In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gave a model prayer. Here is the beginning of that prayer. Matthew 6:9 “In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name.” Jesus begins by addressing “Our Father in heaven.” Then He says “Hallowed be Your name.” He is basically saying that God’s name is to be considered holy, set apart only for Him, special. But what name is that? He just called God “Our Father in heaven.” Is that the name He is referring to? In reality, there are multiple names for God. Each is holy. Let us look at a few of the names of God.
“Our Father in heaven.” This is indeed a holy name. 1 John 3:1-3 “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” What a blessing to have a Father in heaven! He is the only one that we give that name to. He loves us and treats us as His children. That means He give us gifts; He takes care of us; He listens to us; He give us His grace; He disciplines us. What a special relationship there is that we have a Father in heaven.
“Elohim” This name means God is creator, powerful and mighty, Lord of lords. He is the Lord Most High, stronger and mightier than anyone or anything. This name is used during the creation as in Genesis 1:1-3 “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light.” Our God is powerful and mighty. Ephesians 1:18-19 “The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power.” When you face impossible circumstances or adversaries, know that your God is stronger.
“Yahweh” This name means the self-existent One. He has always existed and will always exist. We read about this name in Exodus 6:2-4 “And God spoke to Moses and said to him: ‘I am the Lord. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty, but by My name Lord I was not known to them. I have also established My covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage, in which they were strangers.” English translators use “Lord” instead of “Yahweh”. This practice is common throughout the Old Testament as in Jerimiah 31:33-34 “But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” Yahweh is the name that is translated Lord. This scripture is quoted in Hebrews 8:8-12 and applies to us today. You can always rely on Yahweh because He is your eternal source of strength and forgiveness.
“Adonai” This name means that God is the Lord over all. He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords; He reigns forever. Adonai is used in the following scriptures. Isaiah 6:1 “In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple.” Psalms 136:3 “Oh, give thanks to the Lord of lords! For His mercy endures forever.” He is the ultimate authority. Therefore you find safety in Him and Him alone.
“El-Shaddai” God Almighty, the mighty One of Jacob. God is not just another ‘god’ like the countless idols. He truly is the Almighty Creator of heaven and earth. This is used in Psalms 91:1-2 “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.’” You can trust in Him.
“El-Roi” He is the strong one who sees. This is the name that Hagar used for God. You may remember that Sarai could not have children so she gave Hagar to Abram as a second wife. After she became pregnant with Ishmael, there was trouble between Sarai and Hagar, so she ran away. But the Angel of the Lord told her to go back to Sarai. Genesis 16:13 “Then she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees; for she said, ‘Have I also here seen Him who sees me?’” When you feel lonely and abandoned by people, know that God is with you. He sees you and He knows you. He hears the cry of your heart and He loves you more than you can imagine.
These are some of the names of God: Our Father in Heaven, Elohim, Yahweh, Adonai, El-Shaddai, and El-Roi. Each of these names is holy and describes characteristics of God and why He is special to us. Give glory to God and trust in Him.