The Names of God
I have the wonderful privilege of teaching our women’s Bible Study at church and stepping into this holiday season (and our building expansion is in full swing) we are doing Bible study HERE (in cyberland) for the next few weeks. It is good God stuff, and excellent for all. We are looking at the Names of God.
The very 1st appearance of God’s name “In the beginning God...” (Gen. 1:1) in the Hebrew is ‘Elohim’ (El-o-HEEM). It contains the idea of God’s creative power, His authority, and sovereignty. It is used well over 2,500 times from Genesis to Malachi, occurring 32 times in the first chapter alone. Elohim is the plural form of ‘El’ which means mighty or strong. Being in the plural form, Elohim is always used as a singular designation for God and does not imply polytheism, (worship of many gods, as was the custom of surrounding nations). God was very direct when telling Moses to tell the Israelites, “Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God [Elohim], the LORD is one.” (Deut. 6:4) Remember at creation, day 6 – “God [Elohim] said, “Let US make man in OUR image…” (1:26, emphasis mine). Elohim reveals the triune nature of God, the ‘ontological equality’ (throw those words out at Thanksgiving dinner) of the Trinity. God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit – all are equal in value but different in function. The Father planned redemption, Jesus accomplished it and Holy Spirit applies it. We actually see all three of the Trinity at the same time in the baptism of Jesus found in Matthew 3:13-17.
King David writes, “Create in me a clean heart, O God [Elohim] and renew a right spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10) David understands this ‘create.’ He knows that what he wants in his heart can ONLY be placed there by his God. Create, ‘bara’ is the Hebrew verb used exclusively of God. Sovereignty bringing into existence what wasn’t and now is – creating out of nothing. ‘Bara’ does not work like that of a recipe, taking ingredients and placing them together to form something, like that of a cake. It is new materials, new results. David knew he didn’t have within himself what it took to have a clean, a pure heart. May we too cry out “CREATE! O God!” Bring stuff into our heart, good God stuff, YOUR stuff, give us qualities exclusively of YOU! Elohim, our creative and sovereign God.
Going forward we will look at the names of God, noting that these different names highlight the many amazing aspects of His character.
In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love & good deeds.” – Hebrews 10:24)