Names have a very significant meaning. Figuratively speaking, to know someone’s name is to grasp that person’s inner essence and significance and it is only as we learn God’s names that we truly begin to know Him. Because of this; we will be examining two of God’s most powerful names: Elohim and Yahweh. God chose to reveal Himself to us through His Word and through creation and knowing His names allows us to be committed to Him in a way that we can trust Him for our daily needs.
“The two most significant names of God are Elohim and Yahweh” (Payne, 2006, p145). El is another singular form corresponding to Elohim and suggests the idea of power, strength, and authority and it is the first name of God found in the Bible. Because occurrences of God’s names being revealed are rare, I have to believe there is significance in that He chose this to be the first name revealed to us through His special revelation. This name points to God’s creative power as well as His authority and sovereignty. Elohim is the God of gods, the highest of all.
“In the Mosaic period was revealed the most important single definition of God’s name = His nature” (Payne, 2006, p146). “In reality, the name Elohim embodies the transcendent idea of God, but it is Yahweh who communicates with man in the manner of men” (Phillipps, 1993, p104). We know God because of what He has done and this name reminds us that we are God’s chosen people just as the Israelites were when they began to know the God who is and causes to be. Yahweh can also be translated as Jehovah, the Lord, or Eternal and is the name of the covenant making God. “God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The LORD, 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 by which I am to be remembered from generation to generation” (Exodus 3:14-15). These two names paired together are one of my greatest comforts: “the LORD God.”
When God promised something, He revealed His nature generally through a name and He promised never to leave or forsake us. God is the same today as He was at the beginning of time and nothing we do can separate us from Him. “Knowing God’s nature, power, and plan for our good, we can trust Him through the turmoil and tragedy of this life. We know that whatever He permits to come into the lives of His people – even the attacks of the adversary – will be for our ultimate good” (Phillipps, 1993, p147). God will not allow a challenge to come into our lives unless He has a divine purpose for it. Nothing in life happens to us; it happens for us and if we keep the right attitude, God will use any circumstance for our good. “But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)
In the natural, things may seem impossible, but in the supernatural, all things are possible. We grow strong in faith by giving up praise to God when things seem impossible and incredible power is released when we choose to believe in God’s faithfulness. No matter our circumstance or what we have walked through, when we call upon the name of the Lord, He will be our ever-present help in time of need; He will provide, save, heal, guide, protect, give peace, and comfort us; all we need to do is have faith and trust in Him.
God gave us Jesus so we could have salvation and He grants forgiveness and redemption to those who deserve punishment. God solved this problem by sending His Son to suffer the punishment we should have received. Jesus Christ was the spotless Lamb of God and our redemption was accomplished through the death of the innocent for the guilty. For an inheritance to be paid; the testator must die and our inheritance was salvation and everlasting life. Christ came to free us from sin and from the dominion of Satan and to destroy the devil’s work. As a symbol, the sacrificial lamb prefigured the character and suffering of the Lamb of God. In the Old Testament, the sacrifice of lambs was very important because it was a guilt offering. When the animal was to be sacrificed, the individual would place his hand on the animal’s head, essentially passing the sin and guilt to the animal. This is exactly what Jesus did; He removed the world’s sin by taking it upon Himself.
“God’s names are descriptive of His activity to establish or fulfill the testament, activity that makes salvation available to all men. His names reveal much about His concern that men come to know and love Him” (Phillipps, 1993, p109). God’s love for us motivates His redemptive activity, His ability to provide redemption shows His sovereignty and His desire to do so shows His beneficence. We were separated from God because of our sin. For that reason, the only hope we had was if He provided a way for us to be reconciled to Himself. This is exactly what He did in sending His Son Jesus Christ to die for our sins on the cross. Christ died to make atonement for our sin and to pay the penalty of the sins of all who believe in Him.
When I encounter individuals going through a trial or a shaking I explain that Satan is the thief who comes to steal, kill, and destroy and he attempts to counterfeit or destroy everything God stands for. Soon though, God will destroy sin forever and He will judge and punish Satan and all those who chose to follow him. This is not a pretty picture because living outside of God’s will is a dangerous place to be and can cause us to miss out on many of the blessings God has in store for us. What we must understand is that God is more interested in changing us than He is about changing our circumstances. As long as we are living by faith and according to what God has called us to do, where we are is exactly where we are supposed to be; even if it feels uncomfortable or unfamiliar. By human nature, we don’t enjoy the uncomfortable or the unfamiliar, but as children of the Most High God, it’s not always about us; it’s about advancing the kingdom of God. God rewards those who are faithful; He is in complete control and everything happens according to His divine plan. When God sees us doing all we can do, He will show up and do what we can’t do. He will open doors that no man can shut and that is a promise we can hold on to.