Monday, November 10, 2014

THE WONDER OF GOD'S NAME


What's in a name?

Well, if you're God, quite a lot!

Our pastor is doing a series of sermons on the names of God.  

And today, I was blown away by how the Holy Spirit spoke to me through his words – how the Spirit moved so powerfully in my heart when we studied this name:

Elohim.

The name Elohim means "strong one" in Hebrew.

So it's an apt name for the Almighty God.  

But what's most interesting to me is the fact that God chooses to name Himself with this name.  And it's also pretty remarkable when God chooses to introduce it.

In the beginning.

Yes, right there in the very first verse in the Bible, there is the name…

Elohim.

Genesis 1:1 could be translated this way:

"In the beginning, Elohim created the heavens and the earth."


So today our pastor helped us *unpack* shades of meaning, blistering insights, and nuances of Truthall held within that name.

Let me start with some facts:

1) This name for God appears over 2500 times in the Bible.

2) Elohim is the name that is translated "God" in Scripture – so when you see the upper-case name, God, it is actually the Hebrew name Elohim.

3) The name Elohim is plural and singular – thereby declaring the existence and truth of the Trinity from the very beginning.

4) Therefore, the name Elohim declares that the Trinity was involved in the process of creation.  Yes, the one God in three Persons – all of them participated in this miraculous work.


So, God chooses this way of introducing Himself – by using a name that holds a treasure chest of doctrine, theology, and mighty truth.

Pause and ponder that.


But our pastor also elucidated other characteristics inherent in a Creator God.

He used these words: transcendent, outside of time, not confined by what exists, organized, intelligent, detailed, extravagant, sustaining.

Elohim is infinitely more than and substantially distinct from His creation.

In fact, creation only points us to conclude that there is Someone greater.

Now, I am a nature lover.  And I live in a pretty awesome place.  Surrounded by majestic mountains, and towering trees, and creatures galore.  The sky is often bright blue, and the moon glows like the sun.  The air is so clear at night that I can see the Milky Way and its entourage of a multitude of stars.

Some are tempted to worship these things.

But this awe and adoration is misdirected if we stop at the "stuff."

It would be like worshiping a book just because the cover is pretty and the pages smell good…without ever reading the words, or knowing the author.

Creation speaks.

And it speaks of its Creator.


Lately I've shared a lot about the difficulties this year has brought to my life. How sometimes I feel so alone in it all.  Just the other night, when I once again could not fall asleep, I looked out my window in the kitchen and stared at the skies.  I whispered aloud, "You know, God, that is a pretty awesome sky You've created."  And in that exact moment, the biggest shooting star I have ever seen streaked across the sky!

It was if I heard God say, "I'm here."

My eyes teared up as I was once again reminded of the transcendent God of the universe who also deigns to come near.

Elohim.

The Creator, who is all-powerful.

Think of words that mean powerful:  strong, great, mighty, awesome, commanding, authoritative, prevailing, majestic, almighty, invincible, supreme, sovereign, omnipotent.

This God is our God.


Why do we doubt Him?

Why do we struggle with trusting Him completely?

Why do we try to control our own lives, to determine our own circumstances, to manipulate our own situations, to fix our own relationships – ON OUR OWN?

I don't know why I do that.

I think I’m just a slow learner.

Are you?


So, as this very powerful message was coming to an end, our pastor chose to have us focus on a very particular scene from the book of Luke.

A young woman is confronted by the angel, Gabriel.  And he has a message for her:

"…behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.  He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.  And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end."

I don't know about you, but if I was Mary at this moment, I probably would have uttered something really profound like:

"Huh???"

We're not alone in those feelings.  Mary was a bit confused, too.  For she knew that she was a virgin, and she knew how creation worked.  She could not fathom in her own mind how this prediction was ever going to come true.

But then Gabriel, who declared with his very own words that he stood in the actual presence of the One, uttered this amazing truth:

"For nothing will be impossible with God."


