Wednesday, July 17, 2013

What's in a name?

Wow!!!  We are having a scorcher of a day even in the shade!  However I am still outside enjoying my almond milk iced mocha and English muffin with orange marmalade.  My poor puppy wants to be out but she is a air conditioned diva so she will go in sooner than I.  Life is good and God is great!

I have switched up my Bible reading plan this year.  For several years I have used various styles of 'read through in one year' plans.  While they are great plans, for me it was becoming more of a check-off on my list to do.  I wanted something that would allow me to go deeper and study things out.  So I found a great one that is a chapter a day which is estimated to take about 2-3 years.  It delivered!

Often in the Bible we see God changing people's name throughout time.  I had never noticed that early in Exodus He changes His own name!   Originally, Genesis 17:1, the Isrealites knew Him as El Shaddai which translates to God Almighty.   In Hebrew it also means "God, the mountain one".   As God was preparing them for deliverance out of Egyptian bondage in Exodus 6:3, He introduces himself as Yahweh meaning dependable, faithful, or 'He is'.  Back in chapter 3:14-15 the study notes refer to "I AM" and Yahweh being the same name but the use depends on the speaker.  If God is referring to himself than 'I AM' is used but if we are speaking of God than Yahweh or 'He is' needs to be used.  This was the name He wished to be known as...faithful, dependable.

That has had me thinking for over a month!  Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob all had specific memorable encounters with God as El Shaddai....much like our 'mountaintop experiences' today.  However just as in Exodus, today God still prefers to be known as Yahweh.  The name that suggests true relationship...'He is' with us always!  He was trying to make the Isrealites ready for a long walk with a daily reliance on Him.  That brings to mind our daily walk with Him.  Sometimes my walk is hot and dusty while other times it is cool and refreshing.  Nonetheless He is always there and providing....even when I am too parched to notice and/or appreciate it!

A daily walk is not promised to be easy!  In fact the middle section of Ephesians 6 depicts for us that life is a also instructs us how to prepare ourselves not only to fight but also to win!   Any person in any kind of lasting relationship will tell you it was the hard times that made it grow deeper.  I know personally that is true of my relationships and especially of my relationship with God!   It will be work but it will produce a depth and a joy beyond what you can imagine!

So which name do you know God by?   El Shaddai or Yahweh?

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