A. W. Tozer, in his book “The Pursuit of God” said: “How tragic that we in this dark day have had our seeking done for us by our teachers. Everything is made to center upon the initial act of “accepting” Christ (a term, incidentally, which is not found in the Bible) and we are not expected thereafter to crave any further revelation of God to our souls. We have been snared in the coils of spurious logic which insists that if we have found Him we need no more seek Him.” (page 25)
How tragic indeed to not know God beyond the obvious. He wants us to know Him in a personal, one-on-one, no-holding-back way. He desires that so much that He created us in His image so we would have the capacity to do so.
Not too long ago, I participated in a bible study on the Names of God. While he has only one personal name—YHWH, translated LORD in our bibles (see Exodus 3:14)—He has many other names that speak to His characteristics and His personality. So often during this study I came heart-to-heart with our truly amazing, omni-everything, yet very personal God.
I found that to discover God on a deeper soul-level we only have to open our hearts and our bibles. The revelation of His personality shines through on every page!
Our God is the One who is…
The God Who Sees Me — Hagar, while fleeing from her circumstances, comes face-to-face with God. She calls Him “The God Who Sees Me” (Genesis 16:13-14). God, the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe sees me! He sees me in all my circumstances—good and bad. I am not a stranger to Him. He didn’t just create me then leave me. In fact, the Bible says He has seen my afflictions and knows the anguish of my soul (Psalm 31:7), He collects my tears in a bottle (Psalm 56:8 ESV) and He counts the numbers of hairs on my head (Matthew 10:30).
My Shepherd — David, a shepherd who became king, refers to God in Psalm 23 as “my Shepherd.” David knew intimately all there is to being a Shepherd and the amount of work that goes into the raising of, providing for, and protecting of sheep. If we thought caring for a two-year old was hard, we should try raising sheep. And yet David declares “The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing.” (Psalm 23:1) With God as our Shepherd we truly lack nothing!
An Everlasting God — The Prophet Isaiah, in Chapter 40, relayed God’s message of hope and comfort to the people of Israel. He reminds us that “The LORD is the Everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary…He gives strength to the weary…those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.” (v. 28-31) When I am tired, worn down, and feel like I cannot move forward it is so comforting to know that God doesn’t get tired or weary. All I have to do is lean into Him and He will give me the strength to take the next step.
My Refuge, Fortress, Strong Tower, Rock — Psalm 91:1-2 contains 6 names for God! “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the show of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’” But Psalm 91 is not the only place we see these personality traits. Throughout the Psalms we see God referred to as our Refuge, Fortress, Strong Tower (Psalm 61:3), and Rock (Psalm 18: 2, 31, 46). What I love about these verses is the feeling of ultimate protection, assuredness, and solid ground. When the world is chaotic and spinning out of control and I need a place of refuge and escape, something solid on which to lean, who better to run to than the One who is a Refuge, Fortress, Strong Tower and Rock—the One who is constant and unchanging, the One who can quiet any storm, who provides the place of safety so I can come out of the wind and tempest and find peace so I can regroup and refresh.
The Prince of Peace —In one of Isaiah’s prophecies about the Messiah, he called Him among other things the “Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). Jesus, the Messiah, explained to his disciples “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) Just before Jesus said those words, He had been telling the disciples of the dark days to come when He would be crucified. He was encouraging them that even though it would appear as if He had abandoned them not to lose hope because they would see Him again, then they would rejoice and no one could take away their joy (v. 22). Jesus also said “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27) What comfort this brings to have One who gives such peace. A peace that surpasses understanding (Philippians 4:7), a peace unlike anything the world could give, and in the midst of troubled times—even in those times when I think He’s not there. This assures me that He is there and if I do not see Him now, I soon will.
Our Friend—“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends…I have called you friends…” (John 15:13-15) Jesus did just that: He willingly laid down His life for us, His friends. God, as Jesus, took onto himself all that is in us that deserves to be punished and keeps us from approaching God. The system of sacrifice that God had established in the Torah (law of the Old Testament) was to remind us that the punishment for sin is death (Romans 6:23). While the death of an animal could not truly take away our sins (Hebrews 10:1-4), it was symbolic of the tragedy of our separation from a Holy God because of sin. Jesus took our sin and died the death that belonged to us and because of that we can approach and know God the way He had originally intended, before sin entered the world. What’s more, Jesus during His time on earth experienced life as a human. He knows all about the temptations and trials that humans go through. There isn’t anything that surprises Him—He’s seen it all. So I can truly go to Him with anything. There is no greater Friend than that!
Our Father—“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles…” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). I find it so reassuring to know that My Father in Heaven is so much more than any earthly Father could be. This characteristic of God is all encompassing, taking in all the traits discussed above and adding more. Our God is a Father who is the very definition of love, compassion and comfort. Whether or not we have a good earthly Father, isn’t it nice to know that God is the One Who is!
These are just a sample of the many names that represent the characteristics and personality of God. It is through getting to know His personality that we get to know Him and experience Him. Once we start looking we will start to recognize Him in all aspects of our lives. Many times Darvis and I have looked at each other and exclaimed “that was a God thing.” We knew because we have experienced His personality and characteristics enough times to leave no doubt that it was Him. And in those times when I wonder if God is in something, or in times when God seems distant, I can look back on my past experiences and what I do know of God’s personality and be reminded that God is the One who is…
1. The study came from the book “the Names of God” by Ann Spangler. Another great resource on the names of God is “THE NAME-HaShem: Daily Devotional Worship” by Barri Cae Mallin.
2. “Lachrymatories” are glass bottles believed to be “tear catchers” used in ancient times by mourners to collect tears and then placed on the graves or in the tombs of loved ones. While some archeological evidence suggests that tears were not the contents in the bottles found in Roman and Greek tombs, the declaration by David in his Psalm suggests they were used for just that purpose in his time.
3. I highly recommend W. Phillip Keller’s book “A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23.” It will stir your soul! To read a previous post on “Lacking Nothing” click here.
© 2018 Donna McCoy
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