Nicknames are often descriptive of some noticeable aspect of a person’s character or physical attributes. Growing up, my elementary school friends brutally called me “liver lips” since at that stage of development my lips seemed disproportionately large. Needless to say, I have always been glad that the name didn’t stick.
Unlike my nickname, I love the names of God that describe His magnificent characteristics. God is so wonderfully multifaceted that He has many names that communicate His capabilities and character. To name just a few, He is:
Elohim, the God above all gods
Jehovah Jireh, the God who provides
El-Shaddai, the almighty God
Jehovah Rapha, our healer God
Jehovah Shalom, our God of peace
Jehovah Shamma, our God who is present
Jehovah Yahweh, our loving, covenant-keeping God
It’s no wonder the writer of Proverbs encourages us to remember that “the name of the Lord is a strong tower,” that in times of need God-fearing people run to it and “are safe” (Prov. 18:10). When unwelcome circumstances threaten you and you feel vulnerable, reflect on one of God’s names. Be assured—He will be faithful to His name.
Lord, remind us that Your names reveal Your character. Help us to remember them in our times of need and distress. Thank You for the assurance that You are faithful to Your name.
God’s names, which describe His character, can bring comfort when we need it most.
The book of Proverbs provides us with insight on everything from words to work to relationships. Interestingly, sprinkled throughout the book are sayings that don’t tell us something about life but rather about God. Yet those theological truths should not be separated from the idea of practical day-to-day living. It is as important to know that the name of the Lord is strong and provides safety (18:10) as it is to know that a fool’s mouth leads to his destruction (v.7).
I remember watching television news reports in 1991 as the nonviolent revolution took place in the streets of Moscow. Russians who had grown up in totalitarianism suddenly declared, “We will act as if we are free,” taking to the streets and staring down tanks. The contrast between the faces of the leaders inside and the masses outside showed who was really afraid, and who was really free.
Watching the newsreels from Red Square on Finnish television, I came up with a new definition of faith: paranoia in reverse. A truly paranoid person organizes his or her life around a common perspective of fear. Anything that happens feeds that fear.
Faith works in reverse. A faithful person organizes his or her life around a common perspective of trust, not fear. Despite the apparent chaos of the present moment, God does reign. Regardless of how I may feel, I truly matter to a God of love.
What could happen if we in God’s kingdom truly acted as if the words of the apostle John were literally true: “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). What if we really started living as if the most-repeated prayer in Christendom has actually been answered—that God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven?
Far, far above thy thought His counsel shall appear, When fully He the work hath wrought That caused thy needless fear. —Gerhardt
Feeding your faith helps starve your fears.
First John 4:2-3 is used often by Christians as a test to determine if one is demon-possessed. This ignores the context. John is warning against false prophets who deny the humanity of Christ and teach that Jesus only appeared to be human. A false teacher is one who denies that Jesus Christ is both fully man and fully God.
Atop Corcovado Mountain overlooking the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, stands Christ the Redeemer, one of the tallest statues of Christ in the world. Standing 30 meters tall, with arms spreading 28 meters, this sculpture weighs 635 metric tons. It can be seen day or night from almost anywhere in the city. One look to the hills brings this figure of Christ the Redeemer into view.
The New Testament tells us that Christ is not only the Redeemer, but He is also the Creator of the universe, and that Creator is in view in Psalm 121. There the psalmist challenges us to lift our eyes to the hills to see God, for our “help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth” (vv.1-2). He alone is sufficient to be our strength and to guide our steps as we make our way through a dangerous and troubled world.
We lift our eyes to the One who keeps us (v.3), guards us (vv.5-6), and overshadows us in the face of all types of danger. He preserves us from evil and keeps us safely in His care for all eternity (vv.7-8).
In faith, we lift our eyes to the One who is our Redeemer and Creator. He is our help and our hope and our eternal home.
O God, our help in ages past, Our hope for years to come, Our shelter from the stormy blast, And our eternal home! —Watts
Christ was lifted up that He might lift us up.
The superscription for Psalm 121 is “A Song of Ascents.” This designation is actually given to the collection of psalms that includes Psalms 120–134. Called “a psalter within the psalter” by Charles Haddon Spurgeon, these songs were sung by Jewish pilgrims making their way to Jerusalem for the three primary feast times of the year. The reason for calling them songs of “ascent” is that Jerusalem is the highest point in Israel, so people going to Jerusalem were always going up.