be used in cursing, and without reverence. He is the one who deserves our honor , our praise . He is the only one true God. When I see the work of His hands, in creation, in a baby’s smile, in the laughter of children, in the oneness of marriage, in a husband who does all he can for his family, I’m reminded of the God I serve, the one I love, and I’m reminded that He is over all. He is Yahweh.
I wrote this first to tell you about how personal these names were to me. From a Bible with study notes, I first read about Adonai being my personal God. The God who sees when Vanessa is upset , when Vanessa does the dishes, when Vanessa watches Dora again with her daughter, when Vanessa is being encouraging to her husband, when Vanessa blew it , again,….. He’s the God who is interested in the details of my life.
And Yahweh. Yahweh is the God of the billions and billions of people on this earth. And the creatures of the earth. And the angels. Yahweh is the God who sees Bob when he’s mourning. Yahweh sees Monica being a mentor. Yahweh sees Nancy being kind to an immigrant family. Yahweh sees Raj being a husband. Yahweh sees everything, everywhere. His eyes roam all over the earth. He judges the righteous and the evil. And He sees us for what we do, and He will reward us according to what we do.
I haven’t been able to return to that Bible, and check it out again. But I loved this explanation as well. So I leave this with you. God’s name , at the time, reveals something to me. Usually what I need , when I need. What touches me, may not impact you. Look up His names in the Word, and find a revelation just for you. God Bless You.