Familiarity. Interaction. An indication of being known. These are some of the things that a name symbolizes.
I love the names of God. There are so many, because He is so much. I haven't learned them all. Who knows if I ever will? I'd like to try. But for now, these are some of the names that I am gratefully attached to, because I have interacted with these names in life-changing ways. I *know* God by these names, and that changes everything.
ELOHIM (Gen 1:1, Psalm 19:1): Strong Creator
I know ELOHIM, because I see Him surrounding me every day. Through the sunrise. Through the mountains. Through snowflakes in the winter and blooms in the spring. Through my children and the beauty he crafted in them. I can't open my eyes without seeing evidence of my Strong Creator. He is everywhere I look.
JEHOVAH-MACCADDESHEM (Exodus 31:13): The Lord thy Sanctifier
I know JEHOVAH-MACCADDESHEM, because I know the changes in my heart that its sinful wickedness is incapable of achieving on its own. I can boast of nothing but Christ in me. He is the only good in my heart, and I'm grateful for His presence there and His ongoing work in sanctifying me.
JEHOVAH-JIREH (Genesis 22:13-14): The Lord Will Provide
I know JEHOVAH-JIREH, because we still own a home in Nashville and rent a home in Vermont, yet somehow on a pastor's salary from a small (but ever so epic) church in rural Vermont, all of our needs are met. The Lord has provided. The Lord provides. The Lord will provide.
EL-SHADDAI (Psalm 91:1): God of the Mountains; God Almighty
I know EL-SHADDAI, because He has brought me to the mountains where he speaks to my heart so much more clearly than I have ever heard Him before. I feel His might and majesty so significantly here. I know he speaks differently to others, but I am grateful to dwell in the shadow of the mountains where I sense God Almighty through my surroundings every single day.
JEHOVAH-ROHI (Psalm 23:1): Great Shepherd
I know JEHOVAH-ROHI, because I have followed Him down unknown path after unknown path without fear or worry. This is not because of my personality or my natural ability to put fear and worry aside (I don't have that ability). It is because I know that my Great Shepherd has gone before me to ensure my safety.
JEHOVAH-SHALOM (Judges 6:24): The Lord is Peace
I know JEHOVAH-SHALOM, because I have known a sweet calm and stillness in my soul in the midst of circumstances that were quite the opposite of calm and still. The Lord gives peace because He is Peace.
JEHOVAH-RAPHA (Exodus 15:26): Healer
I know JEHOVAH-RAPHA, because I have seen healing in friends and family members for which there was no medical explanation. Where doctors could not help, the Healer did.
ABBA (Romans 8:15): Father
I know ABBA, because I spent 9 months alone in Nashville after my family had already moved to Vermont. But I felt my Father's arms around me in that big empty house in ways that I never had experienced before that time in my life.
Just a small representation of who He is for sure, but these names mean everything to me, and I look forward to becoming more familiar with a much longer list over time.