The A to Z Blog Challenge for 2014 begins Tuesday. I will be posting every day in April except Sunday, and the theme of my posts will be the names of God. As I mentioned in my post last Sunday, I chose my theme partly because I already had an alphabetical list of God’s names. The main reason, though, is that I find the names of God fascinating, because they tell us so much about His nature–about who He is and what He does.
Names in the Bible were much more than the identifying labels that names have become in our modern culture. Biblical names sometimes gave insight into the circumstances surrounding a person’s birth or the reactions of his or her parents to the birth. Prophets often used the names of their children to communicate a message from God, and other names showed an affiliation with God. Names were also used to describe the character or the purpose of a person.
The act of naming someone or something carried with it a certain amount of authority. God first allowed Adam to exercise his authority in the Garden of Eden by naming the animals, and later on, captives were often renamed by their captors. God himself renamed several people in the Bible to indicate His plan for their lives, and He revealed His own names to those who worshipped Him.
The names of God are not to be taken lightly. The third Commandment warns us not to take the Lord’s name in vain. The Israelites took this commandment so seriously that they did not even speak His name and, in fact, wrote it without vowels so it would be unpronounceable. With that in mind, I am more than a little intimidated by the task I’ve taken on. At the same time, I look forward to gaining a deeper understanding of who God is during the next month and to sharing what I learn with my readers.
O Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth! Psalms 8:9