God has given each living creature a name for an intentional purpose. Names define who we are, and they distinguish us from every other living creature. Our awesome God has not only chosen to give us names, but He has chosen to reveal Himself to us through His mighty names. When I began reading the Bible faithfully several years ago, I remember coming across a LOT of really crazy and hard-to-pronounce names. Just like you probably do, I would just skip the names and move on, or I would get distracted trying to pronounce them and completely forget what the passage was even talking about. There were also times that I came across different names of God that stumped me, but I knew they were significant and I needed to try to understand them because God has many different names introduced at different times in Scripture based on the characteristics He is displaying at that time. One name I remember confusing me was when God called Himself “I AM WHO I AM” in Exodus 3:14. I mean…how can you get more ambiguous than that? But the more I’ve studied this Hebrew name for God, Yahweh, I am amazed at the complex and loving God whom I serve! I encourage you to get to know God our Father through His names in Scripture.
Isaiah 42 is a passage where God reveals who He is as He describes how He will act based on the Israelites’ actions. At the beginning of the chapter, He speaks of His “chosen servant,” which is a foreshadowing of Christ. Verse 8 says, “I am the LORD; that is My name; My glory I will give to no other, nor My praise to carved idols.” God declares who He is in this verse, and then He describes who He is based on His actions in verses 10-17. There are four adjectives in these verses that explain who God the Father is to us.
Verses 10-12 describe that God’s praise will be heard from the ends of the earth: from the sea, the coastlands, the desert, the cities, the villages, the mountains, and everywhere in between. All of creation sings of God’s glory and praise, and we as His creatures should praise Him as well. Have you ever thought about God being EVERYWHERE? Psalm 139:7-10 say, “Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.” There is nowhere on earth where we can escape God’s presence. What amazing comfort this can be to us! Our God is with us wherever we go. There is no new classroom, interview, uncomfortable conversation, or dark alley where God is not with us. Psalm 16:11 says that God’s presence means walking in the paths of life, in fullness of joy, and in pleasures forevermore.
There was a time in my life when I was in a wheelchair for 6 months during multiple knee surgeries. I remember feeling alone and very secluded because I couldn’t go to school. Even during one of the darkest and most painful times in my life, I can look back and see how God was with my family every step of the way. He brought life out of a painful situation, joy in the years that have followed as I can use my testimony to minister to others, and pleasures that extend way beyond my previous earthly desire to play basketball in college.
Verses 13-15 describe God as a mighty man who goes out in zeal and fights against His foes. We’ve all heard of the incredible miracles of God in the Old Testament: the Red Sea parting, the battle of Jericho when the “walls came a tumblin’ down,” and when the fire consumed the altar before Elijah. These are just a few, but our almighty God did these and thousands more all by Himself. He is the source of all power and majesty.
When was the last time in your life you thought something was insurmountable? Maybe a full semester of homework is piling up and seems impossible to complete or making the team you’ve always wanted to be on seems unattainable. What about getting over your recent heartbreak or learning to live without a dear loved one as the pain pierces your heart daily? ALL of us go through worrisome circumstances, but it’s your trust in our all-powerful God that will get you through with peace and rest.
The beginning of verse 16 explains that God will lead the blind and guide them on paths they would not otherwise go. God is not only everywhere and powerful, but He is full of compassion. We are just like the “blind” person in this verse because we are surrounded by sin and have trouble seeing God’s way. Our caring God takes us by the hand and leads us in His good plans. Are you willing to take God’s hand as He reaches it out to you to follow Him in ways everlasting?
Before I read the Bible regularly, I remember thinking of God as this judge in the sky who was constantly waiting for me to do wrong and then punish me. This couldn’t be further from the truth! God pursues us with patience and compassion, ready to bestow on us His grace whenever we are willing to receive it. Even if we don’t see it because we aren’t looking, His kindness and mercy are very present in our lives.
The end of verse 16 and verse 17 speak of God turning darkness into light for us, but then warn those who trust in idols that they will be put to shame. God is all-knowing and is our source of wisdom and understanding. He knows what is good and bad for us, and He makes all of this clear in His Word. Colossians 1:9-11 says, “be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy.” We can be filled with His wisdom and understand if we seek Him and obey His Word!
What is going on in your life right now that you needed to be reminded of God’s character…of His names that are full of truth? Whatever it may be, I encourage you that our God is always with you. He is all-powerful and can defeat any foe in your life. He is all-compassionate and longs to treat you with tenderhearted care as you lean into His rest. And He is all-knowing, able to give you any answer you seek and guide you along His paths of righteousness. Trust in Him because He is worthy!
Almighty God, thank You that You are always with me in the form of Your Spirit living within me. Thank You that You have all power, and I have nothing to fear. Thank You that You are all-loving and Your grace and mercy are new each morning. Thank You that You know everything about me and guide me in your goodness. Father, help me to trust You because You are EVERYTHING that I will ever need!