In the tragic play Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare famously wrote, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” While the English playwright didn’t place a lot of merit on them, God has a very different idea on the importance of a name.
Our name is the first thing we’re given when we arrive in this world. If we’re fortunate, it’s one that’s been carefully and lovingly chosen for us by our family. Throughout history, names have had specific meanings, and those meanings give them power. While today’s culture may not pay as much attention to the meaning behind our names, the Bible makes no secret of their importance. Perhaps no passage more beautifully illustrates the significance of calling upon a name as Isaiah 43:1, which tells us, “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine!”
Of course, if a name carries power, then none is more powerful than the name of God. His name is so sacred that it has an entire commandment set aside instructing the faithful not to use it in vain, lest they be found guilty. When Mary was visited by an angel who foretold the Son of God’s birth, he brought specific directions for what she was to name Him.
The Bible has over 100 different names for God throughout the Old and New Testaments. Each one highlights a different facet of God and His relationship to us. He is the King of Kings (1 Timothy 6:15) as well as a Servant (Isaiah 42:1). He is both our Redeemer (Isaiah 41:14) and our Advocate (1 John 2:1). He is Jehovah-Jireh, our Provider. He is Jehovah-Shalom, our Peace. He is Elohim, the strong, creator God—making a way for you out of no way.
The bad news is that sometimes life has problems. The good news is that God has a name for each and every one of them. As you get to know God’s names, you will get to know His character and come to discover His power to positively impact your life in a mighty way.