On first glance, this section of The Lord’s Prayer seems to be just a reminder to not cuss using God’s Name. We are told in Exodus 10:7
“You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.”
So, while I think this is a reminder to not misuse God’s name, I believe there is much more to pray here.
God wants relationship with us. He knows us completely, and He wants us to know Him – not just to know about Him. I believe we can never know everything about Him – He’s just that big – but He continually wants to reveal Himself to us. All through the Old Testament, God was revealing aspects of Himself to His people, and when He did, people would either call Him by a new name, or name the place according to how they had come to know Him. We’re going to talk about some of these today.
Before we go on, I think it is important to note that we are not talking about names of other “gods” that are not the One, True God. Many people believe that all “gods” are the same with just different names … god is god so to speak. Allah is god. Buddha is god. Krishna is god. Actually, India has millions of gods. These are not just other names for God. They are not all the same. For one thing, the only one who died and rose again is Jesus. The others are all still dead. The way they relate to their followers… their personalities… are all totally different. No comparison! For example, I cannot compare my little dog Sarah to a dogwood tree just because they both use the word “dog.” The same is true of other “gods” and God, our Father … Yahweh … Jehovah.
That being said, let’s get to know our God and Heavenly Father better.
Yahweh – I AM
In Genesis 3, we read the story of Moses and the burning bush. God calls Moses to go back to Egypt, to rescue His people living in slavery. When Moses had left, he’d been running for his life.
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?” God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.’
To me this has been kind of hard to wrap my brain around. If I were standing at the burning bush, I’d be asking, “I AM? You are what?” Jesus tells us some of what this means in the gospel of John, and here are a few of them.
- I am the Bread of Life (John 6:35)
- I am the Light of the World (John 8:12)
- I am the Good Shepherd (John 10:11)
- I am the Resurrection and the Life. (John 11:25)
- I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6)
- I am the vine and you are the branches (John 15:5)
In short, God is saying I AM… whatever you need! I AM. Not …I WILL BE, or … I WAS. I AM.
El Shaddai – God Almighty – All-Sufficient God
When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty ; walk before me faithfully and be blameless.
This is one of God’s Names that became very special to me. In Hebrew this is El Shaddai ….God Almighty…God All-Powerful. No one and no thing is more powerful than our God. With so much not good happening in the world today, I’m glad we have a big God.
One question people ask is “If God is so powerful, why doesn’t He stop all the bad things happening in the world?” Books have been written on this subject! A short answer is that sin, sickness and death were not here when God created this world. When God gave us free will He wasn’t kidding. He doesn’t take His gifts back just because we misuse them, even though He is powerful enough to do so. Mankind has made some bad choices, starting with Adam and Eve. Satan gained authority here on earth and has used that to wreak all kinds of havoc. We’ll talk more about this in an upcoming lesson.
Here is another more hidden meaning in this Name of God. It was once explained to me that a root meaning of this is “many breasted.” Now that can evoke a strange picture in our minds, but I’d like to suggest another aspect. Picture a mother dog, with 8 teats – and she delivers 9 puppies. One of them is going to have trouble getting enough! Coming from a very large family, I never really felt like there was enough mom to go around, or enough anything else either. And remember that movie Bruce Almighty with Jim Carrey? He was overloaded and overwhelmed by all the prayers of all the people! El Shaddai is not like that. He is sufficient. His resources are endless. His love is boundless. And He never is too busy to listen… or help. He can handle my needs, and yours… and everyone else’s needs too. He is always enough!
El Elyon – Most High God
But Abram said to the king of Sodom, “With raised hand I have sworn an oath to the LORD, God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth,
I cry out to God Most High, to God, who vindicates me.
There is so much going on in the world, it can be very scary. Terrorism. Financial problems. War. Cancer. Talk about the End of the World. Politics! Yuck! Too much! And I have no solutions, and don’t know of anyone who does. So, I am very comforted to know that God is higher than all these problems… higher than all our enemies. He can handle it.
Tomorrow, we’ll explore three more Names of God.
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