This blog is written especially to all students who are taking their year-end exams, and to those going through a stressful and challenging season in their lives. It’s an excerpt from a short study I did on the ‘Names of God’. I trust that it’ll encourage you.
There’s power in a name. It’s what we’re known by (identification) and it says who we are (identity). Just think of all the names of those influential and powerful world leaders. God is known by many names in the Bible. Learning to know each of His Name(s) opens up the door to a deeper relationship with Him – to understand His nature and character. The Bible says in Prov 18:10, “The Name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.” In a world that’s getting more chaotic and filled with uncertainty, God’s Name is the only anchor we can put our trust in.
In Gen 17:1, God appeared to Abraham as El Shaddai – The Lord God Almighty; and later revealed Himself to him as Jehovah Jireh – The Lord Who Provides, when He provided a ram caught in the bushes as Abraham’s faith was tested when he was asked to sacrifice his son, Isaac (Gen 22:14). God revealed Himself to the Children of Israel in Exodus 15:26 as Jehovah Rapha – The Lord That Heals. To Gideon, God revealed Himself as Jehovah Shalom – The Lord Is My Peace, after he had a terrifying encounter with an angel of the Lord (Judges 6:24).
Yet, there is a ‘Name of God’ which we say all the time without even realising it. In fact, many in the world, regardless of their faith, mention this ‘Name of God’ all the time, no matter who they are. This Name is found in Exodus 3. God had chosen Moses to deliver the people of Israel out of Egypt. But Moses was reluctant to do it and was deliberating with God over why he was not qualified for this great assignment. In one of their exchanges, Moses asked God how he should reply (to) the people of Israel if they asked him what was the name of the God who sent him. God told Moses to tell them the ‘I AM’ has sent him to them. (Exo 3:13-14)
Here, we’re introduced to this ‘Name of God’ known as the ‘I AM’. Some Jewish rabbis explain it this way – whenever you introduce yourself, you’ve to say ‘I am’ first, followed by your name. e.g. I am Kevin. God has woven this into the fabric of our society and system. So, before you speak about yourself, you’ve to speak about God. You exist because of God’s existence. That’s the reason you can never find the purpose for your life apart from God. You have to find it in God. You find your life when you put the ‘I AM’ first, and not yourself.
And here’s the beautiful part. When you say, “I am alone”, you’re not really alone because the ‘I AM’ is with you. When you say “I am sad”, the ‘I AM’ is there to comfort you. When you say, “I am discouraged”, the ‘I AM’ is there to lift you up. When you say, “I am weak”, the ‘I AM’ says to you, “My strength is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor 12:9)
There’s this part in Matt 28:19-20 that baffles me. As we go forth and do God’s work, Jesus promised us, “I am with you always.” Have you ever wondered how this promise can be true, especially when you don’t feel God’s Presence sometimes?
Psalm 32:8 gives us the key. God said, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye.” The revelation of this verse came through my 6-year-old boy, David. He wanted to go to the playground to play with his friends. So he took his mini scooter and left the house. I followed behind just to ensure he made it safely there.
As he scooted to the lift lobby, he turned back and asked me to go back home. He insisted on going on his own as he was a ‘big boy’ now and very insistent about it. So I sent him off at the lift lobby. I watched the lift door close and he waved happily at me as the lift went down. Then I did what all good fathers do – I raced all the way down the staircase to the ground floor and found creative ways to hide myself from being seen by David (I realised they don’t build beams that are ‘thick and broad’ anymore).
From where I was hiding, I could see him playing happily with his friends at the playground. To David, I was still at home and ‘out of his sight’ as I wasn’t visible to him. But he was never out of my sight – I was at the playground, watching out for him.
Here’s my point. Sometimes, when we’re unable to feel the tangible presence of God around us, it doesn’t mean He’s not there. His eyes are constantly watching over us. And the Lord will say unto you this day, “Peace, be still. I AM with you, always!”
Ps. Kevin Koh