16 Feb What’s in a Name?
Remember that old song “John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt”? What a name to have, right? Well, it kind of reminds me of God’s name that He proclaimed to Moses in Exodus 34.
We read that God passed before Moses and said, “The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation” (vv. 6-7).
That’s a long, complicated name. But this complicated name includes some amazing attributes, starting with merciful and gracious.
Mercy and grace are almost always connected in the Bible, because they’re symbiotic; they’re like twins. Mercy means not getting what you deserve, while grace is getting something you don’t deserve—something you did nothing to earn. For example, you deserve death and judgment because of your sin, but through Christ, you get forgiveness and you’re going to heaven.
The text also says God is long-suffering, which simply means suffering long. He is incredibly patient with our shortcomings because “He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust” (Psalm 103:14). No one has high expectations for dust. I sweep it up. I throw it out. It comes back. And yet, God is long-suffering with dust clods. He is so patient with us.
Then it says God is “abounding in goodness and truth.” Again, these two are tied together. God is always good and always 100 percent truthful. Jesus is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).
The last tandem attributes are forgiveness and judgment. The reason they’re together is because there is either forgiveness or judgment. Jesus said, “Wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:13-14).
How do you find the way that leads to life? Through Jesus Christ. Forgiveness is never granted because you do good things or pray a lot or your grandma was a Christian, but because you trust in the blood of Jesus spilt on the cross for you. That’s how you can be forgiven, and that’s how you can experience all these beautiful attributes found in the name of God—by having a relationship with Him through the Savior.
So, what a name, right? Don’t you love these attributes of our Lord? Doesn’t reading about them make you love Him even more? He’s so stable, so true, so trustworthy, and so faithful. And because I know that this is who He is, I can rest in that—and so can you.