Listen to these words in other translations:

"For no word from God will ever fail."

"Nothing is impossible with respect to any of God's promises."

"Because nothing is difficult for God."

"For no word from God shall be void of power."

"For no promise from God will be impossible of fulfillment."

"For everything spoken by God is possible."

“For with God nothing is ever impossible and no word from God shall be without power or impossible of fulfillment.”

"For every promise from God shall surely come true."


I have written each of these interpretations of the Word, for I want them to burst upon your heart, as they have in mine, as a mighty refrain – chanted over and over, and building to a crescendo of truth.

And then, insert the name, and it all becomes thrilling:

"For nothing will be impossible with Elohim."

Pause and ponder that!


I finish with these words from our pastor:

All God needs is Himself, and all I need to do is trust Him.

Yes.

God established at the very beginning that there is no one or nothing that we can turn to besides Him.

He is the One who made it all, who keeps it going, and holds it all together.

He is the One who made me, who keeps me going, and holds me together.

He is in control.

Elohim.


As we sang the last song of the day, I coupled one sentence of the lyrics with an astounding statement from our pastor – and knew that both had come directly from the Holy Spirit like an arrow to my heart.

This will be my prayer this week, the prayer that embodies and encompasses every prayer that could ever be said:

"Elohim, hold me, please hold me…"

And the answer that is The Answer:

"JUST REMEMBER MY NAME."





I will reveal my name to my people,
and they will come to know
its power. 



"By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible." 
(Hebrews 11:3, ESV)

"The LORD merely spoke, and the heavens were created.  He breathed the word, and all the stars were born.  He assigned the sea its boundaries and locked the oceans in vast reservoirs.  Let the whole world fear the LORD, and let everyone stand in awe of him.  For when he spoke, the world began!  It appeared at his command." (Psalm 33:6-9, NLT)

"By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth...For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm." (Psalm 33:6, 9, NIV)

"The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.  Then God said, 'Let there be light,' and there was light." (Genesis 1:2-3, NLT)

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made." 
(John 1:1-3, ESV)

"But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you.  Which of all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this?  In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind." (Job 12:7-10, NIV)

"'Am I a God who is only close at hand?' says the LORD.  'No, I am far away at the same time.  Can anyone hide from me in a secret place?  Am I not everywhere in all the heavens and earth?' says the LORD." 
(Jeremiah 23:23-24, NLT)

"For the LORD your God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God..." (Deuteronomy 10:17, NASB)


"The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world."

(Psalm 19:1-4, NIV)


"This is what the Lord says,

he who appoints the sun
to shine by day,
who decrees the moon and stars
to shine by night,
who stirs up the sea
so that its waves roar –
the Lord Almighty is his name:
'Only if these decrees vanish from my sight,'
declares the Lord,
'will Israel ever cease
being a nation before me.'

This is what the Lord says:

'Only if the heavens above can be measured
and the foundations of the earth below be searched out
will I reject all the descendants of Israel…'"

(Jeremiah 31:35-37, NIV)


"For in him we live and move and have our being." (Acts 17:28, NIV)




What does it mean to you that we have a relationship with the Almighty Creator of the universe, the One and Only Elohim?



Linked with:

SHARING HIS BEAUTY, PLAYDATES WITH GOD, UNFORCED RHYTHMS, MONDAY'S MUSINGS, MONDAYS AT SOUL SURVIVAL, SALT & LIGHT, GOOD MORNING MONDAYS, SOLI DEO GLORIA, TITUS 2 TUESDAYSTELL ME A TRUE STORY, UNITE, TESTIMONY TUESDAY, WEDNESDAY'S PRAYER GIRLS, WINSOME WEDNESDAY, A LITTLE R & R WEDNESDAYS, WHOLEHEARTED WEDNESDAYS, CAPTURE YOUR JOURNEY, COFFEE AND CONVERSATION, TELL HIS STORY, WHAT YOU WISH WEDNESDAY, WISE WOMAN, WHIMSICAL WEDNESDAYSWORD FILLED WEDNESDAY, THREE WORD WEDNESDAY, WOMEN HELPING WOMEN, THRIVING THURSDAYCOFFEE FOR YOUR HEART, THOUGHT-PROVOKING THURSDAY, EVERYDAY JESUS, HEARTS FOR HOME, GRACE AT HOME, THOUGHTFUL THURSDAYS, FAITH BARISTA, FRIENDSHIP FRIDAY, LIGHT FRIDAY HIT LIST, FELLOWSHIP FRIDAYS, FAITH FILLED FRIDAY, THE FRIDAY FIVE, SPIRITUAL SUNDAYS, COUNTING MY BLESSINGS, SO MUCH AT HOME, FAITH & FELLOWSHIPMAKE MY SATURDAY SWEET, HEART-FILLED FRIDAYS, SATURDAY SOIREE, SATURDAY STILLNESS, RECOMMENDATION SATURDAY, WEEKEND BREW, SUNDAY STILLNESS, GIVE ME GRACE



BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

37 comments:

  1. Hi Sharon! It sure sounds like your pastor is really lighting you up with his message! And thank you for lighting me up too.
    I was not aware of the name Elohim, and that it means 'God'. I am always fascinated by all the ways we try to explain and describe the infinite nature of God. Strong? Oh yeah. And strong in a way that I will never understand.
    Hey...at least you could bust out a "Huh?" with the Angel. I would probably look like a deer frozen in headlights. God surely knows what he is doing, and who would be perfect for each assignment he has. Blessed be God!
    Have a wonderful week my friend :)
    Ceil

    ReplyDelete
  2. Awesome! Our All Encompassing Everlasting Elohim! How Great is our God! Thanks Sharon for reminding me of this and the study on this name of God (of course you know I love the Name of God and studies of His Name. I have so many books and posts on this). My favorite (this past year, Bible Gateway has made it available to all) is when I read from the Names of God Bible (where that name will be Elohim when it is)
    https://www.biblegateway.com/quicksearch/?quicksearch=Elohim&qs_version=NOG
    Please check it out! This last link is to the 2070 verses that they have Elohim!

    Love your connection to this and to nature (your night experience of shooting star in particular) and how your pastor has made "God" so powerfully alive with the name Elohim for you ... I remember how Emmanuel has done that before for you.
    I will be gazing more into the heavenly stars thinking and praying for you (as I did in MN often, but it's not as clear and shiny from here as you saw or I had when I was home). It is incredible! No one like Our God! May Elohim hold you closely as you draw all you can from this sermon series on the Names of God as HE speaks to you as ABBA and impacts you as ELOHIM! After all HE is J.O.Y.

    Love and Joy to you with my HUG,
    Peggy

    ReplyDelete
  3. Sharon,
    Thanks for sharing all these great insights about Elohim...our great and powerful and loving God....how cool to see a shooting star...God sees you :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. What a powerful, powerful post, Sharon. My pastor has used that name for God before in a message so I have heard it...but your interpretation was so completely descriptive...WOW!! I just feel in my heart that Elohim sent that shooting star just for you, my friend :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. How cool with the shooting star, Sharon! What a great study that is with the names of God! I love the name Elohim. He truly is magnificient and capable of so much; we just have to trust and believe he is capable of it all!

    betty

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi Sharon, I am a very slow learner. Tonight I feel in more than one lonely complicated situation. But I know He is there with me, I need to watch for the shooting star - God Bless

    ReplyDelete
  7. Oh, how I love studies on the names of God! I haven't done one in awhile so I love your post, Sharon. "God" says a lot, but "Elohim" says so much more!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I was not aware of the name Elohim, and that it means God. He had a lot of different names didn't he - all meaning the same yet a tweak of difference. Good Monday to you. Love, sandie

