Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Names of God- Ch.1 Part 1- Elohim

Imagine you and I are meeting for the first time. Someone introduces us, and I say, "Hi, I'm Anna." And you reply, "Good to meet you, I'm Leah (or Justin... or Edween). One of the first things that you and I ever learn about one another when we are introduced is our first names.

What, then, do we learn about God when we first meet Him in Scripture? Does God have a first name?

Perhaps not. But He does have a name that was used first. The very first time you and I meet God in the pages of the Bible, we are introduced to Him by name. And His name, in the Hebrew language, is Elohim.

In the beginning God
[Elohim] created the heavens and the earth.
Genesis 1:1

Elohim is the name for God, as Creator, in this most foundational passage. It is also the primary word translated "God" throughout the pages of the Old Testament.

But what is that to us? How can the name Elohim serve as a strong tower to us? How can we hide in its depths from the savage storms that sweep into our lives? How does learning this "first name" of God bring us the kind of security and comfort and hope our hearts long for?

Learning who God is by name is the answer to every situation in life. When we know His names, we begin to grapple with His power, His purpose, and His incomparable love.

What does it mean, then, for you and me to encounter Elohim in that first sentence of our Bibles? El means "mighty" or "strong" and is used for any reference to gods, including Almighty God. The him ending of Elohim is very significant, for it is a plural ending in the Hebrew that indicates more than one. Genesis 1:1 could accurately be translated, "In the beginning Gods created the heavens and the earth." More than one God? No.

"The LORD [Jehovah] is our God [Elohim], the LORD is one!" (Deuteronomy 6:4). God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit- the blessed Trinity- created the heavens and the earth. One is essence, in character, yet three persons united as one. As you read various scriptures, you can see references to the different persons of the Godhead participating in the word of creation.

In Genesis 1:2-3 we read:

The Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.
Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light.

God spoke, the Spirit moved, and Colossians 1:16 tells us that in Him, in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, "all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth."

Each person of the triune Godhead had a part in creation. And it was no different when God scooped up the soil of His new world to form the first man. Genesis 1:26 tells us, "Then God [Elohim] said, 'Let Us make man in Our image.'" The "Our" has to refer to more than one! God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit were involved in creation. Your creation.

Don't skip past that thought. Go back, read it again, and take a moment to think about it.

God is your creator.

You exist because of God.

You are the unique and distinctive handiwork of Elohim.

Yes, He created the heavens and the earth. He formed the swirling galaxies and the blazing stars and the orbiting planets, and all the life that swarms across the face of our world or swims in the great seas. But He also formed you. Specifically. Individually. Thoughtfully. Carefully. Precisely the way you are.

So then-
-if you've ever struggled with your self image...
-if you've ever wept over your family of origin...
-if you've ever bitterly resented who your mother was, or who your father was...
-if you've ever agonized over your reflection in the mirror, or with your physical limitations... the name of Elohim is your strong tower and unshakable refuge. When you learn to boast in your Elohim, no matter what, life will change!

To be continued...

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