Knowing God by His Names

When you think about God, what comes to your mind? Is He a grandfatherly figure who indulges the least little whim of His grandchildren?

Is He a strict disciplinarian who doesn’t want His followers to have any fun?

Is He a near-sighted, perhaps slightly senile old man who has no idea what’s going on in the world He created—well, that He thinks He created, but with His senility, who can trust what He says?

Is He a loving over-indulgent parent who just gives His children whatever they ask for?

Or is He the Creator God of the universe who is intimately aware of everything that happens in His world, who grieves when He sees the evil taking place in the world He created, and has a long-term plan to restore all things to the condition where He will once again declare it “good”?

Years ago I read a quote by A.W. Tozer, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”[1] Looking back over the above possibilities, you can see how each of those views would significantly alter the way you think about Him, or your attitude toward approaching Him with your problems. 

And even worse, in his book The God You Can Know, Dan DeHaan warns that “The Bible calls idolatry any form of thinking about God wrongfully.”[2] So it behooves us to spend time learning who God is, and conforming our thoughts about Him to what He has revealed about Himself. 

One good way to do that is to focus on the names by which God has made Himself known, and that is what we propose to do over the next few months. This will not be an in-depth theological treatise on the names. Rather, our desire is that you will come to have a deeper, richer understanding of the God who created you, and that you will grow in your love and commitment to Him.

As Tozer tells us in his book Knowledge of the Holy

“…the gravest question before the Church is always God Himself, and the most portentous fact about any man is not what he at a given time may say or do, but what he in his deep heart conceives God to be like. We tend by a secret law of the soul to move toward our mental image of God. This is true not only of the individual Christian, but of the company of Christians that composes the Church. Always the most revealing thing about the Church is her idea of God, just as her most significant message is what she says about Him or leaves unsaid, for her silence is often more eloquent than her speech. …”[3]

Our prayer is that your mental image of God will move ever closer to the true God as you explore these names with us.

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13)

[1] A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy (Fig Classic, p. 2012), p. 1

[2] Dan DeHaan, The God You Can Know (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 1982), p. 13.

[3] Tozer, p. 1, emphasis added.

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