What’s in a name? Oh the wonder of One in particular
December 21, 2004
Today, I can get in my automobile and drive to Mexico, California, Canaan, Cuba, Nevada, Oregon, Pacific, Japan, Lebanon, Louisiana, Yukon and never leave Missouri! Along the way, there are some other exotic places that can be reached named Paris, Alexandria, Amsterdam, Annapolis, Arab, Bethany, Bethel, Beverly Hills, Buffalo, Chula, Denver, Edinburg, Frankenstein, Houston, Lisbon, Miami, Montreal, Paris, Rhineland, Saint Thomas, Sante Fe and Strasburg; again, without ever leaving Missouri! Aren’t we living in an exotic and extraordinary place?
There is still one more Missouri town on my list that brings both curiosity to my mind and a smile to my lips every time I drive by or through it. That town is Tightwad. I am absolutely certain we have some good Missouri Baptists living in Tightwad. I think even the good folk of Tightwad would agree with me … it sure is an “interesting” name for a town.
You also wonder about how some of the other towns in Missouri came by their names. In particular, I’d like to know how and why Fair Dealing, Fair Play and Fidelity had their names chosen. I have to believe that their founding fathers wanted to make a statement about the character of their citizens.
In the same way, God has revealed His person and character to us through His names. When we understand the names He has used to reveal Himself to us, we can more clearly understand His person, power and character. For instance, when we read the name Jehovah we are guided to think in terms of being or existence and life. We must think of Jehovah as the Being who is absolutely self existent, the One who in Himself possesses essential life, permanent existence. There are many compound names of God in Scripture. Each name gives us even greater insight about the One we love and serve.
Consider Jehovah-jireh (yeer’-eh), which means the One Who provides for us. This comes to us from our understanding of the incident of Jehovah’s provision of a substitute ram in place of Isaac (Gen. 22:8), Abraham’s one and only son that Abraham was told to sacrifice on an altar on Mount Moriah. This was the picture God was painting for us of His Son’s substitutionary sacrifice that would come on Calvary. By the way, Calvary and Moriah are the same mountain!
Another compound name, Jehovah-Rophe (ro’-phay), means the God who heals. This comes from the historic event and picture of healing the waters of Marah (Ex. 15). When we reflect on this name, it reminds us that man needs healing and God continually demonstrated His ability to heal in Scripture. God is the only one who can bring to us ultimate healing physically, emotionally and certainly spiritually.
Aren’t these names beautiful, historic word pictures? But one of the most blessed of all names is the one we celebrate at this time of year, IMMANUEL. The Word of God leaves us without a doubt about it’s meaning. We are told of it in prophesy (Isa. 7:14) and then in fulfillment (Matt. 1:23). We are told its definition, “Immanuel – which means, God with us.” Don’t pass over this thought too quickly. Think about it. God … the most powerful, all-knowing being of the universe is “with us!” Wow!
Of course, His names continue in the New Testament to reveal Himself to us, Immanuel, Jesus, the Christ, the Bread of Life, Living Water and more. But the idea of GOD, Himself coming not only to walk among us and be beheld by us (John 1:1;14), but to dwell in us! That thought is awesome!
This Christmas, don’t miss the wonder of God’s genuine, personal, active presence with you.
Do you live as though you are in His presence? For the believer, Jesus is involved and present in every part of your life. From the speech coming from your mouth, to the attitudes in your heart (yes, He knows those too … Mark 2:8). Live each moment as if in the presence of the Almighty, because you are.
Jesus is part of ALL your life! He is the reason for the season and the reason we give – because He first gave Himself for us. Your giving to Jesus is a picture of the health of your love life with Jesus.
So what’s in a name? A name like Immanuel? Wonder! Absolute wonder!