What’s In a Name?

What’s in a name? My name, Gary Alan Anthony, was given to me by my parents. I was named after a friend of my father’s. I am the man with three first names. It has served me well, I believe, for so many years.

What’s in a name? Jan and I named our girls before they were born. We chose one of them the day they were born. Kylie was named after my dearest friend for so many years. Rachel was named simply because we liked the name. Neither one of us had had children in school named by that name to dispel our appreciation for it. And so they were given their identities associated with a name.

What’s in a name? “Jehovah is one of the first names of God we find in Scripture, and it’s the one He gave himself. Yahweh is the Hebrew original, and Jehovah is the English equivalent. The word more formally means ‘self-existent one,’ according to those who have tried to translate it. But it comes from a basic Hebrew word that simply means ‘to be.’ It can also be translated ‘I Am.’” (Nan Allen, The Words We Sing, pg. 121)

This was the same God that appeared to Moses and said, when Moses asked how the Egyptians would know He sent him, “I AM WHO I AM.” It’s the essence of the meaning of the name.

As time progressed, God’s people added suffixes to the name Jehovah. These additional names helped the people to identify with God in a more personal and intimate way. They were more definitive in who God was to them at the time. A few of these names were Jehovah-El Roi, “You are the God who sees me”; Jehovah-Rapha, “God our healer”; Jehovah-Shalom, “The LORD is peace”; Jehovah-Shammah, “God is there”.

Sunday morning we sing Like a River Glorious. In the chorus of this great hymn, we sing “stayed upon Jehovah, hearts are fully blessed, finding as He promised, perfect peace and rest.” As we walk this journey of life together, I pray that we will come fully to know Him as Jehovah-Jireh, “the LORD will provide.” He provides healing, He provides peace, and He provides grace. But in this name, Jehovah-Jireh, the translation says that God sees our need before it arises. He sees ahead of time and has made provision for it.

As we look for a tangible provision from our Lord in the coming days and weeks of a capital campaign and new building project, I pray that He will open our eyes and allow us to see Himself as He truly is, Jehovah-Jireh. Behold, He has already made provisions for us.

After all, what’s in a name?

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