THE NAMES OF THE LORD
– DAY ONE –
The muffled, distant sound had broken the quiet reverie of his walk across the meadow. The sharp barking of a dog almost irritated him. It was abrasive in that tranquil setting. As the barking grew louder, his eyes scanned the meadow, looking for the culprit. Suddenly a small doe broke through the edge of the woods. Now he understood. Leaning against the fence post, the man watched with compassion as the doe cut across the broad expanse of meadow. She was running straight toward him. He stood motionless, not wanting to add the fear of man to the animal’s frustration. As the frightened fawn leaped the fence, she staggered. The chase had taken its toll. Her wet coat gleaming in the sun, the doe stopped, took a few steps in one direction, then, ears held high, looked back toward the sound of the barking. The dog had broken through the woods.
Eyes wide with fright, confused, worn out, panting wildly, the doe surveyed her surroundings, quickly discovering the man standing beside the fence. Glancing back for an instant at the dog in hot pursuit, then viewing the expanse of open field before her, she turned weakly and wobbled straight toward the man. She approached him without fear and buried her head in his tummy. Compassion flooded his heart and filled his eyes. She had found a protector.
Beloved, where do you run in time of need? When the hounds of trouble, worry, and fear pursue you; when the dogs of temptation, corruption, and evil seek to overtake you; when your energy is spent; when weakness saps you; when you feel you cannot run any longer, where do you turn?
Do you turn to your protector, the One who stands with arms opened wide, waiting for you to come and bury yourself in the security of all He is?
“The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous runs into it and is safe” (Proverbs 18:10).
For these forty-two days we are going to study the names of the Lord so that you will know where to run to find help in time of need. The Father longs for you to know more of who He is, that you might more fully “trust in the name of the LORD and rely on [your] God” (Isaiah 50:10). Remember Jesus’ prayer on our behalf just before He went to Calvary: “that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent” (John 17:3). The goal of Paul’s life was “that I may know Him” (Philippians 3:10). How I pray it will become the goal of your life!
If someone were to ask you to describe God, what would you say? Write down the words that come to your mind when you think of God.
– DAY TWO –
“Some boast in chariots, and some in horses; but we will boast in the name of the LORD, our God” (Psalm 20:7).
Where do you run for help? When you are in trouble, what is your first instinct? Do you run to others or to God? Is it usually the counsel of another rather than the counsel found in waiting upon God in prayer? Why is this the way it is? Why do we run to man before we run to God?
In Old Testament days chariots and horses were means of protection and escape. Today our “chariots and horses” come with different labels, shapes, and forms. Even so they are still a visible means of help, escape, or protection. Yet are these really a source of safety? No. “The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety is of the LORD” (Proverbs 21:31, KJV).
What’s the problem? Why don’t we run to the arms of our all-sufficient God? I think it’s because most of us don’t really know our God. Why do many collapse in the day of trouble and testing? Why are they immobilized? Why don’t they take an aggressive stand in the face of fear? Because Christians, for the most part, can’t boast in the name of their God.
What do I mean when I say, “boast in the name of our God”? In the Hebrew language the phrase to boast in means “to have confidence in, to trust in.”1 Therefore, to boast in God’s name means to have confidence in His name. In biblical times a name represented a person’s character. God’s name represents His character, His attributes, His nature. To know His name is to know Him. To boast in His name is to have confidence in who He is!
We find several different names of God in the Bible. You are about to embark on an exciting study of these names!
In the day of trouble or need, we are to run to our God, to put our trust in Him. That is why He says, “Call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me” (Psalm 50:15, KJV).
Is your heart troubled? Is fear lurking in the shadows of your consciousness? Do you feel insecure about anything at all? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, list your fears, insecurities, and troubles below. Then ask God to show you one of His names that will meet your need. When He shows you, tell Him that you will boast in that name.
– DAY THREE –
Let’s begin with a day of meditating on Psalm 20. As you look at this psalm, consider what we have talked about these past two days. At the end of the psalm you will find a brief assignment. I urge you to participate fully in this study. Don’t just read this book. Do the assignments. Write out your answers. This exercise will help cultivate the seeds of truth sown in your reading. The harvest can be bountiful, and you will grow!
