Volume. XXXVI, No. 21
Sunday, 21 November 2021

What’s in a Name?

We will consider a new series of articles on the theme ‘The Names of God’. What is so special about a name? A name identifies a person - who he or she is. But for God and his name, it’s much more than that. When we give names to our children, we don’t have the power to change their character. We can only hope they live up to the great name that we give them. But it is different if God gives the name. He has the power to change us and will fulfil it in the lives of those He named. In Genesis 17:5, God changed Abram’s name to Abraham to show that from then he would be the father of many nations. Similarly, in Genesis 17:15, God changed Sarai’s name to Sarah.

In Genesis 32:27-28, we find the most notable change of name by God. “And he said unto him, what is thy name? And he said, Jacob. And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.” Jacob means “he cheats” or “deceiver”. Jacob’s life displayed this deception from birth until he wrestled with God. And in the encounter with God, Jacob is humbled, forgiven and given a new name Israel, which mean “God fights” or “triumphant with God”. In the New Testament, God gave His only begotten Son and our Saviour a beautiful name. “...thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins” (Matt 1:21). Jesus lived up to His name, and what a wonderful saviour He is to us. So, if God gives a name to us, there is much in it as it will reveal our destiny.

God revealed Himself to us through His names too. When God names Himself, we can be sure He is who He says He is. His name is packed with meaning. God will not choose names for Himself at random. Rather He, through names, reveals Himself to us so that we can adore, love and worship Him meaningfully.
The most common name for God in the Old Testament is the name YHWH. In our English versions, the word LORD in all capital letters refers to YHWH. Yahweh – “The self-existent one” (Exodus 3:13-14). Yahweh needs no introduction. He is gracious and keeps his promises or covenant. Yahweh is God’s proper name in Hebrew. God revealed this name to Moses when he asked God’s name. You can read this in Exodus 3:13-15. It appears close to 7000 times in the Old Testament, almost three times more than other names of God.

The other names, including the compound names, provide further revelation of His character, greatness, and mission. The list below is that of the notable names of God. Adonai – “Lord” (Exodus 4:10-16; Isaiah 6:1-8). Since God is Lord over all, we should obey, serve, and worship him. Elohim – “The Strong One” (Genesis 1:1). Elohim has the power to create, restore, and keep his promises. El Elyon – “God Most High” (Genesis 14:19-20). Who deserves our wholehearted worship and allegiance. El Roi – “The God who sees me” (Genesis 16:13). El Roi sees my need and steps in to meet our needs. El Shaddai – “God Almighty” (Genesis 17:1-2). El Shaddai is all-powerful and all-sufficient. El Olam – “The everlasting God” (Genesis 21:33). The everlasting God is always and eternally available to us.
Jehovah Jireh – “The Lord will provide” (Genesis 22:14). Jehovah Jireh provides all that we need. Jehovah Rapha – “The Lord who heals you” (Exodus 15:22-27). Jehovah Rapha reminds us that health and healing are linked to obedience. Jehovah Nissi – “The Lord is our banner” (Exodus 17:8-16). The banner of the Lord leads us to victory. Jehovah M’kadesh – “The Lord who sanctifies you” (Leviticus 20:7-8). Jehovah M’kadesh sets us apart for Himself and calls us to live holy lives. Jehovah Shalom – “The Lord is Peace” (Judges 6:24). A mindset on God will experience perfect peace. Jehovah Sabaoth – “The Lord of Hosts” (1 Samuel 1:10-11; 17:45-46). The Lord of Hosts fights for his people. Jehovah Rohi – “The Lord my shepherd” (Psalm 23). Because the Lord is my shepherd, I have everything I need. Jehovah Tsidkenu – “The Lord our righteousness” (Jeremiah 23:5-6). As a righteous God, God cannot overlook sin. God allowed Jesus to take our punishment, and through His death, we are declared righteous. Jehovah Shammah – “The Lord is there” (Ezekiel 48:35). Jehovah Shammah is present among His people.

Hebrews 13:8 reminds us that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. Our God never changes; therefore, as James says in James 1:17, “...with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” As creatures, we should thank God we belong to the great and the only God. The implication of this is also that we conform more to His likeness and characteristics as much as possible in our finite nature. Children learn from parents, students from teachers, and soldiers from their army general, so we as creation learn from our Creator. Since God is real and revealed to us through His names too, we must imitate Him and conform to God. His names remind us of God’s sufficiency in dealing with whatever we may face.

So, what’s in a name? Much as God has revealed Himself, His character and mission through His name and wants us to want us to know Him personally. We don’t believe in somebody who is up there in heaven; we know Him by name. We know God exists and has revealed Himself so that we can know Him and sing His praises. The Psalmist says in Psalm 8:1, “O LORD, our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens.” Psalm 9:10 remind us, “And they that know thy name put their trust in thee...” The great preacher C H Spurgeon, commenting on Psalm 9:10, says we should be diligent in studying God’s names because “Ignorance is worst when it amounts to ignorance of God, and knowledge is best when it exercises itself upon the Name of God. This most excellent knowledge leads to the most excellent grace of faith…… By knowing His Name, it also means an experimental acquaintance with the attributes of God, which is every one of the anchors to hold the soul from drifting in seasons of peril.” God’s names strengthen our faith, and we who know the name of God let us put our trust in Him.

Let us show reverence to God and His name. Don’t follow the world and take the name of the Lord in vain. The third commandment reminds us in Exodus 20:7, “Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.” Rather we are reminded in the Lord’s prayer to lift on high the name of God. “After this manner, therefore, pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.” (Matt 6:9). May our prayer be like the psalmist in Psalm 86:11. “Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name.”


Rev Mathews Abraham

More Lively Hope



  • Jan-Mar 2022 Service Roster: Please send your availability by 1 Dec 2021 to hopebpcrosterer@gmail.com.
  • Working Bee this coming Saturday, 27 Nov. Please come to clean & tidy up the church compound & have a fellowship time.
  • Please observe physical distancing & mask/ hygiene rules, especially whilst indoors.
  • Tithes & offerings - please see Lively Hope for details.


  • Exams for university students.
  • God’s guidance & protection as borders open from 23 Nov.
  • Healing: Rev Pong Sen Yiew and all others who are unwell.

Praise & Thanksgiving

  • God’s daily guidance, providence & protection.
  • Church activities in the past week.
  • Current COVID-19 situation in South Australia.



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14 Bedford Square, Colonel Light Gardens, South Australia 5041