Bible Society of South Africa

What is in a name? – 1 October 2021

By Carina Francke

Bible text(s)

God's Glory and Human Dignity

1O LORD, our Lord,

your greatness is seen in all the world!

Your praise reaches up to the heavens;

Psalms 8:1GNBOpen in Bible reader

2I face your holy Temple,

bow down, and praise your name

because of your constant love and faithfulness,

because you have shown that your name and your commands are supreme.

Psalms 138:2GNBOpen in Bible reader

This month’s Verse-a-day devotions focus on the names of God and Jesus, and what it means for man.

God is the Creator and Source of everything. Names included. Each miracle of creation was named: earth, light, evening, heaven, sea, trees, man, and woman – you get the idea. The first human being had the privilege of naming every animal. I cannot help but wonder what the criteria were? Nature? Disposition? Looks? Functionality in nature? (Genesis 2:19-20)

When the name of God and Jesus are the subject, we are faced with an indescribable, holy Supreme Being. Words in an imperfect, stuttering human language cannot do these justice. It is almost like trying to appreciate a work of art in the light of only a torch. All one sees are splotches and parts of the artwork, never the full dimensions. God’s name is short but powerful and significant: “I AM” stands firm and immutable: He has exalted his name and his word above all things. (Psalm 138:2)

By his names and characteristics, He, the Light of the world, enlightens our understanding of who He is. His names reveal the nature of the Godhead, and enable us to get to know, respect and find safety in his omnipotence and splendour. “The name of the Lord is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.” (Proverbs 18:10)

God also wants us to be known by a name. I suspect it is because with God, no one is but a mere number or one of millions of the genus humankind. No, every human is created in God’s image, Unique. Your name, and by implication your character or disposition, and how it manifests itself, differs from that of any other human being on this earth. As he said to Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:5)

What an incomparable Creator-God we serve!

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I will praise your name for ever. Thank You for revealing yourself by your names. We can understand who we are dealing with – the Incomparable, Most High, the Almighty, the one God and Son. May our spiritual eyes see what we should be seeing. In the name of Jesus. Amen

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