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Reflections: Know His name

I enjoy studying Psalms on weekends, especially if I can relax on my porch or someplace where the sights and sounds of nature remind me of God’s goodness and the beauty of his creation. Reading Psalm 9 on June 9 (I choose the Psalm based on the calendar date, and don’t worry, I have a system for the numbers past 31), I focused on v. 10, “Those who know Your name trust in You, for You, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.”

 

In ancient times and still today, names were and are often chosen to reflect character attributes. In the Bible, we often see God’s name represented as Yahweh, Jehovah, or El, followed by an attribute, as God speaks to someone about an aspect of His character particularly relevant to that person’s situation.

 

For example, in Genesis 16:13, God reveals himself to Hagar as El Roi, “the God who sees,” as she realizes He knows exactly where she is in her desperate situation and that He will take care of her and her son.

 

Also, in Genesis, God identifies Himself as Jehovah Jireh, “the God who provides,” as He responds to Abraham’s obedience by providing a sacrifice so that Abraham does not sacrifice Isaac. And in Exodus, the Israelites meet God as Jehovah Rapha, “the God who heals.” Those attributes continue to be revealed in the New Testament as the Holy Spirit speaks through the apostles.  

 

And those are just a few. Even a rudimentary study of those names used in the Bible is a wonderful reminder that, no matter what my need or situation, God is adequate to meet it. Many years ago, I memorized Proverbs 18:10, “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe” (NKJV). Maybe it could have just said, “the Lord is a strong tower,” but I believe the Proverbs writer intentionally chose to use “the name of the Lord” as a reminder of the many ways we experience the love of God—when we are sick, when we need financial provision, when we are under spiritual attack, or whatever we face.

 

There are several great studies about the names of God, some of which are print books and others available online through various Bible study apps. When I reflect on my favorite verse, “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10), knowing a little bit about the many attributes of God’s character as shown in His name helps remind me that God is indeed the God of every situation.

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