“I am the Lord; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols.” Isaiah 42:8
Have you had the experience of greeting someone who knows your name, and, embarrassingly, you simply do not know (or cannot remember) their name? The conversation can become a little awkward and impersonal as you stammer, “Hi! How are you doing?”
The fact is when we do not know another person’s name (or call them by a wrong name) there is no possibility for real relationship, connection, depth, or intimacy. However, when you do know someone’s name, you can greet them with a truly warm welcome, enjoy the closeness of friendship, and build upon the connection of calling each other by name!
It is no different with God. The Christian faith is not a “Mad Lib” faith in which you can fill in the blank or supply a name at your convenience and preference. The Christian faith does not urge us to “get yourself a God; any God will do.”
If we do not know God’s name as He is revealed in the Bible, we miss out on the opportunity for real relationship, connection, depth, and intimacy with Him. If we do not know God’s name as He reveals himself in the Bible, we miss out on the story that God’s name tells us about Him.
In Isaiah 42:8, God introduces himself: “I am the LORD; that is my name.” The story He is telling us is that He is the living God – the LORD, the Redeemer, and the Promise-maker and keeper for His people. In Matthew 1:21, God deepens our understanding of who He is and teaches us that He is so committed to keep His promises that He became human in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
He entered our world of brokenness, hurt, and disappointments to save us from our sin – to invite us to know him face-to-face and reconcile us to himself. In Galatians 4:6, God tells even more about himself: we are His cherished children because of what Jesus has done for us – that we have the privilege of crawling up into our heavenly Father’s lap, resting our heads upon his shoulder, and whispering our cares to Him as our loving Father.
God tells us His name for two reasons: he wants us to have the warm relationship and connection of people who know each other’s names and he wants us to know the story of who he is – LORD, Jesus, Father. God is not a nameless, faceless, distant idea, or abstract power, force, or philosophy. God has a name, a story, a face, and a heartbeat. He yearns for you to know him, to receive his love, and to relate to him face-to-face.
Romans 10:13 makes a lovely, bold promise: “Whoever calls upon the name of the Lord, will be saved!” Since you know His name, call upon Him today and rest in the warm promise of rescue and relationship He freely extends to you even now.