God's Word for Today

Friday, May 16, 2008

How many names do you have?

What’s your name?
Do you go by your middle name?
Do you have a nick name?
How did you get your name?

I am very fortunate. I have an accountability group that I meet with every Thursday evening. During our meetings we talk about our week, we pray together and share with each other how God has been working in our lives.

Last night as we began our meeting the topic of names came up. You see most of the young couples in our mist are busy procreating. Babies are everywhere. We discussed this for several minutes. Why? Names are important! Someone has a baby, your first question is "What is the baby's name?"

Names are important, see what happens when your social security number and your name don’t match up on an insurance form, have someone open a credit card in your name and find out how important your identity really is.

I have special names of endearment for my children, my husband, my niece and my nephew. We all have a name and we like to be acknowledges by that name.

I know this has happen to me on more that several occasions. You run into someone at the store and you know there face, but there name has gone right out of your head. You stumble in the conversation trying to rapidly run through all the hidden places in your memory banks trying desperately to recall exactly where you know this person from. Why the anxiety at forgetting a name? It’s important. We like to be remembered! We like to be acknowledged by name.

I used to volunteer in the library of my daughters school. I had my weekly memory tests as I tried to remember the children’s names as they would file in to return their books. I had a real eye opening experience in those few months. This elementary school had an extremely diverse ethnic student body. My exposure to the vast difference in cultural names was stretched to the limit. I would swipe the library card and the name would appear on the computer screen before me. I would be faced with the daunting task of trying to pronounce this unpronounceable child’s name. There sweet faces would look back at me as I mangled the pronunciations. Sometimes I would simply give up and say” Sweetie your going to have to help me with this one.” I began to wonder if in fact they even had vowels in some of these smaller countries. The children would smile back at me and then slowly tell me there name. I would repeat it back to them and then in a few seconds another child with another unpronounceable name would be before me again. I would give a huge sigh of relief for the occasional familular names like Sarah, Jacob, Heather and Sam.

I would try to remember, my success rate was about 50/50. What I did notice was when I did get it right there was a wonderful beam of recognition on there face the next time they came in to the library. I could distinguish them from the multitude of other children that filed through. I could begin to ask them questions about what they were reading and whether they were enjoying the story line. Through this recognition, through this remembrance, the children and I began to form a relationship.

It all stated with the learning of a name.

I began to think about the significance of names in relation to God.

One of my accountability sisters sent me an email the other day. In it was a brief list of the many different names for God. After reading this list I went to my computer and did a bit of research and came up with a more in-depth list. I then sat down and looked up all the different biblical references that pointed to all these wonderful designation for our Heavenly Father.

The next day I did a bit more searching and I found that the more I looked the more information I began to find. There were many different names for God as well as Jesus. I began to feel the slight creeping in of the “TMI overload” when I look at all the different sources of information and all the varying list with the many different names.

What I wanted was a simple and definitive answer. How many names for God are there? Well I came up with many different lists and they were all a bit different in some way or another.

But what I recognized in the few minutes that I was searching out this information was that I was probably not going to find a definitive answer. I wanted something simple and something that I could point to answer my question in a concrete way. But God always know best. He always gives us the seed and it is up to us to tend to the seed and to grow it into the lesson He is trying to teach us.

There probably is a source out there that can tell me exactly how many different names for God there are in the bible, but it was the search that really spoke to me.

As I look up each scripture verse and saw how God worked in each situation and how His character showed through with each unique designation, I was again reminded how great God really is.

God has so many wonderful attributes and so many different amazing character traits that He simply can not be contained with only one name.

God is…………..
Jehovah-Shalom ~ the LORD our peace ~ Judges 6:24
Jehovah-Jireh ~ the LORD will provide ~ Genesis 22:13-14
Jehovah-Roi ~ the LORD who sees ~ Genesis 16:13
Jehovah-Rapha ~ the LORD our healer ~ Exodus 15:26
Jehovah-Sammah ~ the LORD who is present ~ Ezekiel 48:35

These are but a very small representation of all the mighty names of our Heavenly Father.

I began to look at how this translated into my life. How many different names do I have? The obvious is my given name, the name that my parents chose for me.

But beyond that I have many different names as well.

Robin ~ the redeemed sinner
Robin ~ the forgiven
Robin ~ the believer
Robin ~ the woman
Robin ~ the wife
Robin ~ the mother
Robin ~ the daughter
Robin ~ the sister
Robin ~ the friend
Robin ~ the writer
Robin ~ the cook
Robin ~ the …………..

But in the long list of my names I have to also include designations like:

Robin ~ the impatient one
Robin ~ the judgmental one
Robin ~ the angry one
Robin ~ the lazy one
Robin ~ the hormonal one
Robin ~ the …………..

Some of these names are wonderful, and then others are not so great. It’s up to me to daily conform my life and my name into the likeness of Christ.

All the many wonderful names that God has gives me the encouragement to continue to seek His will for my life.

This continued search gives me the opportunity to strive to remove some of the negative names that I have in my life, but it also gives me the opportunity to change and to adopt some new names as well.

When I think of who God is I am reminded of the many different names, they are all wonderful, they remind me of how all encompassing my God is.

His names spread across the vast expanse of all that there is and they give us a small glimpse into what is to come when we will be in His presence in eternity.

Elohim ~ God - The One and Only True God
Yahweh ~ LORD - He that is who He is, The eternal I AM
Adonai ~ Lord - Master
El Shaddai ~ God Almighty - The All-sufficient One
El Elyon ~ Most High - Possessor of heaven and earth
El Olam ~ Everlasting God - God over eternal things
El Gibbor ~ Mighty God - The Only All Powerful God

Which name for God speaks to you today?

1 comment:

SweetPea said...

I like Jehovah Jireh. I've always liked how it sounded (I know corney and unimportant.) However, the definition "provider" speakes to me. Now that I know the definition it is even more special.

I also like El Shaddai~~again, I didn't know what it meant until now.

My name is Paula Kay. My nieces call me Paulie. My brother calls me Sis. My dad use to call me Poodgie as a kid. My love called me sweetpea or sweetie or sweetheart and it was very endearing.

My dad wanted me to be called Elizabeth or Laura. My mom didn't want a name that could be shortened with a nickname (which I understand as it seems pointless to Henry William and you know you will call him Willy.) Anyway, so my mom called me Paula after my great grandma Pauline. My dad wouldn't call me by name for the first couple months of my life.

Interesting, huh? My brother's name is Todd and the first choice was Christopher but again that could be shortened and nicknamed.

Thanks for this very interesting post.

Oh, and hearing your name is so important. I have noticed in the last year, that I try so hard when I pass someone to say Hi....and their name. I noticed about a year ago that a handful of people at work would always say Hi Paula when passing me. I felt SOO special when my name was used so I try very hard to do that name.
It puts such a personal touch on it!
In Him,

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