This month you’ve heard from Stephanie, Jamie, and Yvette on the topic of names. Initially, I was certain I knew what my Faith-Full Friday post would be about. Names are an important topic to me, and my family has a special tradition for naming our children. As I’ve prayed over this post and planned out my thoughts, the Lord has led me in a different direction. This seems to be a theme in my life lately. Proverbs 16:9 says, “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” (ESV)
I’m grateful for God’s guidance in this way. His plans are always better than mine.
I pray that today, these words, which He has given me, will speak to your heart. I pray you will be encouraged and uplifted in HIS HOLY NAME. I pray that God will speak His peace over you to your very core. May we both leave here today, saying we know Him better. Amen.
A number of years ago I found myself sitting in an office across from a ministry leader whom I loved and trusted. I was struggling. NEWS FLASH! I’m always struggling! For some reason though, I was struggling enough in that moment to reach out of my isolated bubble and seek help.
What led me to that meeting is a distant memory, but a single question from our conversation remains burned in my mind. “Vanessa, when you imagine God’s face, what does it look like?” This moment was one of the few in my life where I found myself speechless. What did God’s face look like?
Now I’m usually one of those people who always has an answer. Not necessarily because I know the answer. Just because I’ve always got something to say. I can’t count the number of times during my childhood that my mother told me to think before I spoke. So I was stunned at my inability to answer my leader’s question.
For many months after that conversation I tried to imagine God’s face. Was it angry? Happy? Manly? Did He have a beard or wear a crown? No matter how hard I tried, I could not imagine anything at all. My mind was a blank canvas.
With a conviction that I didn’t really know God well, I began searching the scriptures with fervor. Who was God? and perhaps, more importantly, how did he feel about me?
Consider this. When I mention a name, say MOM or DAD, do you immediately imagine a picture of someone? Do you also imagine a set of characteristics with that name?
Names are more than words we use to call out to one another.
A name can be associated with all sorts of aspects of our character and personality. Sometimes people name their children after a famous person they admire.
Are there any names you’d never use for your child? A bad experience with one person can leave us with a stigma towards others with the same name.
Names create familiarity with a person and establish relationships. The first thing you do when you meet someone is exchange names.
So when I was unable to envision God’s face, it was because I had not yet known HIS NAME.
One day, I came upon a story in the Old Testament. The story is found in Exodus, the second book of the Bible. Exodus is a remarkable book because it tells the history of God’s people and the miracles that God used to bring his people out of the bondage of slavery in Egypt. (You might want to check out what Yvette had to say on this story last week!)
Moses, the human hero in our story, finds himself in an odd exchange with God. He’s minding his business, tending the flock of Jethro his father in law, when he notices a strange sight. An angel of the Lord appears to him in flames of fire from within a bush, but the bush is not burning up! Moses must be a risk taker because instead of running from this strange sight, he goes over to determine why the bush isn’t burning up. As he approaches the bush, God calls out to Moses to remove his sandals because he has entered into a Holy Place.
Are you imagining the glory of this moment with me? Moses is standing FACE to FACE with God! Wow!
During Moses’ exchange with God at the burning bush, Moses asks the Lord to tell him His name: “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?” (NIV)
It was in God’s answer to Moses that I began to formulate a picture of God’s face in my mind. God tells Moses in verse 14 that His name is: I AM WHO I AM. (NIV)
I had read this verse many times before that day, but it was as if I read them that day for the first time ever! Suddenly the Holy Spirit began to whisper to me:
I AM your hope.
I AM your healer.
I AM your reason to live.
I AM your provider.
I AM the one who sees you.
I AM what you need.
I AM who you need.
I AM where you need.
That day, God began to sketch His face into my mind’s eye. He began to show Himself to me in a new way. In the book of Jeremiah 29:13, also part of the Old Testament, God says, “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” (NIV)
Are you wondering who God is? Have you heard of Him, but still wonder if you really KNOW Him? We’re not talking salvation here. We’re talking intimacy. We’re talking recognizing the voice of the one who loves us above the chaos of this life.
If you’re still seeking to understand who the great I Am is, be encouraged! God’s arms are open wide to those who seek Him with all their heart.
Today, years later I’ve learned so much about the name of God. I’ve learned other names for God. He has spoken to me through many of His names. I couldn’t tell you all of the stories, but I will encourage you to do a little research of your own. Primarily research in the living word of God, the Bible. Read it! Pray over it! Invite God to speak to you through it, and listen for His quiet whisper.
I told you I was pondering two questions that day. I did learn God’s name. I also began to learn who I am to Him. What is my worth and value in the eyes of the great I AM?
I hope you’ll come back next month to explore this topic of WORTH with my friends and me! Stephanie will be introducing the topic next week, and I know you won’t want to miss out on what she has to say!
My prayer for you today is found in Numbers 6:24-26:
“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” (NIV)
Will you join me in worshipping the great I Am?
***Note: Click on the letters in parenthesis behind each scripture I’ve used today to find an electronic copy of the Bible. I promise to never misrepresent God’s word as I understand it, BUT ultimately you are responsible for what you believe. Don’t just trust me! I’m inviting you to do your research!***