By Rick Ezell
Seth also had a son, and he named him Enosh. At that time people began to call on the name of the LORD. ~ Gen. 4:26 NIV
A person is his or her name. Just as in English today, a reference in Hebrew to people’s names referred to their reputation and their character. In fact, we often speak of maintaining – or restoring – our good name, meaning our good reputation.
Likewise, God’s name stands for his character as embodied through his actions and behavior. The meaning of God’s name, the way in which it revealed aspects of his character, the importance of people’s bowing at the sound of his name and praising it, and its connection with God’s reputation – these are all components of a great “name” theology in the Old Testament. God reveals his name, in its many different forms and aspects, as a way of inviting his people to live with him in a dynamic, intimate relationship.
God’s name tells us what kind of God he is. In fact, there are over 300 names for God given in the Bible. Why so many? Perhaps, it is because no one name can adequately convey all that God is. Each is a revelation of the holy, sacred character of God. For example, God is
A holy God
The only attribute of God repeated three times, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty” (Isa. 6:3 NIV). When we say God is a holy God that means that not only is he different, but that nothing can compare with him. He is distinct, unique, one of a kind. He is God and we are not.
A consecrated place; a place of refuge; a place of protection. With God we find sacredness and peace and calmness, protection and refuge from a world that has hurt us and abused us. Coming to God is like coming home where we know we are safe, we are accepted, we are loved. And, there is nothing we have to do to earn it.
A merciful God
While we deserve God’s justice and punishment, he chooses instead to look upon us with mercy. Aren’t you thankful?
Alpha and Omega
Alpha is the first letter of the Greek alphabet and Omega is the last letter, therefore, God is the “A and Z.” He is the beginning and the end, and everything in between. He is all we need.
It is the name of God that we need to call on. We need him and all that the character and attributes that he brings to us. Humans first began calling on the name of the Lord in Genesis 4:26. “At that time men began to call on the name of the Lord” (Gen. 4:26 NIV). When we call on God’s name it is more than using a moniker to address him. We are calling on his character, his reputation, his attributes, his power, and his presence.
Rick Ezell is the pastor of First Baptist Greer, South Carolina. He has served churches in Naperville, Illinois, Scottsburg, Indiana and Overland Park, Kansas. He is the author of several books including, The Seven Sins of Highly Defective People, Strengthening the Pastor’s Soul, & Cutting to the Core.