In her book “Praying the names of God”, Ann Spangler writes: “…names in the ancient world carried far more significance than they do in the modern world. In addition to distinguishing one person from another, names were often thought to reveal the essential nature and character of a person… To know God’s name is to enjoy a kind of privileged access to him. By revealing his name, God made himself not only accessible but vulnerable. Not only could his people call on his name in prayer, they could dishonour it by living in ways that contradicted his character”.
Spangler goes on to explain how she experienced some of the names / titles of God to be comforting and consoling (e.g.: Abba “Father” and Yahweh Roeh “The Lord is my shepherd”), others seemed strange or frightening (e.g.: Esh Oklah “Consuming fire”; El Kanna “Jealous God”). Yet, what emerges from a study like this is a look into the utter holiness of God. That’s where we see the fullness of his nature and character.
As we take a look at some of the names of God used in the Hebrew scriptures (our Old Testament), we will touch again on some of the experiences of God we saw in 1 & 2 Samuel, as well as begin to look ahead to our next teaching series when we will consider the kinds of questions that we might want to ask of God so that we can understand his nature and character even more.
Our aim in this series is to understand some of the names of God better so that we can fully live them.