“What’s in a name?”
Said Shakespeare’s Juliet to her Romeo.
From atop her rose-covered balcony, Juliet refused to accept the substance of her own name. The power it had to divide, constrain, restrict, imprison. Yet no matter how passionately her denial of it, her tragic fate sends an undeniable message to us all.
A name means everything.
Even unto death.
But what if a name meant life? What if it had the unequivocal power to unite? To heal, restore, resurrect, make free? What if by simply calling upon that name the soul could reset and rest? What if by calling upon that name we could overcome all other names ingrained in us, spoken to us, spoken through us?
The name of the Lord has that power.
And so much more.
The psalmist David learned this. Listen to what he writes in Psalm 9:9-10,
“The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.” (NIV)
David found a trustworthy place.
A sturdy, steady source to call on “in times of trouble” because he learned a truth so easily overlooked. A sequence of action where trust becomes the consequence, where faith becomes the pathway, where confidence becomes a byproduct not a laborious feat we must strive to achieve. But it starts with knowing His name.
Not just intellectually.
That’s what David learned to do.
Because the names of the Lord are more than words, more than lip service. They are God Himself. Facets of His character, slices of His essence, pieces of His power that cut through every oppressive force and shout from the highest balconies. You are not abandoned, not rejected, not “forsaken.” Rather, you are seen. You are known. You are loved.
Consider them for yourself.
Yahweh-Shammah (“God is there”), Jehovah-Jireh (“The Lord will provide”), El Shaddai (“God All Sufficient”).
El Olam (“God Everlasting”), Yahweh-Rapha (“God who heals”), Yahweh-Shalom (“The Lord is peace”).
Abba (“Daddy”), El Roi (“God who sees”), Elohim (“Creator”).
These are but a few.
David learned these and the many other names of the Lord, and in the process, he discovered for himself the answer to Shakespeare’s prolific question, “What’s in a name?”
You can too.
Just call out to Him. Call on the Lord using His names.
Ask God to reveal Himself to you. To show you who He is, who He can be in your life, in your circumstances. Who He has always been in your past, present and future.
Because God does not sit idly by.
He “goes with you.” He will “never leave your nor forsake you” (Duet. 31:6).
And He already knows your name.
Which of God’s names resonates most with you today? How can knowing His names build a greater sense of trust in Him and His hands at work in your life?