PSALM 20 1May the LORD answer you in the day of trouble! May the name of the God of Jacob set you securely on high! 2May He send you help from the sanctuary, And support you from Zion! 3May He remember all your meal offerings, And find your burnt offering acceptable! 4May He grant you your heart’s desire, And fulfill all your counsel! 5We will sing for joy over your victory, And in the name of our God we will set up our banners. May the LORD fulfill all your petitions. 6 Now I know that the LORD saves His anointed; He will answer him from His holy heaven, With the saving strength of His right hand. 7 Some boast in chariots, and some in horses; But we will boast in the name of the LORD, our God. 8 They have bowed down and fallen; But we have risen and stood upright. 9 Save, O LORD; May the King answer us in the day we call.
1. Go through this psalm and put a around every word that has something to do with trouble, need, or help.* 2. What are the Lord’s promises in this psalm? 3. Are there any conditions that need to be met in order for the promises to be fulfilled? 4. According to this psalm, what sets a person securely on high or in a place of security above the circumstances of a situation? 5. On what basis can we set up banners of victory? 6. What does the answer to question 5 tell you about the name of God? 7. Why are they boasting in the name of the Lord?
Turn your heart’s desire into a prayer. Tell your Father what you need. Thank Him that He wants to be known by you in greater depth!
MEMORY VERSE The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous runs into it and is safe. PROVERBS 1 8 : 1 0
SMALL-GROUP DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
1. Before the study of these first three days, how did you picture God in your mind? 2. What was so significant about a name in biblical times? 3. Why is it important that we know the name of our God? 4. In Psalm 20, God talks about men who boast in chariots and horses and men who boast in the name of the Lord. Did you see a contrast between these two types of people? What is the contrast? 5. What does trusting in horses and chariots mean? How does that apply to today? 6. Can you remember a time when you trusted in “horses and chariots”? What was the result in your life? 7. Can you remember a time when you boasted in the name of the Lord? What was the result?
– DAY FOUR –
One of the names of God in the Old Testament is Elohim. This name designates God as God. Deuteronomy 10:17 says, “The LORD your God [Elohim] is the God of gods.…” El means “mighty” or “strong” and is used for any reference to gods, including Almighty God. Elohim is the primary Hebrew word translated “God” in the Old Testament. (Sometimes Jehovah is translated “God” rather than “LORD.”) The him ending of Elohim is very significant. In the Hebrew language it is a plural ending indicating more than one. Elohim is the name for God as Creator. It is used in Genesis 1:1 and could be translated, “In the beginning Gods created the heavens and the earth.”
Does the construction of the Hebrew word mean that there is more than one God? No! “The LORD [Jehovah] is our God [Elohim], the LORD is one” (Deuteronomy 6:4). God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit–the blessed Trinity–created the heavens and the earth. One in essence, in character, yet three persons united as one.
As you read various scriptures, you can see references to the different persons of the Godhead participating in the work of creation. In Genesis 1:2-3 we read, “The Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light.” “By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God…” (Hebrews 11:3). God spoke and the Spirit moved. Then Colossians 1:16 tells us that in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, “all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth.” Thus, we see that each person of the triune Godhead had a part in creation.
Even in the creation of man we see the Godhead working. In Genesis 1:26 we read, “Then God [Elohim] said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image.’ ” The Us refers to more than one!
But of what practical significance is this name to us? How can the name Elohim serve as a strong tower to us?
If God is the Creator of all things, who has given us life? Elohim, of course! And why were we created? For Him! You are a unique creation of God, one of a kind, created for His glory. He “didst form my inward parts.” He “didst weave me in my mother’s womb.… I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:13-14). Have you ever thought of yourself as being fearfully and wonderfully made? Or do you look at yourself and despise what Elohim has created?
I have a friend who is probably not more than three feet tall. Her head is of normal size, but her body is dwarfed. To me she is lovely. Julie spends all her days in a sling, much like a baby’s walker. In order to move anywhere, her legs must propel the rolling frame. Julie is radiant, a delight to all who meet her. She knows her Elohim, and she realizes that He created her just the way she is for a purpose. Now please don’t tell me God had nothing to do with her physical condition. If I were to believe that, I’d have to deny His sovereignty, His Word, and His name.
Remember when “Moses said to the LORD, ‘Please, Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither recently nor in time past, nor since Thou hast spoken to Thy servant; for I am slow of speech and slow of tongue’ ” (Exodus 4:10)?
What was the Lord’s reply? “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes him dumb or deaf, or seeing or blind? Is it not I, the LORD?” (Exodus 4:11).
