I have been looking at some of the ‘names’ of God from the Bible, preparing for a new series in our evening services. I may reflect on some of the individual names but the thing that has struck me is just how many there are. It is difficult to put a precise number on them because some may be seen more as descriptions of God or functions of God. Have a look for yourself!
Each name reflects a way in which we experience God. Each one shows a different way in which he reveals an aspect of his character to us. Every name adds to our understanding of him.
Initially I felt like these many names were like facets on an enormous gemstone. Each one is highly polished and shines brightly on its own, yet when seen alongside other facets it shows more of the beauty of the gemstone. A compelling image but it feels inadequate. A gemstone, no matter how big, only has a limited number of facets. There is no limit to God. The more we know of him the more we know we don’t know of him. Perhaps that is why we need an eternity in his presence – just to get to know him!
Some time after Sidney died, his widow, Rachel, was finally able to speak about what a thoughtful, considerate, and wonderful man her late husband had been.
“My Sidney thought of everything”, she told them. “Just before he died, he called me to his bedside. He handed me three envelopes. ‘Rachel’, he told me. ‘I have put all my last wishes in these three envelopes. After I am gone, please open them and do exactly as I have instructed. Knowing you’ll do this, I can rest in peace’.”
“What was in the envelopes?” her friends asked.
“The first envelope contained £5,000 with a note, ‘Please use this money to buy a nice coffin’. So I bought a beautiful mahogany coffin with such a comfortable lining that I know Sidney is resting very comfortably.
“The second envelope contained £10,000 with a note, ‘Please use this for a nice funeral’. I made Sidney a very dignified funeral and bought all his favourite foods. Everyone felt it was a fitting tribute to him.”
“And the third envelope?” asked her friends.
“The third envelope contained £25,000 with a note, ‘Please use this to buy a fantastic stone’.
At that point, Rachel held up her hand and pointed to her ring finger, on which was a gorgeous diamond ring.
“So?”, said Rachel, “Do you like my stone?”