As a committed follower of Christ, if I say, “I want to know God”, what do I really mean? What does it mean to “know God”? How do we get to know Him?
You get to know God in the same manner as you would a new friend. Now I don’t mean to trivialize the Holiness of God, but in the similar manner as you develop the trust and confidence of a friend you develop oneness and knowledge of God.
If someone came to you about a trusted friend and said, “Can I trust your close friend John?” You would say, yes you can. You would give them a few of his character traits to support your claim. The only way to truly know a person and to accurately determine their trustworthiness is to first know his character. His character reveals his worldview and his heart.
It’s the same way with God, to know God is to know His character. How do you determine God’s character? You get to know God by knowing and understanding his many names as outlined in Scripture. Each name of God reveals a particular character trait. Listed below are a few of the most common names of God.
1. Elohim – Refers to His power and might (Gen. 1:1)
2, Elyon- The strongest strong one (Gen 14:17-20)
3, El Roi –The Strong one who sees all (Gen. 16:13)
4. El Olam – The everlasting God ( Isa. 40:28)
5. Adonai – Master, Lord, God owns all creation (Mal. 1:6)
6. Jehovah – Self-existent one, the God of the Covenant (Gen. 2:4)
7. Jehovah Jireh – The Lord will provide (Gen. 22:13-14)
8. Jehovah Nissi – The Lord, my banner (Exod. 17:5)
9. Jehovah Shalom – The Lord is peace (Judges 6:24)
10. Jehovah Sabbaoth- The Lord of Hosts (1 Sam. 1:3, Isa 6:1-3)
11, Jehovah Rohi (Raah) – The Lord, my Shepherd (Ps. 23:1)
12. Jehovah Maccaddeshoem – The Lord thy Sanctifier (Exodus 31:13)
13. Jehovah Rapha – The Lord our Healer (Exodus 15:26)
14. Jehovah Shammah – The Lord who is present (Ezek. 48:35)
15. God the Omnipotent – All powerful
16. God the Omnipresent- All present
17. God the Omniscience- All knowing
As you can see, each one of the names of God describes an aspect of his Character. That’s the reason that it is important to read and memorize Scripture. When you internalize the Scripture you are experiencing His character and then you begin to know His ways, and understand how much He loves you. As I meditate and reflect on who God is the Holy Spirit not only convicts me of my sin but also convicts and reminds me of my righteousness in Christ. (John 16:8)
You see, the mystery of the Christian life is wrapped up in the person of Christ within you. To know Christ is to know God. To know His names is to know His character. To know His character is to know His ways. To know His ways is to know God.
Matthew Henry in his commentary on Romans 15 gives three reasons why we should know the names of God.
(1) The better God is known the more He is trusted.
(2) The more God is trusted the more He is sought.
(3) God never did, nor ever will, disown or desert any that duly seek Him and trust in Him.
J C Ryle said it this way...
By the “name” of God we mean all those attributes through which He is revealed to us—His power, wisdom, holiness, justice, mercy and truth. By asking that they may be “hallowed,” we mean that they may be made known and glorified. The glory of God is the first thing that God’s children should desire. It is the object of one of our Lord’s own prayers: “Father, glorify (aorist imperative) Your Name!” (John 12:28). It is the purpose for which the world was created; it is the end for which the saints are called and convened.
I have two suggestions. Print out the names of God and put it in your Bible, or in a place that is handy for you to access during your devotional time. I have the names of God taped to a page in the back of my Bible. I regularly look at the list to remind me of His faithfulness. That is especially important when I doubt some aspect of God’s care and concern for me. To me, being able to reflect on His character seen in His names contributes to my personal worship.
Secondly, do your own personal study on the names of God. It will be a great blessing, and extremely enriching to your spiritual life. This devotional is just an introduction to what you can benefit from a more complete study of the names of God.
The best part of knowing God is that He is a gift that keeps on giving. The more you know Him the more you love Him, and the more your life will begin to reflect His character.
"And those who know your name will put their trust in you. For you O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you" (Psalm 9:10)