The Names of God, and Why They Should Mean Something to You

The Names of God, and Why They Should Mean Something to You

“What is your name?”

That’s the question Moses asked God when God told Moses that he was to go to Pharaoh and demand that he let the people of God go free:

“Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?” (Ex. 3:13).

Up to this point in the Old Testament, we’ve seen the significance of names. God had already changed the names of Abram, Sarai, and Jacob after encounters with Him. When they encountered God, the fabric of their identities was altered and God signified this change by changing their name. And that’s what Moses was really asking.

In the Old Testament, a name was much more than the means by which you could address someone. A name was a description of a person’s character. Moses was asking God, “Who are you really? And who are you to tell me to go to Pharaoh and make such a demand?”

The Lord answered with his name: Yahweh.

There was good reason for Moses’ question. Though the Israelites were already familiar with the name Yahweh (Gen. 12:8; 26:25; 28:13), they had been enslaved for centuries without any word from this God.

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