Why is it important to know the names of God? City Harvest Church’s executive pastor Bobby Chaw explains.
“Names are a means of self-revelation. They tell us something fundamental about ourselves,” said CHC executive pastor, Bobby Chaw on the weekend of May 5 and 6.
The message followed on from Chaw’s message the previous week about the name of God. He shared that the introduction of someone’s name is usually a prelude to the building of a relationship. In the Old Testament, God reveals Himself using various names and titles that identify and describe who He is. Chaw shared that those names seek allow one to understand God’s multi-faceted personality more deeply. His names also serve as a reflection of His nature and character.
“By revealing His name, God is inviting us to know Him intimately,” said Chaw. He went on to share the story in which God tested Abraham by asking him to offer his son Isaac as a burnt sacrifice. Just as Abraham was about to sacrifice Isaac, God provided a ram for Abraham to use as an offering instead. After this encounter with God, Abraham named the place Jehovah Jireh, meaning, “the Lord will provide” (Gen 22:14).
Sharing Psalm 23:1, Chaw shared another name of God, Jehovah-Rohi, which means, “the Lord is my Shepherd”.
WHY IS KNOWING THE NAMES OF GOD SO VITAL?
Firstly, because God has commanded his people to honor His name.
“As children of God, we take on His name and we must not do it in vain,” said Chaw. “We must honor God through our thoughts, speech, and attitude.”
Secondly, because the people of God are commanded to praise His name.
“God’s name gives us insight into how we can relate to Him,” Chaw said.
Lastly, because there is protection in His name. The Bible says, “That whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Joel 2:32)
Chaw explained that “call” in Hebrew is made up of three letters in the Hebrew alphabet, aleph (א), resh (ר), and kof (ק). The symbol for kof shows the back of the man’s head, resh shows the side of a man’s profile while aleph shows an ox, which represents strength.
“The word ‘call’ in Hebrew means that when you’re down and out, you turn towards the One who has strength. Your turn to God,” explained Chaw.
Chaw brought up the story of Jacob wrestling with the angel (Gen 32). During the struggle, God asked Jacob for his name. By asking for Jacob’s name, God showed that he wanted a relationship with Jacob.
Jacob, in return, asked for God’s name was. Chaw explained that Jacob asked for the name of God because, unlike most people, he was not satisfied with a one-time blessing; he wanted a relationship with God.
“Jacob understood that in the journey of life, there will be many challenges, he wanted God to always be there for him. He wanted a relationship with the Source,” said Chaw. “We must do the same. Let us go deeper in our relationship with God.”
JEHOVAH RAPHA: THE LORD HEALS
In Exodus 15:22-24, Moses led the people of Israel into the wilderness. They were thirsty and tried to drink the waters of Marah, but the waters were bitter. They grew frustrated and began to complain to Moses. Moses, in turn, cried out to the Lord, and Lord made the waters sweet by having Moses dip his rod into the waters.
Another name of God is Jehovah Rapha, meaning “the Lord heals”. Chaw shared that God has come to restore, to heal, and to cure His people both physically and emotionally.
“Disappointment and resentment make us sick in our hearts, but His name is Jehovah Rapha and His name is a reflection of his nature,” said Chaw. “Healing is God’s nature, and because His nature doesn’t change, He can do no other than to cure and restore.”
How should Christians respond when they find ourselves in the waters of Marah? Chaw’s advice: heed the voice of the Lord diligently. When faced with difficulties, one should listen to the promises of God, and focus and meditate on those promises.
“No matter how bitter your circumstances may be, no matter what kind of realities you are facing, when you find yourself trapped with no way out, turn to the One whose name is Jehovah Rapha, who can turn all bitter experiences into sweet encounters,” Chaw declared.
The second way to respond at the waters of Marah, he shared, is to do what is right. Chaw shared the example of Diana, a Chinese church member, who was diagnosed with stage four cancer. In time, Diana’s conditioned worsened, and the doctor predicted that she only had about two weeks left to live. When Chaw visited her, she had slumped into depression. He reminded her that it is God’s job to heal and restore, but it was her job to believe.
Upon hearing that, Diana decided to trust God one day at a time. Since then, five months have passed, and Diana is still alive today, by the grace of God.
“Sometimes we can be so overwhelmed by our circumstances that we end up feeling depressed, and all we seem to be able to do is complain. In times like these, we need to focus on God and His name,” Chaw reminded the congregation.
Referencing 2 Chronicles 7:14, he shared that the third way to respond when faced with the waters of Marah: obey God’s commandments.
Bringing the message to a close, Chaw reminded the congregation that there is healing for their deepest pains and disappointments—God turns bitter waters into sweet because that is His nature.