Advent Flow Intro - NAMES OF GOD: Introduction
NAMES OF GOD: An Introduction
by Pastor Mike Conan
Over the next 25 days we are going to reflect on the names of God together. This is part of our FLOW discipleship time. I hope FLOW will be a time when we put ourselves into God’s creek and grow in our understanding of who God is and our love for God. Thirteen different authors, all from our church, will be sending you a daily devotion to help connect you to our incredible God and help you grow in your faith. I hope that your head and heart will be strengthened and built up during this time! My prayer is that these devotions will help prepare you for a wonderful celebration of God and His plans for us in Jesus Christ.
What’s in a name?
In some cultures a person isn’t named until their personality has been discovered and their strengths and weaknesses made known. Our name is the essence of who we are as a person, when someone hears our names, they will immediately have some things come to mind about us. God’s name is the essence of who He is as well. God chooses to reveal bits and pieces about who He is through the names He reveals to us.
“The names of God are not of human invention, but of divine origin though they are all borrowed from human language, and derived from human and earthly relations.” -Louis Berhkof, Systematic Theology
“The Name of God is His Being, not as He is in Himself, but as He is revealed to us.” -Herman Hoeksema, Reformed Dogmatics
The wonder and the beauty of God is that one name is not sufficient, God’s character is manifold and different parts of His character will come alive to us at different times. As we do this reading for advent the goal is for us to take time to ponder who God is and how God’s character revealed in His names may affect us and our world.
God has a whole commandment related to honoring His name(s)! I love how the Westminster Confession of Faith unpacks this commandment for our lives:
Q. 112. What is required in the Third Commandment?
A. The Third Commandment requires, that the name of God, his titles, attributes,1 ordinances,2 the word,3 sacraments,4 prayer,5 oaths,6 vows,7 lots,8 his works,9 and whatsoever else there is whereby he makes himself known, be holily and reverently used in thought,10 meditation,11 word,12 and writing;13 by an holy profession,14 and answerable conversation,15 to the glory of God,16 and the good of ourselves17 and others.18
WCF Question 112 scripture references:
- Matt. 6:9; Deut. 28:58; Ps. 68:4; Ps 29:2; Rev. 15:3, 4.
- Mal. 1:14.
- Ps. 138:2.
- I Cor. 11:28, 29. See context.
- I Tim. 2:8.
- Jer. 4:2.
- Ps. 76:11.
- Acts 1:24, 26.
- Ps. 107:21, 22.
- Mal. 3:16.
- Ps. 8.
- Ps. 105:2, 5; Col. 3:17.
- Ps. 102:18.
- I Peter 3:15; Micah 4:5.
- Phil. 1:27.
- I Cor. 10:31.
- Jer. 32:39.
- I Peter 2:12.
Q. 113. What are the sins forbidden in the Third Commandment?
A. The sins forbidden in the Third Commandment are: the not using of God’s name as is required;1 and the abuse of it in an ignorant,2 vain,3 irreverent, profane,4 superstitious,5 or wicked mentioning or otherwise using the titles, attributes,6 ordinances,7 or works;8 by blasphemy;9 perjury; 10 all sinful cursing,11 oaths,12 vows,13 and lots;14 violating our oaths and vows, if lawful;15 and fulfilling them, if of things unlawful;16 murmuring and quarreling at,17 curious prying into,18 and misapplying of God’s decrees19 and providence;20 misinterpreting,21 misapplying,22 or any way perverting the Word, or any part of it,23 to profane jests,24 curious and unprofitable questions, vain janglings, or the maintaining of false doctrines;25 abusing it, the creatures, or anything contained under the name of God, to charms,26 or sinful lusts and practices;27 the maligning,28 scorning,29 reviling,30 or any way opposing of God’s truth, grace, and ways;31 making profession of religion in hypocrisy, or for sinister ends;32 being ashamed of it, 33 or a shame to it, by uncomfortable,34 unwise,35 unfruitful, 36 and offensive walking37 or backsliding from it.38
WCF Question 113 Scripture references:
- Mal. 2:2.
- Acts 17:23.
- Prov. 30:9.
- Mal. 1:6, 7, 12; Mal. 3:14.
- Jer. 7:4. See context. Col. 2:20 22.
- Exod. 5:2; Ps. 139:20.
- Ps. 50:16, 17.
- Isa. 5:12.
- II Kings 19:22; Lev. 24:11.
- Zech. 5:4.
- Rom. 12:14; I Sam. 17:43; II Sam. 16:5.
- Jer. 5:7; Jer. 23:10.
- Deut. 23:18; Acts 23:12.
- Esth. 3:7; Esth. 9:24.
- Ps. 24:4; Ezek. 17:19. See context.
- Mark 6:26; I Sam. 25:22, 32–34.
- Rom. 9:14, 19, 20.
- Deut. 29:29.
- Rom. 3:5, 7. See context.
- Ps. 73:12, 13.
- Matt. 5:21–48.
- Ezek. 13:22.
- II Peter 3:16; Matt. 22:29. See context, verses 23–32.
- Eph. 5:4.
- I Tim. 6:4, 5, 20; II Tim. 2:14; Titus 3:9.
- Deut. 18:10, 11. See context. Acts 19:13.
- II Tim. 4:3, 4; Jude 4; Rom. 13:13, 14; I Kings 21:9, 10.
- Acts 13:45.
- II Peter 3:3; Ps. 1:1.
- I Peter 4:4.
- Acts 13:50. See verses 45, 46; Acts 4:18; Acts 19:9; I Thess. 2:16, Heb.10:29. 32. II Tim. 3:5; Matt. 23:14; Matt. 6:1–3, 5, 16.
- 33. Mark 8:38.
- 34. Ps. 73:14, 15.
- 35. Eph. 5:15, 17; I Cor. 6:5, 6.
- 36. Isa. 5:4; II Peter 1:8, 9.
- 37. Rom. 2:23, 24.
- 38. Gal. 3:1, 3; Heb. 6:6.
From these names you can see that there is a lot to God’s name(s). How we treat God’s name is in essence how we would treat God, for He reveals Himself through His name. Choosing not to honor God’s name(s) will have a negative impact on our lives and remembering and honoring God’s name(s) will have a positive impact on our lives! I hope you enjoy this time of reflection and it will draw your heart towards Him in Spirit and in Truth.
What names are we going to cover?
For this study we will be looking at some of the general names for God in the first half of our study, and we will look at some of the names of Jesus in the second half of the study. Hopefully, focusing on the names of Jesus will better prepare us for the remembrance and celebration of His glorious birth.
How much do you know about the name(s) of God? Why?
How important is God’s name to Him?
How important does he want it to be to you?
How could studying God’s names impact your life?
Prayer: Lord help me to learn more about you through this time of advent. Thank you for revealing yourself to us through your names. Help me to honor you by honoring and studying your names. Increase my knowledge and my love for you during this advent season. I love you Lord. –Amen