NAMES! There is no other phenomenon so pervasive, so consistent from society to society, nation to nation, as the search for gods. Man, in his "so-called" incredible wisdom continues the search of god or gods, yet it will always end up to be what is right in his own eyes.
It is the religious nature of human beings to “search for a god or for many gods.” But does this desire to search start with man or does it start elsewhere? In Romans 1 the Apostle Paul offers a unique explanation for man’s preoccupation with religion. The Apostle Paul teaches that the desire within man to seek a god does not originate with him. Paul teaches that God has implanted awareness within the human spirit that there is a reality beyond mankind and beyond the material universe.
It is God who stirs the heart to seek after God and the things of God. Yet man, in his fallen nature, messes up the search and exchanges the search for "The One True God" to a search for "a god." Man exchanges the incorruptible for the corruptible. He is quick to sacrifice the eternal on the altar of the temporal.
Paul says that God has manifested Himself “in” people (See Rom. 1:19). It is as if God implanted in human beings a radio receiver that He Himself tuned to HIS signal. I can just hear the message. "NOW HEAR THIS, NOW HEAR THIS, I AM GOD AND I EXIST AND YOU NEED ME! SEEK ME WITH ALL YOUR HEART AND I WILL BE FOUND. The message that there is a God of the Universe was sent, and received in the hearts of men, but man chose darkness over light.
Rom 1:19-21 KJV Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: 21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
NAMES! For those of us who want to know God better, we need to explore the names, the titles, and the metaphors through which God has presented Himself to us in His Word. These names unveil the essence of who God is. Names are a funny thing. Find a globe map of the world. Spin it, and let your finger fall at random. Any place your finger falls, in any era of history or prehistory, people had a name for that place where your finger rests on the globe. AND every place where your finger falls there has been, is now, and will be in the future a people who have spoken about, is speaking about, or will speak about a “god” or “gods.”
Yet it would be a great spiritual and intellectual mistake to assume that what the peoples of Africa, China, South America, Europe, or the Ancient Middle East mean by the term “god” is the same as we, the Conservative Christian, means when we use that word. The word “god” has had different meanings to peoples of differing times and places.
Example: One of the key mistakes of many Christians is to believe that the god of Islam is the same as the God of Christianity. The God of Christianity is the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. We will discover a lot about HIS Name as we continue deeper in this study.
One of the first things we will do is look at HUMANISM, and its concept on the names for god. When we see what humanity has done to distort the image of God the Father we will be able to grasp what it can mean to us in our own personal relationship with the Lord in knowing HIS true NAMES and titles.
What would you rather have, a real 1,000 dollar bill or 100 fake 1,000 dollar bills? That was a "duh" question! Of course we would rather have the real bill instead of 100 or 1,000 or 10,000 fake ones. When I went to India a few years ago I preached to crowds of thousands about the ONE TRUE GOD! They worshipped 300,000,000 false gods. Over 800 people rejected and renounced their 300,000,000 false gods and accepted the ONE TRUE GOD to save them. AMEN! We need to remember that the religion of man is a universal phenomenon. Wherever people are found, there too resides religion and multiple gods. We, as believers, stand as the light and salt to introduce them to the ONE TRUE GOD.
NAMES! Have you ever given much attention to a name? It is the starting place for building relationships and getting to know people better. For those who want to know God better, explore the names, the titles, and the metaphors through which God has presented Himself to us in His Word. These names unveil the essence of who God is. These names describe His qualities and character, and they reveal His work in our lives.
The Scriptures present God as a loving and compassionate God, and yet we also see Him as a God who is angered by and will surely judge sin. With God we see grace, mercy, and love on one side, judgment and justice on the other. How can a loving God also be a God of wrath? God is said to be just and righteous. How can such a God of justice and judgment freely forgive sin? God is both GOOD and ALL-POWERFUL.
