God has a name

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Setting the name

Psalm 20 NIV
For the director of music. A psalm of David. 1 May the Lord answer you when you are in distress; may the name of the God of Jacob protect you. 2 May he send you help from the sanctuary and grant you support from Zion. 3 May he remember all your sacrifices and accept your burnt offerings. 4 May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed. 5 May we shout for joy over your victory and lift up our banners in the name of our God. May the Lord grant all your requests. 6 Now this I know: The Lord gives victory to his anointed. He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary with the victorious power of his right hand. 7 Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. 8 They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm. 9 Lord, give victory to the king! Answer us when we call!
Trust in the name
Remembber the name
Boast in the name

The importance of names

Nuclear safety meeting name mix up.
Names are important
The names are personal
Names have to be precise
Names are important as they identify us but the bibles use of name is far more than just a word so your mum can call you in for tea.
Hebrew names were thought to convey something about the persons character, birthright / circumstance or the destiny there were to fulfil
J mark Comer says - names are revelatory, names are your autobiography in one word.


Abraham - was Abram before the encounter with God at the young age of 99. Abram was a good name it meant exalted father but Abraham meant Father of many nations. When God blessed Abram God Changed his name to remind him of the promise God had made.
In doing this God put his own character on the line when it came to fulfilling this promises
Hi Abram!
It’s Abraham now.
How come?
God changed it - I’m going to be the Father of many nations
Errrm - how many children have you got and how old are you?
God changed Abram’s name to seal the promise and to remind Abraham and others of it. This name revelled the destiny of Abraham and his descendants.

Birthright or circumstance

When Abraham and Sarah (who had also undergone a named change) had their first born. They called him Issac which means laughter.
How they laughed when they heard God tell them that they would have children. Partially out of unbelief, they laughed mockingly, They were old, past it - and yet it happend
Imagine them calling in Issac from Dinner - Laughter, come in it’s time for tea. Laughter can you pass the bread?
Every time they said his name they were reminded of their encounter with God and Gods promise.


Later we have Jacob which means heal grabber, or deceiver possibly liar - God changed his name to Israel - with this name change he had a character change - he became a man of God living a life of God.
Theologians can’t agree what he name Israel means. Some settle on ‘Wrestles with God’, others, ‘He retains God’ or ‘God is upright’. Whichever the meaning - possibly all three. The change in name made signified a change in Jacob. From deceiver to a God defined life.
Jesus does the same for each of us. I was Darren before I knew Jesus. Afterwards, having been adopted as God’s sone my name was changed to Darren. Sounds the same but the meaning is so much different!
Names identify you, that identity can go beyond the knowing who you are and become who you are.
Even now some people are very careful about choosing names for children others less so. If you have a carfully chosen name great, if not God changes the meaning.
We have an Alice (a non biblical name - meaning noble type or truth depending on which root you think it is from - we didn’t know this when we chose it) and an Andrew (a very biblical name - meaning manly one - we didn’t choose either for their meaning) both our children’s names start with A - the reason? do you know how boring reading baby name books is ?
Aaden Aage Aakil Aalto Aang Aarav Aaron Aart Aaru Aarush Abacus Abaddon Aban Abanito Abanu Abba Abbas Abbott Abdalla Abdallah Abdiel Abdirahman Abdu Abdul Abdullah Abe Abebe Abeeku Abel Abelard - There are 528 of these - I am amazed we got as far as Andrew.
You don’t have to live under the meaning of your name. I went to college with a girl called Misty Temple. - In fear of ageing into a foggy ruins she married in the second year and became Misty Bower. Not much better she is now a foggy shady wooded place. Or maybe not names do not have to define us, God can step in and change things. Our pasts do not have to dictate our futures.
You may know of a character in the Bible called Jabez (means pain or sorrow) he had a revelation one day that he did not need to live under that name. We don’t know the circumstance of his birth but one day he calls out to God and asks God to bless him and God did.- Your name does not have to define you, But when it comes to the name or names of God we can rest assured it reveals who he is and he is never going to change.
He is the God who protects us (psalm 20) it is a strong tower it is eternal, it is unchanging.

The names of God

We know God by many names - names that are revealed at a time of need. Like the strong tower reference.
God seems to reveal his nature along with his names to us in bit by bit way. [progressive revelation]
When God made Adam and Eve he did not immediately revel his name or names. When He does, it is to revel his nature that meets humanities needs at that time specific time.
Jehovah Jireh - was revelled to Abraham had his son on the alter and needed a sacrifice - God provides.
Jehovah shalom - Gideon was in the wine press hiding from marauding armies - he needed peace
The Nature of God is revelled in these names but this is not HIS name.

The Name of God.

