Saturday, March 21, 2015

Knowing God by Knowing His Names (part 27)

And He said to them, "When you pray, say: 'Father, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. 'Give us each day our daily bread. 'And forgive us our sins, For we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.'" (Luke 11:2-4 NASB)

"Hallowed be Your name," Jesus prayed. For us to actively hallow God's name, we need to actually know those names. Over the last few weeks, we have considered all of the names of God used in Scripture and how to honor (or hallow) those name. Today, I have made a "summary sheet" of all the names of God and included a sentence or two about each one with the hope that we can use it as a reference when we pray. 

Remember that we serve One God (One Triune God - Father, Son, and Spirit) who has many names. Although people call me a variety of "names" (Mama, Leanna, Dr. Hollis, Alderman Hollis, etc), all those names refer to the same person. The name is an indication of how that person knows and interacts with me, just as with God's names. 

People who come to me for medical care do not approach me on the basis of my job as Alderwoman. They approach me as "doctor". It makes sense, then, to approach God on the basis of Who He is and What He does. Using His names is an indication that we know Him and acknowledge His ability in the area of our need.  

When I pray for my brothers and sisters who are persecuted in the name of Jesus, I often use the Arabic word for Father, Aba-na. When I have a need that only God can meet, I approach God and call Him El Shaddai. 

Recently, I was involved in a situation that appeared (on the surface) utterly hopeless, and I approached God as my Jehovah Nissi, asking Him to make a way for me, to go before me, and bring His perfect Will to pass. He did. 

As I pray for forgiveness and cleansing, I call on Jehovah Tsidkenu and Mekoddishkim (my Righteousness and the One who Sanctifies me) to do what only He can do. 

There is never a situation in which our God is not sufficient. There is never a time when we cannot call on our Lord and find Him able to handle anything that comes our way. As we pray, let us remember Who we serve and call Him by name.


El Shaddai: Lord God Almighty. The all-powerful God.
There will never come a time when El Shaddai lacks the power to provide for our needs.

El Elyon: The Most High God
Our Most High God, El Elyon, is not only the God above all Gods, the highly exalted one, but also our Redeemer who fights our battles for us and clears a path for us.

Adonai: Lord, Master

When we acknowledge God as Lord, we are recognizing that He is the owner of heaven and earth and that He is in charge with all authority and all power. It is no surprise then that Adonai was the word that came to mind when Isaiah saw God seated on His throne, in all His glory and power, surrounded by seraphim calling out "Holy, Holy, Holy".

Yahweh: Lord, Jehovah
God's proper name. When we make a profession of God's name but do not live up to that profession, we have taken His name in vain (hypocrisy). When we make a promise to God but do not carry out the actions we promised, when we break our covenant with God, we have taken His name in vain. 

Jehovah Nissi: The Lord my Banner
No matter how it looks, no matter the circumstances, any victory that is achieved is not because of our ability, because of how well we obeyed, nor because of the ones who helped up to accomplish the task. All the credit, all the glory, must go to God alone. When we know God as Jehovah Nissi, we look to Him for our hope and our courage. We look to Him in the midst of battle, and He is the banner to which we look when our faith falters. As long as the flag still flies, an army is not defeated, and we serve a God whose banner never falls. 

Jehovah-Raah: The Lord my Shepherd

If I want Jehovah to be my Raah, my Shepherd, then I must be the kind of lamb that follows, no matter the path. 

Jehovah Rapha: The Lord Who Heals

When God says He is our healer, our Rapha, He means that He can, and will, heal our hurts, our physical ailments, our sorrows, and the results of our sin. 

Jehovah Shammah: The Lord is There

No matter what trial, difficulty, sorrow, or circumstance we face, the presence of God in the midst of it is certain. We are not alone, for He is with us. 

Jehovah Tsidkenu: The Lord our Righteousness

If I am willing to turn back to the Lord with my whole heart, nothing held back, He can change me from the wasteland that sin causes to a life so filled with Christ that, when people look at me, they will know our Lord rules in us. There is nothing sin offers that can compare to the beauty of a life lived for our Lord, our Teacher, our Redeemer, and our Righteousness. 

Jehovah Mekoddishkem: The Lord Who Sanctifies You

Our Lord did not sacrifice His only, much loved Son as the payment for our sins in order to leave us as we were. He intended His sacrifice to cleanse us and change us, yet we kick against the change. I cannot achieve holiness on my own, yet choose it I must. Once chosen, God Himself will handle the sanctification process. He is our Jehovah Mekoddishkem, and He will sanctify me, if I am only willing, but obedience to His calling to holiness is required. 

One day, I will stand before our Lord and answer for my choices. I shudder to think of it. The Grace of Christ will be sufficient, and I rejoice in that, but I will be accountable for my choice of the world or the way of Holiness, the way of Sanctification. 

Did I love my Lord with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength? Did I love my neighbor as myself? The life I live now will give the answer to those two questions, and I must prepare for the accounting to come. 

El Olam: The Everlasting God

If we are a "Christian", a disciple of Christ, then we are bondservants of Christ in an everlasting commitment. Scripture is clear about this truth. If we are not bondservants of Christ, then we need to reconsider whether or not we are His disciple at all. 

There will be a day of reckoning and I will give an account of the life I have lived. I will give an account of my service to Christ. When that day comes, I want to stand before Him and say with truth, "I was the bondservant of Christ". 

Elohim: God
He loves us all, but He pays particular attention to those who cannot care for themselves. He gives the strong their strength and gives His strength to the weak. He bears our burdens Himself, and delivers us from our troubles.

How, then, do I honor the name of this One who cares so much for me? I must care about the ones He cares about. I, too, must love the fatherless, the widows, the lonely, those who are in prison, the poor. I, too, must be concerned and take action for those who cannot care for themselves. 

Qanna: Jealous
That which takes first place in my life becomes my god, so I must be very careful that first priority is given to my Lord. 

Jehovah Shalom: The Lord is Peace

How do we hallow the name of Jehovah Shalom? Paul makes it clear that you cannot choose to have anxiety and peace simultaneously. Which do we want? Peace or fear. If we want the Shalom of Jehovah, it can be ours. Honoring His name begins by focusing our hearts and minds on the Peace Giver, allowing Him to give us His peace until we are completely filled by it and kept in it.

Jehovah Sabaoth: The Lord of Hosts
The truly amazing truth about Jehovah Sabaoth is that, even though He is commanding everything in heaven and earth, He still cares about one woman with a need that is breaking her heart, and He cares enough to meet her need. He provides. Nothing is so small that it escapes His notice. No need is so trivial that it escapes His care. It is true for me, and it is true for you, as well. He knows your name. He knows your need. He cares, and He will provide.