Names are important. This is obvious. However, despite this simple observation, names – and their meanings – are worth thinking about. Names are important to people and names are important to God. Think of all the stories in Scripture about God giving people new names. Abram becomes Abraham. Jacob becomes Israel. Simon becomes Peter. Saul becomes Paul. Think too of all the times that the Lord gives a name to describe Himself. He tells Abraham, “I am El Shaddai – God Almighty.” He reveals to Moses the name “YHWH – I AM Who I AM.” These are just a few of the big ones. There is often a direct correlation between the names that God gives Himself and the names He gives His people. Abram could not become Abraham until Abram first understood God to be “God Almighty” (see Gen. 17). Moses could not carry out his task of prophetic shepherding until he had first received God’s name “I AM” (see Exodus 3). This remains true for us today. God is still naming His children, but in order for us to live confidently in the names that God gives us we must first allow God to name Himself.
Jesus also revealed a name of God – the name Father. In John 17:11 Jesus prayed, “Holy Father, you have given me your name, now protect them by the power of your name so that they will be united just as we are.” This is God’s most intimate relational name. He invites us to know Him as Father. Paul adds in Ephesians 3:14-15, “For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named.” Every family in heaven and on earth receives their true name from the Father. For us to live in the authority of our adoption into the family of God we must know Him as Father. Join us in November and December as we take time to explore several key Biblical names of God. We’ll be looking at names of God from both the New Testament and Old Testament as we seek to know Him more fully.