"The name of the Lord is a strong tower. The righteous run to it and are safe."
Something is bothering me.
Does it seem strange to you that in these last two very difficult years I have primarily related to God as my Shepherd? Aspects of Him as Mighty King, Judge, High and Lofty One, Creator, Cornerstone, etc., have been difficult for me to connect to. It's not that I don't believe these things are true of Him, it's just that I have so desperately needed certain aspects of Him during this difficult process that they have become my main lifeline to Him. To have Him as my Comforter, Counselor, Guide and Savior has been essential to my healing. I also have not wandered far from the Psalms in this time, finding comfort in their honesty & hope. But I keep wondering how long this lasts...
I often struggle in worship when we sing songs about these other realms of Him. It feels foreign, almost uncomfortable and it is somewhat upsetting to me that I can't. If I believe He is sovereignly who He reveals Himself to be in Scripture, why is this so hard for me?
When I reflect on how His names were revealed in Scripture, though, I see human encounters with Him at points of need. And each specific need provided an opportunity to experience Him in a certain way. It marked their life and there was often a physical place of remembrance built to recall its significance.
When Hagar, pregnant with Ishmael, ran away from Sarai and Abram, she found herself alone in a desert. She was in a difficult place in life and only God could have found her there, seen her need and given her direction for her - and her son's and an entire generation's - future. She named Him "the God who sees." (Beer Lahai Roi) (Genesis 16:14)
When less-than-confident Moses was considering God's proposal to go speak to the Pharaoh, he asked, "Who shall I say sent me?" Did he not already know the name of his fathers' God as the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob? He did, but he seemed to need a new revelation of God to allow him to begin to fulfill his destiny. "I AM WHO I AM," God revealed. (Exodus 3)
After the huge victory of the Red Sea, the Israelites began their travels and it wasn't long before there were various difficulties. After their experience of the bitter waters of Marah, God challenged them to listen carefully to Him, to obey Him and that if they did so, they would be kept from sickness and disease: "I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians." I'm sure they still had vivid images of the post-plague-disease-ridden Egyptians in their minds! He reveals this to them: "I am the Lord who heals you." (Jehovah Rapha) (Exodus 15)
God has created an infinite number of unique human temperaments and personalities. I've noticed that certain ones tend to lean towards certain names of God as their primary way of relating to Him. We also all go through many different seasons of life and find different aspects of God especially meaningful at certain times. I'm glad God can accommodate such variety. He Himself is so immense and complex that there could never be one name that says it all anyway!
Maybe I shouldn't worry so much about my limited perspective right now. Perhaps it is still a time to enjoy the Lord as my Shepherd... It is said that that is the place where "I lack nothing." That sounds like a good place to be! (Ps. 23:1)
Besides, as Juliet said to Romeo:
"What's in a name? That which we call a rose,
By any other name would smell as sweet."
The Lord is indeed very sweet - no matter which name I choose to use.
Photo by: Jack Dorsey