Friday, January 17, 2014

Knowing God by Name

In the Bible names have significance.  Names have meaning--they are meant to highlight attributes or characteristics of those who hold them.

Jacob, which means he who supplants or schemer, was renamed Israel, which means he has been saved by God.  Abram's name, exalted father, was changed to Abraham, father of many.  Saul, prayed for, became Paul, humble.  Jesus referred to Simon, he has heard, as Peter, rock.

Within this framework, is it any surprise that throughout scripture God reveals His complex character by identifying Himself by different names, each one exposing different aspects of who He his and what He does for us?

In Knowing God by Name: A Girlfriends in God Faith Adventure, authors Sharon Jaynes, Gwen Smith, and Mary Southerland explore 40 of God's names.

The book is divided into 8 weeks of daily readings.  On days 1 through 5 of each week, a new name is introduced and unfolded through scripture, inspiring stories, Biblical truths, and prayer, to demonstrate an aspect of God's character affirmed by that name.  Day 6 is a time for reflection and going deeper into the Word, with questions and space for journaling.  There is no day 7, so I've been dividing the day 6 reflections over two days.
I love this book.  I am learning so much every day about who God is and what it means to be in relationship with Him.  God is so good, so very, very good in His love, in His provision for us.  Through this book, my spirit has been moved to learn more and grow closer to God. 
This study is perfect for personal use, which is how I'm using it, or for use with a prayer partner or a small group.  The day 6 reflections are an excellent starting place for small group study and discussion.  Buy it.  You will not be disappointed.
Every day brings a new favorite passage, but just to give you a taste, here are a couple of excerpts.
Mary Southerland on El Kannah, the jealous God, used in Exodus 34:14:

...jealousy compels God to pursue each one of us relentlessly, no matter how we try to evade Him with our indifferent attitude or our propensity for sin. ...  
Don't doubt for a minute that God is jealous for you... He is standing right beside you, wrapping His arms of love around your wounded heart. Listen closely as he declares that you are His child. You belong to Him and He is not going anywhere! He is El Kannah, forever with you and pursuing you with all His love-filled heart.

Sharon Jaynes on El Shaddai, the All Sufficient One, used in Genesis 17:1-2:

The Hebrew root word shad [meaning breast] may seem an odd choice for referring to God. But if you have ever held a hungry, crying, restless, or anxious babe in your arms and then witnessed the calm that sweeps over him when placed to his mother's breast, you understand. The crying ceases, the restlessness calms, the hunger is satisfied, and anxiousness melts away. And to that child, the mother from whom life-giving, soul-satisfying nourishment flows seems all powerful. What a beautiful image of our God who satisfies our every need, calms our every fear, and soothes our every longing.

I received this book for free from Waterbrook/Multnomah for the purposes of this review.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Did you like this review?  Please take a moment to rank it below.  As a thank you, you will be entered into a drawing to win a copy of the book.

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