“But I will reveal my name to my people, and they will come to know its power. Then at last they will recognize that I am the one who speaks to them.”
(Isaiah 52:6, NLT)
Friend to Friend
One of the first things we learn about a person upon meeting them is their name. Sometimes a surname can help us connect people with their families as we discover they are related in some way. When I got married, I changed my last name to identify with my husband—and later with our children who would bear that name. Recently someone at the place where I exercise told the class that she was getting married and mentioned what her new last name would be. I had never met her officially before, but I recognized the last name. I introduced myself after the workout and found that I knew some of her future family members. Names help us make connections.
The Bible reveals to us that names are significant for other reasons, as well.
- God’s first assignment to Adam was to name the animals, which helped him to discover his need for human companionship.
- The Lord changed several people’s names to mark a transformation in their lives. For example, Jacob’s name meant “deceiver,” and God changed it to Israel, which means God prevails (Genesis 32:28). Similarly, Jesus changed Simon’s name to Peter, which means “rock” (Matthew 16:16-18). In Scripture, a change of name reveals a change of identity.
- Parents in biblical times chose names carefully. Sometimes a name was related to a natural object (e.g., Jonah: dove; Tamar: palm tree). Other times the name was related to a time, place, circumstance, or peculiarity of a child.1 (Jacob’s brother was named Esau because he was hairy!)
Today we may or may not be interested in what a name actually means. My parents named me Melissa, which means “honey bee.” I think they just liked the sound of it.
It doesn’t matter whether your name has some special significance or your parents just liked the way it rolled off the tongue—it’s special because it was chosen for you.
Names matter, and God clearly communicates in His Word that He is serious about how we use His name.
Isaiah the prophet wrote that God reveals His name to us and through it we can know God’s power. Do you want to know God’s power? I know I do. I also want to recognize God’s voice in my life as I seek to know Him better and discern how to relate to others, manage my finances, and organize my day. God says that we can know Him better, experience His power, and hear His voice. That blows my mind! When I read this promise, my desire is not to misuse God’s name but to worship the One who bears it.
Dear Lord, I often feel powerless. Whether it’s my own personal struggles or the chaos in the world around me, I long to know your power. Thank you for reminding me today that you have revealed Your character to me through Your names. When everything around me seems out of control, help me to remember that there is power in Your name!
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Where are you feeling powerless today? Choose one of God’s names that reminds you of His power in your situation. Here are some of His names to consider:
- El Roi- the God who Sees Me
- El Shaddai – the All Sufficient One
- Yahweh Yireh – the Lord will Provide
- Yahweh Rapha – the Lord who Heals
- Jesus – His Name is above all names and means “Yahweh is Salvation”
More from the Girlfriends
Melissa Spoelstra is an author and speaker. Her newest Bible study titled The Names of God: His Character Revealed releases on August 4th. Check it out here: https://amzn.to/3bpbzJF