I wrote here about how my friend Faith took me around and introduced me to the women in the dorm rooms one night in Zimbabwe. By the time we did that, it was already maybe two days into the conference. I had met a few people here and there along the way, but everyone felt a little shy. I only knew a few people, and though I was eager to meet others, I hadn’t yet met them, didn’t know them and wasn’t particularly inclined to walk up to strangers and just start talking.
That night changed everything. The next day I’m walking into the conference and I’m hearing people everywhere say hello to me, by name. I even remembered a few names, myself. Fortunately, God was gracious and seemed to increase my ability to remember names during that time – I wasn’t perfect, but I was far better than normal. Unfortunately, it seems to have been a limited time offer.
Anyway, I began to notice what a different knowing someone’s name made. It’s not only that it makes a difference to someone and makes them feel special when you remember their name, but it made a HUGE difference to me. It wasn’t that they knew my name that mattered, but that I knew theirs. I found that, even if I knew their face and knew I had actually met them, I shied away from visiting if I couldn’t remember their name. Which was silly, because they would still appreciate if I took the time to visit with them, but for some reason I was far more at ease saying hello, stopping by their seat to talk for a moment, if I could say their name.
Realizing that made me think about the fact that God knows me, BY NAME. He never shies away from me because He knows and He remembers who I am.
It also made me think about the time in Exodus 3 when Moses asked God: 13 “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”
14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am.[a] This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’”
15 God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The Lord,[b] the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.’
“This is my name forever,
the name you shall call me
from generation to generation.
It’s such an interesting response to Moses’ question – what’s your name?
And it made me think about the other names God has been known by:
- El Shaddai (Lord God Almighty)
- El Elyon (The Most High God)
- Adonai (Lord, Master)
- Yahweh (Lord, Jehovah)
- Jehovah Nissi (The Lord My Banner)
- Jehovah-Raah (The Lord My Shepherd)
- Jehovah Rapha(The Lord That Heals)
- Jehovah Shammah (The Lord Is There)
- Jehovah Tsidkenu (The Lord Our Righteousness)
- Jehovah Mekoddishkem (The Lord Who Sanctifies You)
- El Olam (The Everlasting God)
- Elohim (God)
- Jehovah Jireh (The Lord Will Provide)
- Jehovah Shalom (The Lord Is Peace)
- Jehovah Sabaoth (The Lord of Hosts)
- Qanna (Jealous)
I couldn’t help but wonder if maybe I shy away from God in certain areas because I don’t really know Him in that context. Like maybe knowing God’s names is really important to helping me press into Him more fully. If I really know Jehovah Jireh, the Lord my Provider, know Him in that context, then when I need provision I’m more likely to approach Him with confidence, to talk to Him, to spend time with Him and expect Him to be my provision. But if I don’t know that name, am I more likely to shy away from him, to not approach Him when I’m in need? I mean, maybe I actually know that the Bible says He’s my provider, but is that the same as having been introduced to Him in that context? Is hearing about His name the same as knowing His name?
It may sound silly, but I’m thinking about taking some time to be intentional about introducing myself to God in each of these different contexts. I’m thinking about taking some time to formally “meet” God as My Shepherd, as My Healer, as My Peace, the Lord of Hosts, etc. Just because I know from experience that the more comfortable I get with calling Him by His name, the more likely I am to use it, to speak to Him, to be comfortable approaching Him.
Because he has set his love upon me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known my name.
*I do realize that there is some discussion about whether these are technically the names of God, or just attributes of God. I guess I’m looking at this as if His name is I AM, and all these other names are nick-names that help reveal different facets of who He is…and I want to be well-acquainted with them all.