By studying His names we can reconcile these many facets of His character. Our God is an awesome God and One to be loved and adored and yet One to be feared in holy awe. As we look at the names of God we will see His nature in which He has revealed Himself so powerfully in the names, titles, and metaphors found in His Word. When we see God's love, grace and mercy we are overwhelmed by His goodness. But we sometimes get shaken when we see His judgment and justice. Studying His names will confirm our certainty that God can be trusted in all that He is and all that He does.
NAMES! Have you ever given much attention to a name? I know that when I am introduced to someone I listen and watch to see if the person I am introduced to is really interested in hearing and remembering my name. Many times the person whom I am being introduced to is already looking past me to the next person.
I don't think we take introductions serious. Introductions and knowing someone's name is the starting place for building relationships and getting to know people better. I don't think someone is really interested in getting to know me as a person and building a relationship if they can't remember my name. I visit a lot of churches and greet a lot of people. Many in the church come up quickly, shake my hand, and say with an automatic response, "It's good to meet you." I respond with, "We haven't met yet. My name is Charles, what's your name?" It throws people off from the quick greeting they are accustomed to. There is a big difference between a quick "glad to meet you" versus actually meeting someone by extending a pleasant acknowledgement and name exchange.
For those who want to know God better, there is hardly a richer approach than to explore the names, the titles, and the metaphors through which God has presented Himself to us in His Word. These names unveil the essence of who God is. These names describe His qualities and character, and they reveal His work in our lives.
For most of human history, names given to deity by pagans only served to distance human beings from the one true God. Man called God names that for the most part reflected their superstitions and religious ignorance. However God would not have us remain ignorant concerning His name and His character. God our Father stepped in to reveal Himself to His Old Testament people.
Why is it important for us to know God by His name and His character? If we know who God is in His power and character than as a believer I know that He can do what He says He can do. Example! I don't take my car to a Mexican restaurant to have repairs. I go to a place that has the name, reputation, and character of having the ability to accomplish the task I need. In reverse, I don't go to a car repair garage to eat Mexican food. I go to a restaurant that specializes in Mexican food. How do I know these places? By their name. So it is with our heavenly Father. As I know His different names I fully understand His character.
NAMES! Have you ever given much attention to a name? Like why is an elephant called an elephant? I guess it is because he looks like one. I think a lot about names and why people are called who they are called. I have learn to love my name. Having a love for my name was not true in my younger years. My last name "Morris" is one of the original Irish names and means "Negro" and "dark complexion." My family was not a part of the red-haired, light-skinned Irish but had a darker complexion with brown hair.
My first and middle name is Charles Wayne and comes from the doctor who delivered me. WHY? Because everyone, including my mom's doctor, told my mom that she would be having a girl. SURPRISE!!!! I came along and they had not thought about a boy's name. Therefore, someone suggested that I be named after my mom's doctor who was greatly known around the region. I was born at my grandmother's house in a small little town in Virginia called Craigsville, and named after the town doctor.
My mom recently told me that she did not get to name any of her four children because of the input from her parents or in-laws. As a child and teenager I never really had the opportunity to enjoy the name Charles because no one called me that. I was called Chuck, Charlie, Chaz, Charlie Brown, Charlie Tuna, Up-Chuck, Sorry-Charlie, or Morris the Cat, all of which I hated.
My grandfather did not like the family doctor therefore he did like the idea of me being named after him. Therefore, my grandfather named me "Luke" from the Bible and refused to called me anything other than that. Since grandpa called me Luke all of my aunts and uncles followed along and did the same. I did not actually start enjoying my name until 1997 when I was 43 years old. I started doing research on names and found them to be powerful indicators as to a person's destiny and assignment from the Lord. My name "Charles" is of German decent and means "a mighty valiant warrior before God". Why did I share all this about names? Because I want to share some truths about the different names of God. There is an attempt to rename and redefine Him for the sake of religious tolerance.
Charles Morris. Founder and Senior Pastor of RSIM USA.