Knowing God Through His Names (part 1)

September 19, 2023

Knowing God Through His Names (part 1)


Many of us carry preconceived notions about God, often shaped by our experiences and perceptions. However, understanding God is a journey, and it often involves challenging our own misconceptions. In this sermon, we will delve into three of the many names of God found in the Bible:

Elohim, El Shaddai, and Emmanuel.

Unlocking the Power of understanding God’s Names: Elohim, El Shaddai, and Emmanuel

These names reveal different aspects of God’s character and help us see Him in a new light.

Elohim – God as Creator

The name Elohim appears in the very first verse of the Bible, emphasizing God as the Creator.

In Genesis 1:1 (NIV), it is written:

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

This verse establishes God’s position as the supreme Creator, the one responsible for bringing the entire universe into existence. Here, Elohim is associated with the act of creation itself.

Elohim created the universe, light, day and night, the sky, seas, land, animals, humans, angels, and heavenly hosts. This name reminds us that God is a creator, not a duplicator. He specializes in crafting unique and original creations. We should embrace our individuality, understanding that God created us as originals, not copies.

El Shaddai – God Almighty

The name El Shaddai, which translates to “God Almighty” or “God of the Mountains,” reveals a fundamental aspect of God’s character—His omnipotence. This name highlights God’s limitless power and ability to accomplish anything. Throughout the Bible, we see numerous instances where God’s almighty nature is on full display.

Genesis 17:1 (NIV): “When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, ‘I am God Almighty; walk before me faithfully and be blameless.'”

God introduces Himself to Abram (later named Abraham) as El Shaddai. It’s a powerful moment where God emphasizes His authority and unlimited power. This encounter marks the beginning of God’s promise to make Abraham the father of many nations.

Emmanuel/Immanuel – God With Us

The name Emmanuel (KJV), also spelled Immanuel in most English versions of the Bible, holds profound significance in the Christian faith as it emphasizes the incarnation of God in Jesus Christ. This name, which means “God with us,” communicates the remarkable truth that God is not distant or far away but intimately present, dwelling among humanity.

Matthew 1:23 (KJV): Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

The announcement of Jesus as Emmanuel is a pivotal moment in the Gospel of Matthew. It signifies the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies and the realization of God’s plan to dwell among His people through His Son, Jesus Christ.

Throughout the New Testament, we encounter several passages that reinforce the concept of God’s nearness through Jesus:

John 1:14 (NIV): The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

John’s Gospel presents Jesus as the Word who became human, taking on flesh to dwell among humanity. This dwelling reveals God’s desire to be close to us, to experience our joys and sorrows firsthand.

John 14:9 (NIV): Jesus replied, ‘Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?

In this verse, Jesus emphasizes the intimate connection between Himself and God the Father. He is the exact representation of God’s nature, allowing us to know God more deeply through His life and teachings.

Colossians 1:15 (NIV): The Son is the image of the invisible God.

Paul’s letter to the Colossians underscores that Jesus is not merely a representation but is, in fact, the image of the invisible God. Through His incarnation, Jesus provides a tangible expression of God’s character, love, and compassion.

Hebrews 1:3 (NIV): The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.

The book of Hebrews reaffirms Jesus as the precise representation of God’s essence. Moreover, it acknowledges His role in sustaining all of creation through His powerful word.

The name Emmanuel holds immense comfort and hope for believers, especially during times of hardship, trials, or uncertainty. Just as God was present with Moses in leading the Israelites out of Egypt and through their wilderness journey, God is with us today. We can take solace in the assurance that God is not distant but near, walking alongside us in our joys and sorrows.

Embracing the truth of Emmanuel encourages us to draw nearer to God, seeking a deeper relationship with Him through Jesus Christ. It reminds us that, in Christ, we have a God who understands our human experience, empathizes with our struggles, and offers us His grace and truth.

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