There is only one name that God declares is his.
I have drawn a lot from this book - John Mark Comer - The name of God.
The context of God revelaling his name is this, Moses was instructed to take the people of Israel up into the promised land.
God had told Moses that he would send an Angel before him but God himself would not go with him. You can read all this in Exodus 33
It is enough to say Moses was not too keen on the idea and has a conversation in which he pretty much argues that God is wrong.
Moses tells God that if God will not go with them then others will not know we are God’s people.
Exodus 33:12-34:9
Exodus 33:12–34:9 ESV
12 Moses said to the Lord, “See, you say to me, ‘Bring up this people,’ but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. Yet you have said, ‘I know you by name, and you have also found favor in my sight.’ 13 Now therefore, if I have found favor in your sight, please show me now your ways, that I may know you in order to find favor in your sight. Consider too that this nation is your people.” 14 And he said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” 15 And he said to him, “If your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here. 16 For how shall it be known that I have found favor in your sight, I and your people? Is it not in your going with us, so that we are distinct, I and your people, from every other people on the face of the earth?” 17 And the Lord said to Moses, “This very thing that you have spoken I will do, for you have found favor in my sight, and I know you by name.” 18 Moses said, “Please show me your glory.” 19 And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The Lord.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. 20 But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.” 21 And the Lord said, “Behold, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock, 22 and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by. 23 Then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back, but my face shall not be seen.” 1 The Lord said to Moses, “Cut for yourself two tablets of stone like the first, and I will write on the tablets the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke. 2 Be ready by the morning, and come up in the morning to Mount Sinai, and present yourself there to me on the top of the mountain. 3 No one shall come up with you, and let no one be seen throughout all the mountain. Let no flocks or herds graze opposite that mountain.” 4 So Moses cut two tablets of stone like the first. And he rose early in the morning and went up on Mount Sinai, as the Lord had commanded him, and took in his hand two tablets of stone. 5 The Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. 6 The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, 7 keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.” 8 And Moses quickly bowed his head toward the earth and worshiped. 9 And he said, “If now I have found favor in your sight, O Lord, please let the Lord go in the midst of us, for it is a stiff-necked people, and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for your inheritance.”
We get to listen in on this conversation with Moses. God changes his mind because of a conversation with Moses - that has implications for our prayer life.
God then declare his nature and his name. God - listens and responds.
God grants Moses request - but not all of it (he would die) AND God tells Moses his nature and his name.
God tells Moses His autobiography in one word.
This is Gods Autobiography in one word- His name. God reveals his nature to be amongst other things - Full of Compassion, mercy and Grace.
You know God only revels himself to the level we can cope with
Before this occasion Abraham new something of God
Exodus 6:2–3 NIV
2 God also said to Moses, “I am the Lord. 3 I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as God Almighty, but by my name the Lord I did not make myself fully known to them.
Abraham new something of God at that point but God revealed more

Progressive reveleation

How may of us think we know more of God today than last year? that is how it is supposed to be.
God is a God of now.
People often misquote the story of Jesus at the wedding in Cana where He turns water into wine. They quote ‘God saves the best last’ but that is now what the story says. The story says he saves the best for now.
Check it out - John 2:10
John 2:10 NIV
10 and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”
God wants a relationship where he reveals the best of his nature that we can handle now :
Where he reveals the most glory we can cope with
Where the level of Grace is set by our need
Where the level of love is what we want.
God reveal some of his glory to Abraham and he reveals his nature and his name and that name is:

LORD is not his name.

Not LORD the name is YHWH
Where ever you see the word LORD in small capitals in your bible this represents YHWH.
The reason for this is that the reason for that is in the Jewish cultrue they would not say the work YHWH the would use the work Adonai.- my lord.
So we know where this is they use capitals. You will see that the word YHWH has no vowels. Over time they transferred the vowels form Adonai to the work YHWH to give use YaHoWaH - and because Y is J in a guttural language we get Jehovah an approximation of the name of God YHWH.
LORD is a title - YHWH is a name - a name that conveys meaning - God has a name
We know that God’s name is not Nigel or Lisa or Brian but God has a name.

Why tell us his name.

God gives us his name because he wants us to know Him. He is a God of relationship of intimacy. He is a God who we can see and experience and he want to journey with him so he can reveal more of himself. - That ‘keeping the best until now’ thing - this starts with his name.
Lord is a great title but it is not a name - Abraham new something of God
YHWH is God’s proper name, a name user 6500 times - Elohim (god) is used less than half that.
But what is so special with this name?
In the passage in Exodus in v14 God says… I am YHWH, YHWH I AM, this is not God doing an early rendition of Dr Seuss
No, this is God declaring his nature - a nature that is attached to his name -
The root words for YHWH and the for I AM are the same - YHWH is the name the great I AM, - YHWH means ‘I am who I am’ or ‘Whatever I will be I will be’.
In this name is the unchanging consistently stable nature of God. in this name is the all encompassing meeting of humanities need.
This means if he was compassionate he will be compassionate and He is compassionate. All the time..
If grace is needed God is gracious, He is gracious all the time, in the past, in the now and in the future.
If He is slow to anger He is slow to anger all the time.
God reveals his name so that He and His nature will be know.

Why does he tell of His nature?

Describe Jenny.
physical descriptions do not revels much.
Exodus 34:6–7 NIV
6 And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, 7 maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.”
If we want to know God we need to know him as his nature is - we need to know him in the now .

Some impications of knwoing the name and the nature.

God exists.

I am - God exists. - he doesn’t try to persuade us of his existence - He is - no beginning he has no end.
Belief always moves to action. If people that say they believe in God don’t let that belief effect their life I am not sure that is much of a belief. Belief impacts every part of our life.

God doesn’t change

If God was gracious, then He is gracious all the time.
If He was slow to anger He is slow to anger all the time.
God reveals his name so that He and His nature will be know. You know where you stand with God. Because he doesn’t change we can get to know him he is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.

Jesus took on the name and was the Nature.

Our ultimate access to God is through Jesus taking on the name I Am.. paying the ultimate price, sealing the nature of God into physicality and action.

God is a person

Remember Moses had a conversation
Adam and eve walked with God in the cool of the day
God is a person, knowing His name cements that. It has become unfashionable to focus on the fact God can be a friend -we focus on the awe, the majesty, the power and reverence and it is right to do so - but we also need to recognise that Jesus was friends with his disciples and that is a side of God’s persona we get to access to. A closeness and intimacy.

Prayer points

You are real
you reveal more to us as we walk with you
Exodus 34:6–7 NIV
6 And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, 7 maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.”
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