Mar 31, 2011, 1:39 PM
“Your name, O Lord endures forever, your renown, O Lord throughout all generations.” (Psalm 135:13)
Ever heard of or met a guy with 36 professions? I did - at least that was what he claimed. First, I looked at him in awe and all of sudden I burst into a ‘hushed’ laughter as it dawned on me that he should have been an impostor - posing as a rare phenomenon. Call it mere bluff. Just then the proverb I learnt in school came to mind: ‘Jack of all trades and master of none.’
If he claimed to practise 36 trades, for sure he did not master all of them. My best bet was that he had head knowledge for some and a little experience for the remainder. Like the decathlon athletes, I would have believed him for ten allied professions – not more than two score and ten. To my mind, it was something impossible. Yes, some things are impossible with men but possible with God. (Luke 1:37) This guy had neither that caliber nor could he operate in that realm unfortunately.
God has 99 names and he can identify with each of them. Every single name reveals a facet of his character. These attributes are not a direct result of what God said but what he did. Often, after an encounter with someone whose name we cannot remember, we simply identify that person by his deeds or his profession; for example – the milkman, that street vendor, the magician.
Each time God intervened in the lives of the biblical characters, he is addressed by the name depicting the circumstances for which he had intervened. So, we have a host of names by which to identify God. That does not make him multiple in nature. No! He is one God with several attributes. Otherwise, in common parlance, we call him the Lord God, Jehovah.
Commonly addressed Father, he is equally attributed the role of author of all creation – everything created in heaven and on earth. “Yet, O Lord you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter, we are all the work of your hand.” (Isaiah 64:8) In the prayer our Lord Jesus taught us, God bears the title Father – “Our Father in heaven….” (Matthew 6:9)
Abraham had set off for mount Moriah to sacrifice his son, Isaac, in keeping with God’s instructions. On the way, it occurred to the young man that the most important element was missing; - the ram that was to be sacrificed. So he enquired from his father. “The fire and wood are here, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” Abraham’s response did not tarry. “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” (Genesis 22:7-8)
After Abraham had bound his son ‘hands and feet’ on the altar to offer him as a sacrifice, the angel of the Lord appeared to Abraham and interrupted the proceedings. Instantly, a ram caught by its horns in a thicket became available and Isaac’s life spared. Abraham called that place ‘The Lord Will Provide’ – meaning that on the mountain of the Lord provision was made.
God is our Provider. He will always provide for his children in good as well as bad times. In the Garden of Eden, everything God created was made available to Adam and Eve. Not until they disobeyed did they have to toil for a living. Likewise, the Children of Israel trekked the desert for forty years and never had to sow or reap. The Lord God provided food for them. Abraham did not ask for a ram. God provided it. (Genesis 22:14)
The Amalekites waged war against the Children of Israel in Rephidin and Moses assigned Joshua to lead selected fighters to battle whilst he prayed to God on their behalf. Ably assisted by Aaron and Hur, Moses overcame fatigue as he prayed. As long as his hands were uplifted, Joshua had the upper hand. Finally Joshua and his team triumphed over the enemy. Because God gave them victory, Moses built an altar making reference to celebrate - ‘The Lord my banner.’ Jehovah Nissi. “For hands were lifted up to the throne of the Lord.” (Exodus 17:14)
The God who answers by fire
As God accomplished a new feat in the lives of his people titles upon titles were heaped on him. When the prophet Elijah appealed to God to manifest his power on Mount Carmel because some of the Lord’s prophet were following Baal (a pagan god), God responded by burning up the sacrifice and the wood, licking up as well the twelve barrels of water that it had been doused with. God responded by fire. (1 Kings 18:`16-40)
The Lifter of my head
Because God saved David from his son Absalom, who had staged a coup, David wrote a psalm glorifying his name. “But you are a shield around me, O Lord; you bestow glory upon me and lift up my head. To the Lord I cry aloud and he answers me from his holy hill.” (Psalm 3:3-4) As the circumstances change a specific name is attributed to God.
Severally God is referred to as our Fortress and Refuge: “I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust.” (Psalm 91:2) “The Lord is my Rock, my Fortress and my Deliverer; my God is my Rock in whom I take Refuge, my Shield and the Horn of my Salvation, He is my Stronghold, my Refuge and my Saviour ….” (2 Samuel 22:2)
What names have you attributed to the Lord of Hosts lately? Faithful, Loving, Unchanging, Good and Righteous. In the temple the Lord was “seated on the throne, high and exalted, the train of his robe filled the temple.” From the lips of the angels Isaiah could hear them calling: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” (Isaiah 6:3) O, how very awesome is our God!