If you’ve been around here for a while, you might have noticed, I talk about God a lot. Constantly and unapologetically. Lots of people all over the world use the word “god,” and they mean a lot of different things by it.
So who am I talking about when I talk about “God”? Well I’m not talking about a distant deity or nature or some nameless cosmic power playing chess with human lives. When a Christian talks about “God” they are referring to God as he is revealed in the Bible. And friends, I could talk for the rest of my life about who God is. (In fact, I plan on it.)
So how do we get to know this God? One of the best ways to know him is by learning his Names. Yep. He has multiple. That might sound weird, but if you think about it, we all do. You have the name your parents gave you. But you have other names too. Names like “son” or “daughter,” “husband” or “wife.” These “names” or “titles” tell people a little bit about us. God has lots of “names” and “titles” that tell us a little bit about him. These are some of my favorites:
In the beginning [Elohim] created the Heavens and the Earth.
When we see the word “God” in the old Testament, this is usually the word we’re seeing. Elohim refers to a being of power and authority. When it’s used to describe the One True God, it reminds us that he is the Order-Bringer. He is the one who carves creation out of chaos, justice out of oppression, and reason out of madness.
I am [YHWH or Jehovah] your God,
Who brought you out of the land of Egypt,
Out of the house of bondage.
This name of God is known as the “tetragrammaton.” (I know, that’s a mouthful.) It usually shows up in our Bibles as “LORD.” It is how God introduced himself to Abraham when he makes a promise and to Abraham’s descendants when he makes good on that promise. The name literally means, “I AM” or “The One Who Exists.” It is the answer to every human who has ever asked, “Are you out there?” It is a reminder that God is who he says he is and that he does what he says he will do.
But Abram said,
“[Adonai] God, what will you give me, seeing as I go childless…”
This word also shows up in our Bibles as “Lord,” but it’s not in all caps like YHWH. That’s because it’s a name that acknowledges respect and control. We see this at the beginning of Abraham’s story. When he talks to God, he’s acknowledging that even though he’s confused, he knows that God is in charge.
Oh boy, I could do this all day. There are so many more! There’s El Shaddai, God is All We Need. There’s Jehovah Tsidkenu, God our Righteousness. Jehovah Rapha, God our Healer. Jehovah Jireh, God our Provider! But let me just share one more with you.
And you shall call his name, [Yeshua],
For he shall save his people from their sins.
This name means “God, Our Salvation,” and it is translated into the name, Jesus. Our Savior, the God-man, the One who came to rescue us from our own sin and darkness and death was given this name. You see, when Christians speak the name of Jesus, they’re talking about the Son of God, who came into the world to save it.
But you know what I love about all these names? As Christians, we serve a God who wants us to know him. So he introduced himself to us, again and again. First as a God of order and creation, and eventually as our Rescuer, Jesus. Wherever you find yourself today, know that there is a God who is, who loved you enough to save you, and want you to know him.