Can you imagine living in a world without names? There would just be ‘things’ that may (or may not) have a label – the blue flower, the long-necked animal, the spotted fish, the hot season and even the guy with the extra-long nose!! Long term, it is plainly difficult and unworkable (although it has been used often around the world, e.g., the American Indian Chief, “Sitting Bull” obviously had some meaning!)
God understood this when he created the world and so he gave us names. Here are a few examples from Genesis 1:
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth … God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night” … God called the expanse “sky” … God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” (vv. 1-10)
Then in Genesis 2 we read that he also delegated some naming to mankind:
Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals. (vv. 19-20)
But does God himself have a name?
In this wonderful Psalm of worship, the phrase the name of the Lord is mentioned 3 times in the first 3 verses. The psalmist says:
Praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord, you his servants;
praise the name of the Lord.
2 Let the name of the Lord be praised,
both now and forevermore.
3 From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets,
the name of the Lord is to be praised.
“The psalmist calls on God’s servants to praise him. The name of the Lord signifies his reputation, won by his great actions and wonderful character. His worship should be unending (both now and forevermore) and universal (From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets).” (# 30)
Psalm 148:13 says:
Let them praise the name of the Lord,
for his name alone is exalted;
his splendor is above the earth and the heavens.
“In the Old Testament times, a name was not only identification, but an identity as well. Many times a special meaning was attached to the name. Names had, among other purposes, an explanatory purpose… Throughout Scripture God reveals Himself to us through His names. When we study these names that He reveals to us in the Bible, we will better understand who God really is. The meanings behind God’s names reveal the central personality and nature of the One who bears them.” https://www.blueletterbible.org/study/misc/name_god.cfm
So, in answer to my question above (Does God have a name?), the answer is that He has many names and each one revealing something more wonderful about him. This Blog is not able to go into much detail, so for further information go to the link above, but let us consider the name used over 6500 times in the Bible – Yahweh (or YHWH) – meaning Lord, Master and revealing the omnipotence, the dependability and the faithfulness of God’s character. This name was first revealed to Moses in Exodus 3 where we read:
13 Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”
14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’”
15 God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The Lord [YHWH], the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.’
“This is my name forever,
the name you shall call me
from generation to generation. (Genesis 3:13-15)
So, to praise the name of the Lord, as the psalmist encourages us to do, is to worship and praise our great and amazing God for all that He is and all He has done, both in history and in our own daily lives.
May we all, as servants of the Living Almighty God:
Sing to God, sing in praise of his name, extol him who rides on the clouds; rejoice before him—his name is the Lord. (Psalm 68:4)
And together proclaim:
I will exalt you, my God the King; I will praise your name for ever and ever. (Psalm 145:1)