But why would God create people who are different from His normal pattern of creation? Why would He ever permit a sperm to penetrate an egg when it would produce what seems to be a genetic disaster?
Remember when the disciples saw a man blind from birth, “and His disciples asked Him, saying, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he should be born blind?’” (John 9:2)? How did Jesus answer? “It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was in order that the works of God might be displayed in him” (John 9:3).
Oh, Beloved, if you are unhappy with yourself, with your child, or with a loved one, run into the strong tower of the name of your Elohim (Proverbs 18:10). You may not understand how your situation could ever bring Him glory, but you can trust in the name of your Lord. “Who is among you that fears the LORD, that obeys the voice of His servant, that walks in darkness and has no light? Let him trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God” (Isaiah 50:10).
“I will give thanks to the LORD according to His righteousness, and will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High” (Psalm 7:17). “For the LORD [Jehovah] your God [Elohim] is the God [Elohim] of gods [Elohim] and the Lord [Jehovah] of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God…” (Deuteronomy 10:17). Write out a prayer of worship to your creator. Sing praise to your God and Father as Elohim.
“For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen” (Romans 11:36).
– DAY FIVE –
You have heard the song. The words go, “Why was I born? Why am I living?” They are more than words to a song, aren’t they? They are the heart’s cry of every human being who seeks to know the reason for his existence. Why were you born? Why did Elohim create you? Why did He form your inward parts and weave you in your mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13)? Search out the answer to these questions, and you will know the purpose for your life.
In Isaiah 43 we read, “Thus says the LORD, your Creator, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel.… I am the LORD your God [Elohim].… you are precious in My sight.… everyone who is called by My name, and whom I have created for My glory, whom I have formed, even whom I have made” (Isaiah 43:1,3-4,7).
According to Isaiah 43, Elohim, the one who made man (male and female, Genesis 1:27) in His image, created you for His glory. One day I was studying what God’s Word says about the husbandwife relationship. I decided that since “woman is the glory of man” (1 Corinthians 11:7), I should look up the meaning of the word glory. In the Hebrew language it means “to give the correct opinion or estimate of.” I saw that as a woman I am to treat my husband in such a way as to give a correct opinion or estimate of him as a man.
Can you see how awesome it is to know that you have been created for God’s glory? That you are to live in such a way as to give all of creation a correct opinion or estimate of who God is? What does that mean to you, O child of God, who is called by His name? Think about it. How would you live if you were to live for His glory? Give yourself time to meditate on this truth, and then record below those things that God brings to your mind.
Let’s look at one other scripture that tells you why you were born. “Worthy art Thou, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for Thou didst create all things, and because of Thy will they existed, and were created” (Revelation 4:11). According to this scripture, you were created for His will. The King James Version says “pleasure.” In essence, they are the same. If I live for His will, that is His pleasure, or if I bring Him pleasure, it is because I have done His will.
His name is Elohim, the Almighty God, your Creator. You have looked at two scriptures that have answered the questions, “Why was I born? Why am I living?” You have seen that you have been created for His glory, for His pleasure. Your life is to be lived in such a way as to reflect Him, to show the world the character of God–His love, His peace, His mercy, His gentleness. You are to live for Him, to accomplish His will. To miss this purpose is to miss fulfillment. It is to have existed rather than to have lived.
Go before your God and evaluate the course of your life. What do you need to do? Will you? Answer these questions honestly in the presence of your Elohim.
Are you fulfilling the purpose of your creation? What is keeping you from being or doing what you were created for?
What do you need to change? Now write out a prayer of commitment.
Worthy art Thou, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for Thou didst create all things, and because of Thy will they existed, and were created. REVELATION 4 : 1 1
SMALL-GROUP DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
1. Elohim identifies God as Creator. From your study, why do you think it is important to know Him as Creator? 2. What did God create? 3. How does Elohim as Creator show us the triune God? 4. What role has God had in your life? 5. What is your responsibility to Him as your Creator? How are you fulfilling that responsibility? 6. How have the insights into God as Elohim helped to clear up your thinking regarding children born with Down syndrome or those born without a limb, etc.? 7. What is currently happening in your life or circumstances that is easier to deal with now that you know God as your Elohim?
Excerpted from Lord, I Want to Know You by Kay Arthur Copyright © 2000 by Kay Arthur. Excerpted by permission of WaterBrook Press, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.