    ReplyDelete
  9. Sharon, this is so powerful and filled to overflowing with the beautiful Truth. I found myself so excited to keep reading and reading to get to the next and the next. The questions you ask near the end have given me even more spiritual and life food to ponder. Thank you for sharing this powerful message and reminding me that God is Elohim.
    Have been your neighbor all over the blog world today as I linked up!! : )
    Caring through Christ, ~ linda

    ReplyDelete
  10. This is a great post and I really appreciate you sharing it at Good Morning Mondays. Blessings

    ReplyDelete
  11. Oh my! From baggage claim to spilled coffee to this glorious rehearsing of the Name of God - His first in Genesis (my personal favorite) because it truly sets Him at the center of all things. My firm foundation.

    I have been buried with the book deadline and barely gotten things together for my own posts - especially after losing our dear friend on the 23rd, I'm so backlogged. I'm afraid blog reading has taken a hit. And - I KNOW I need to read you every week!!! Always such a powerful word that I take with me into my own adventures. I could just see you madly taking notes of your pastor speaking on the Names of God so you could post this. Always a fascinating study.I am encouraged - especially after reading some headlines today. I really need to just stop that. Like I can make a difference in the headline. Headlines are what they are - BUT ELOHIM!

    Taking that to bed with me tonight. Thanks for being my nighty-night read - with peace in my heart. He's got it all!

    Joy!
    Kathy

    ReplyDelete
  12. Your post is so rich and full of treasure! I am writing down the different translations of the passage from Luke. Thank you so much for sharing this encouragement. Oh, and the fact that God sent you a shooting star! He's so good!

    ReplyDelete
  13. What a wonderful study and teaching to begin with Elohim that is found early in Genesis. What a mighty God we serve, and nothing shall be impossible with Him. He holds all of creation together including you and me! I do hope your Pastor will continue with the other many names of God as each name brings us closer in truth to who He is. Thank you for your powerful post shared with us here at Tell me a Story.

    ReplyDelete
  14. As one who loves being in the woods and anywhere outside, I always marvel at God's creation from the mountains to the roaring waterfalls; from how the bird coast on an updraft to how a snake (ew) crawls along the ground. Nothing, no one, no other god or idol can compare with our Creator. That's so cool that He just threw out a star for you to see. And the whole light years thing, that I really can't wrap my head around...how that star shot across the sky how many years ago, but you're seeing it now, just solidifies how God transcends time.

    ReplyDelete
  15. This was an awesome post about God. I slowed down and soaked in what you were sharing so I could remember it. I loved that you saw a shooting star as you gazed out the window.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I have always loved studying the names of God. Oh how very thankful I am that He is strong, especially in my weakness. What a lovely series of posts you have here, friend.

    ReplyDelete
  17. What a beautiful message! I must agree that the Hebrew name is very powerful especially because there are many so called "gods" in this world... When we call Him by name, it is much more glorious. I found you via the Coffee and Conversation link up... We also have a Monday link up (The Art of Home-Making Mondays) if you would like to join in. Have a lovely week!

    ReplyDelete
  18. KarriLee is writing about names today as well! Visiting from Jennifer's place!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Loved hearing about this powerful name of God! Thank you for sharing life-giving scriptures. Stopping by as your neighbor at Coffee for Your Heart.:)

    ReplyDelete
  20. So much wisdom and truth here. I could read this post over and over and continue to take away such awesome details about who God is. I love that who God is never changes and he's always for us. Thanks for linking up at my place today.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I loved it when our pastor did a similar series. I recently purchased Ann Spangler's book on the Names of God and hope to dig into it in my quiet time.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I am once more reminded how God reveals himself through his creation when I read about that shooting star!
    Yes Oh yes his name(s) hold so much meaning and so much power...and the name of Jesus is above all other names...I particularly love the idea of 'Emanuel'...God with us! But the name Elohim being both plural and singular tells me that God used all of himself to create the world and us...That is very meaningful...I love the creation too...but sometimes I have trouble loving myself...God is with us and he created us through his power...therefore through Jesus we are given power over anything that comes against us. It seems to fit.
    Blessings and love to you my friend~ Lisa

