Knowing God by Name
On your next visit to a large shopping mall, see if one of the busiest kiosks is not the one selling genealogical information: family histories, coats of arms, and the derivation of names. People are fascinated with discovering their “true” identities. “Were our ancestors really ‘bakers?’” the Baker family asks. “Are we descended from blacksmiths and metal workers?” the Smith children ask their parents. A name can tell a lot about who we are—or were.
God takes naming seriously as well. Not only did he name the parts of his original creation (Genesis 1:3-10), but he named the stars as well (Isaiah 40:26). And to Adam he gave the task of naming the animals (Genesis 2:20) and Adam’s children (Genesis 4:1,2,26). God’s own names were one of the most important indicators of his identity. Not only did God name himself at times (Exodus 3:14), he also received the names which his chosen people gave to him as they came to know him personally. One of those names was “Sovereign Lord.”
This compound name of God is beautiful in that it reveals the two attributes of God most cherished by Israel: God’s personal approachability and his mighty rule. Think of a father in a home who tenderly lavishes affection on his children yet firmly acts as the authority. Or think of a shepherd who binds the wounds of his sheep, yet uses his rod to drive away the ravenous wolves. Affection, yet authority. Tenderness, yet strength. Servant leadership, yet sovereign lordship.
“Sovereign” to the Israelite meant master or ruler; the one over whom no one else had power or authority. “Lord” (Yahweh) was the name God gave the Israelites to use in their personal relationship with him. “Sovereign Lord” is the name of the God who tenderly saved his infant nation from slavery, and totally destroyed her enemy in the Red Sea. Moses truly knew God as “Sovereign Lord.”
Do you know God like Moses did—as Sovereign Lord? One of the reasons God exists is to reveal himself to you—to show you his true identity—as the God who loves and protects his children.
God’s Promise to You: “I will always love you and protect you.”