THE NAMES OF GOD: Introduction

The name of the Lord is a fortified tower;
    the righteous run to it and are safe.

Proverbs 18:10 (NIV)

What’s in a name? A name in ancient Biblical time meant something. Not only did it function to link people to family heritage, a name was thought to reveal a person’s nature or character. A name was important. It was who you were.

To know the names of God is to know God’s nature and character. To know God’s nature and character is to know WHO HE IS.

So many of our problems today are due to a lack of a deep intimate relationship with God. We might know about him, but do we really KNOW him. So many of us aren’t considered His friend (a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard), we are merely acquaintances (a person known to one, but usually not a close friend) and sadly, most of the world doesn’t know Him at all. They have a false belief of who He is or who He is not.

To have an intimate relationship with someone, to be called a friend, we need to spend time getting to know them personally and yes, we actually need to spend time WITH them.

The word intimate means: associated in close personal relations: an intimate friend; characterized by or involving warm friendship or a personally close or familiar association or feeling: very private; closely personal: one’s intimate affairs; of an association, knowledge, understanding; arising from close personal connection or familiar experience.

Wouldn’t you love to have a close personal relationship with God? A warm, personally close, very private friendship where you knew each other’s hearts and you had knowledge and understanding of each other? This is the kind of relationship that Moses had with God. Read what God said to Aaron and Miriam when He heard them jealously complain about their brother.

Numbers 12:6-8 (NLT)

And the Lord said to them, “Now listen to what I say:

“If there were prophets among you,
    I, the Lord, would reveal myself in visions.
    I would speak to them in dreams.
But not with my servant Moses.
    Of all my house, he is the one I trust.
I speak to him face to face,
    clearly, and not in riddles!
    He sees the Lord as he is.
So why were you not afraid
to criticize my servant Moses?”

Oh! To be a close personal friend to God. One that He trusts! A friendhip built on clear communication with someone you know. To see the Lord as He is. That is an intimate relationship that we should all pursue with gusto.

A close intimate friend knows the desires of a friend’s heart. Do we know the desires of God’s heart? What gives him joy or makes him sad? Do we know the things that delight him or make him angry? Do we know what He loves or what He hates? Is He merciful or vengeful?   Do we know how much He loves us and to what extent He goes in order to display that love? Do we really know him the way He wants to be known?

There is an illustration that compares the relationship between God and most Christians today in a story about a man (“Joe”) who mentions that he is attending a sporting event with a famous athlete. The athlete was playing in the game and Joe was in the stands watching the game! For example purposes we will just say it was Labron James, one of Joe’s favorite basketball players. Joe knows who Labron is, what sport he plays and that Labron is very good at what he does. They are often at the same events at the same time. However, because there isn’t a personal relationship, Joe knows very little about Labron other than what he does for a living. If they were to pass in the hall or see each other at a restaurant, there would be no friendly exchange or loving embrace between two close friends. There would only be Joe’s admiration from afar of a great athlete. That’s the kind of relationship most of us have with God, a far off admiration of a God we don’t know personally.

The purpose of this study is to become a personal and intimate friend with God. We are going to spend some time with Him and allow Him to tell us who He is …..in his own words! Now that’s exciting! God Himself is going to reveal his awesome and wonderful personality and nature to us through his various names (some are actually titles, but we will call them names all the same.) He already knows every little intimate detail about us, but like Joe and Labron, God knows who we are but we know very little, if anything, about him.

Psalm 91 is one of my favortite passages in Scripture. It has references to several names that we will study. Verse 14 leads us to one reasonwhy we should  learn The names of God. Knowing His name, is knowing Who He Is, and knowing Who He Is, is how we acknowldege Him.

PSALM 91 (NIV)

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.[a]
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”

Surely he will save you
    from the fowler’s snare
    and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers,
    and under his wings you will find refuge;
    his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of night,
    nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
    nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
    ten thousand at your right hand,
    but it will not come near you.
You will only observe with your eyes
    and see the punishment of the wicked.

If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
    and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you,
    no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
    you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

14 “Because he[b] loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
    I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
    I will be with him in trouble,
    I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
    and show him my salvation.”

We are going to discover an Awesome God. One who knows arts and crafts better than anyone I’ve ever known! He can create something from nothing! He is loving, kind, merciful, doctor, healer, judge, unfailing ……. He is Elohim, El Roi, El Shaddai, Lord, Lion of Judah, Savior, Holy Spirit and so much more!

The Bible is God’s story to us. It’s a perfect book where He tells his story through the precious things He created. He tells us so much about Himself through pages upon pages of human history. Yes, God uses us to tell His story! The Bible is complete, but His story goes on forever and we all get to be a vital part of it!

I can’t wait to get started, my friend, so grab your Bible, pen and paper. Things are about to change!

In the sessions to come, we will have study questions that come form Scripture. However, for today, please take a moment to reflect on your relationship with God and do the following exercise.

WHO IS GOD

A good relationship is built on honesty. It starts with a discussion of facts. Where are we in the relationship and how can we make it better. So, in your own words write a description of God and your current relationship with Him on a piece of paper or better yet, in a jouranl that you will use for this study. Be truthful and let it come from your heart. This is personal. You do not need to reveal this too anyone else unless you want to do so. This is between you and your God. This is in an honest inventory of your relationship. He longs to hear what you have to say! He wants your honesty! He wants a deeper more personal and intimate relationship with you! (We will do this exercise again at the end of the study to see if our view of who God is has changed.)

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