The ABC’s of knowing God better: the letter Y
As I put together the third volume of these meditations to release this month, I realized I never finished the series “The ABC’s of knowing God better.” So I wrote the final two meditations based on the letters Y and Z. In today’s blog we explore the meaning of YHWH, the names of God. Next week we’ll finish the series with a meditation on what word beginning with the letter Z describes God.
THE MANY NAMES OF GOD
Read and reflect on Exodus 3:13–15.
God also said to Moses, “Say this to the Israelites: Yahweh, the God of your fathers … has sent me to you. This is My name forever.” –Exodus 3:15 HCSB
“She will give birth to a son, and you are to name him Yeshua, [which means ‘Adonai saves,’] because he will save his people from their sins.” – Matthew 1:21 CJB
MY MOTHER WANTED TO name me Teresa, but my dad disagreed. “Her name is Michele,” he said.
And so it was. That is, until someone came along and called me Mickey.
“Don’t call her that. It might stick.”
And so it did.
I don’t know who said what in giving me my nickname, but until high school only family members called me Mickey. In school I was Michele. One l. Please.
When I got to high school, I determined Michele wasn’t cool enough, but so I changed the spelling of my nickname to Mikki. Which I thought was cool.
So my high school peers still call me Mikki.
On to college. Mikki just wasn’t sophisticated enough, so I went back to Michele. One l. Please.
And stayed with it.
When I started teaching, I was Miss Maddock. Halfway through my second year I became Mrs. Huey.
A few years later I became Mommy. I was already Aunt Michele.
Then twenty years ago another name was added—Grandma.
I wear my names with pride. Each one indicates not only who I am and who I belong to, it conveys relationship and position.
God’s names, too, indicate relationship and position, as well as His divine attributes.
It would take a tome to discuss all God’s names and what they mean, but I’d like to focus on a few that have a personal meaning to me.
First and foremost, God is YHWH. The divine name He gave to Moses when Moses asked Him what should he tell the Israelites when they asked, “What is His name?” (Exodus 3:13).
“I AM WHO I AM,” God replied. Which translates Yahweh, or YHWH, since the Israelites considered God’s name to be too holy to say aloud.
Yahweh is a form of the verb “to be,” which is translated in this verse I AM.
The English rendering of YHWH is LORD and is found over seven thousand times in Scripture. It means “Self-existence or Eternal One,” “The One who exists because of who He is, and speaks of His holiness, justice and hatred of sin. (“Names of God,” Children’s Ministry Resource Bible, p. 914)
Other names of God that have a personal meaning to me include:
El Shaddai – “Almighty God.” Strength, lifegiver, the bountiful supplier of all blessings also are included in the meaning of El Shaddai. He gives me life, strength and abundant blessings.
YHWH Yireh – “The-LORD-will-provide.” He provides for all my needs.
YHWH Shalom – “The-LORD-Is-Peace.” Only God can give me inner peace.
YHWH Rophe – “The-LORD-Who-Heals.” God restores, strengthens and heals me.
YHWH Roii – “The LORD Our Shepherd.” With tenderness, God cares for, guides and protects me, like a shepherd cares for his flock.
My personal favorite is the name Hagar gave to God when He met her in the wilderness after she fled the abusive Sarah: Lahai Roi, “You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees.” To God she was more than a slave, a servant, a foreigner. She was a person He cared for enough to meet her at her lowest point and meet her deepest need. To Him, she was not invisible. (Genesis 16)
And then there’s Yeshua, more commonly Jesus—“The LORD is salvation,” or “ADONAI saves.”
Which of God’s names have a personal meaning for you? Why?
Thank You, YHWH, for all that You are to me. Amen.
NOTE: The names for God and their meanings were taken from the Children’s Ministry Resource Bible © 1993 by Child Evangelism Fellowship, Inc.
Look for God, Me, & a Cup of Tea, Vol. 3 to be released later this month. It will be available on Amazon both in Kindle and print versions. If you prefer a personally autographed copy, you can order one by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org . The print version is $15, but you can order two books for $25, a savings of $5. If you like fiction, I’ll be releasing Ghost Mountain, Book 2 in the PennWoods Mystery series, this month, too. Order one of each for $25. No shipping charges on prepaid orders. Be blessed!