    ReplyDelete
  23. Sharon, we are neighbors today over at Jennifer's place and I love that we both wrote about Names... you wrote about His, and I wrote about how He gave us ours! And that passage in Luke... just last week I was reading it and the Lord pointed out that he said nothing will be impossible, he didn't say nothing will feel impossible! Oh to remember the difference! Blessings!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Beautiful prayer at the end...needed to take this is tonight as we prepare to speak on our healing tomorrow to a small gathering. I want to control the outcome. We will share our story....God is God and He will use it as He sees fit.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Thank you Sharon for your honesty and insights. Bless you, my friend as you touch so many with your words.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Sharon, I appreciate so much that you wrote about God's name here and went in depth explaining it. Elohim! Such powerful words to describe our Almighty God and Loving Father.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Wonderful and inspiring post, Sharon. Our Father's creation is so amazing it's no wonder that the foolish worship the creation instead of the Creator!

    How cool is that that He sent you a sign in the form of a falling star… Funny, I just saw a shooting star a couple of nights ago too. Haven't seen one of those in over a decade. What a gift we have daily when we're willing to "see" it.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Girl, this is downright COOL! I love the facts surrounding the name Elohim-- and it will certainly stick in my brain. The part of about the shooting star also gave me Goose(God?) bumps because yeah... That is how He rolls. #TooAwesome

    ReplyDelete
  29. Okay, in total agreement with Sharita. This was COOL. I had goosebumps too. May have been one of my favorite posts of yours. Thank you for your kind comment on my recent post. I've missed you. I was spending a few days away with my hero so I'm behind with writing and reading posts from those I adore. :) Much love. xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  30. Like always you did a deep study on the subject of God's name, Elohim. It interesting how the tribal people in remote villages who languages do not have a word in it for love, or redemption and so many of the names of God. Yet in their own heart language they are able to express themselves with word about the very things you wrote about. Nothing is impossible because He is able through using His people to reach those far removed from hearing unless someone goes to tell them, yes nothing is impossible for Elohim. Great post.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Wonderful post. Thank you so much for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Hi, im just blogger friend from mrs Denise Oldham...i saw on facebook that she has an heart operation...

    here is the link
    to her friend, so you can read
    the details and pray for her
    and her husband

    im sorry i message thrue your comment box..but she also has many friends on blogger who dont now

    friendly is you can pass this on i will be thankfull

    loves soraya

    (im sending this message to much people i can..)

    https://www.facebook.com/marsha.harwood?fref=ts

    ReplyDelete
  33. What a powerful message, thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  34. great words as always Sharon....Names hold so much meanings......Hugs and wishes for a great Sunday....

    ReplyDelete
  35. Thank you for your insight and passion for God. I would love to be sitting with you as your pastor spoke to you about the name of God. I can sense the awe and power that exuded from that message. Blessed you linked up with The Weekend Brew.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Wonderful post…it's so important to know and understand the names of God. Your pastor really did a great job with his sermon today and thanks for sharing it with us...

    ReplyDelete
  37. I'm glad that you are able to know that Elohim is with you when you are lonely, when He shows Himself (like through the shooting star) and when He doesn't. Thanks for linking on my blog, Amanda's Books and More. God bless!

    ReplyDelete

"So [I] have been greatly encouraged in the midst of [my] troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith. It gives [me] new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord. How [I] thank God for you!" (1 Thessalonians 3:7-9)

Thanks for your comments - it is such a joy to be sharing my journey with friends like YOU!

(NOTE: Anonymous comments will be removed. Thank you for understanding.)