Name calling

Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you. Psalm 9:10

I love all things Disney: Disney theme parks, Disney resorts, Disney cartoons, Disney theatrical productions. Anytime I get to visit Disney World or watch a Disney animated movie or attend a performance of a Disney stage production, I can be assured that I’m going to have a great experience, even before I go through the turnstiles or the lights dim in the theater. After all, it’s Disney.

Even if you’ve never ridden Space Mountain or stayed at the Contemporary Resort or seen The Lion King onscreen or onstage, you know that – on that fateful day when you finally do – it’s going to be all you’ve ever dreamed it would be. Why? Because everything the company stands for, every bit of the “have a magical day” image it’s carefully crafted for itself over the years, every commercial showing smiling children running into the arms of Mickey Mouse is epitomized by the name “Disney.”

What’s in a Name?

When I first began studying Psalm 9:10, above…

Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.

…I had a little trouble making sense of it, and had one of those Scooby-Doo single-raised-ear moments while grunting “Roh…?” After all, I know a bunch of the Lord’s names: El Shaddai, Adonai, Yahweh, Jehovah, I Am. But why does the psalmist think knowing any of those will instill a feeling of trust in me?

To answer that, I had to get all scholarly and do a little diggin’. Here’s what I learned…

First, at the time this Psalm was written, an individual’s name represented everything there was to know about him or her. In other words, the same name association we have today with well-known corporate brands happened in Biblical times as well, only with people. I’m pretty sure Noah, Moses, and Jezebel didn’t need last names or any other “handle” for B.C. folks to know exactly who they were, even without 24-hour news channels or social media. (“We’re live on the scene at the Mesopotamia Hills home of Noah Feinbaum, wine connoisseur and amateur ship builder, causing quite a stir among his neighbors for violating association policies on the care and keeping of non-domestic, exotic wildlife…”)

Second, a more accurate meaning of the Hebrew word translated as “name” in this verse would be “essence” or, even better, “the essential reality of who someone is.”

While that would make for an odd Bible verse, it would definitely bring this verse to life for us English speakers:

Those who know the essential reality of who you are will trust in you…

Ungainly and not at all psalm-like, but much more accurate.

Keeping that definition in mind, knowing God’s name – His essential realities – makes it easy for me to trust him; add to that the truth the psalmist so eloquently notes in the second part of that verse and trusting God becomes second nature:

…for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.

Never – nunca, jamais, nie.

God is…

So what are some of the “essential realities” of who God is? I often find myself focusing on different ones of His traits depending on what’s going on with me at any given time, but in my (almost three-year) relationship with Him, I know God to be:

  • Sovereign (in control)
  • Giving (supplying all I need, whether spiritual or material)
  • Faithful (He does what he says He will do)
  • Gracious (giving me forgiveness that I don’t deserve)
  • Merciful (withholding punishment that I do deserve)
  • Unchanging (the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow)
  • Good (totally – nothing bad in Him, neither action nor motive)
  • Righteous (morally right, always making perfect judgments)
  • Holy (perfect in goodness and righteousness)
  • Omniscient (all-knowing)
  • Love (not just loving, but love itself)

And I know His essential realities the same way I know the essential realities of a Disney theme park – through personal experience.

Until I visited the Magic Kingdom for the first time in the 70s, the closest thing I had to that sort of experience were those pop-up amusement parks that occasionally set up shop in the parking lot of the local shopping center. There would typically be a Ferris wheel and something called the “Tilt-a-Whirl,” along with various games where one could win a large pink stuffed bear.

Once I walked through the gates of the Magic Kingdom, though, I realized that (in addition to being health hazards) those make-shift carnivals paled in comparison to a Disney theme park. The world-class quality and technical superiority that Disney uses to immerse visitors in its stories is unparalleled. Although you can settle for hearing second-hand accounts of someone else’s Disney vacation or even watch full length, high definition video of people riding Disney rides on YouTube, there’s nothing like experiencing it for yourself. Trust me.

If you’ve read “This is my story” where I recount my salvation experience, you know that I grew up hearing about salvation through Jesus Christ (or at least sitting in church services where I had ample opportunity to hear about salvation through Jesus Christ). I heard others talk about trusting God to guide them and hearing Him speak to them, but to me those were all just second-hand accounts.

Once I surrendered heart, soul, mind, and strength to Him and His will for my life, though, and began spending time daily in prayer and Bible study, my knowledge of His essential realities took on a whole new meaning – they became first-hand.

Just like a trip to Disney, truly knowing God’s name requires participation. There’s nothing like experiencing it for yourself.

Trust me…


Actually, trust God. Get to know His name – His essential realities – for yourself. He’s not inaccessible; He wants you to know Him.

If you don’t know Jesus as your savior yet, you can do so – right now, even. To know more, click here.

So seek Him today. Remember…

…for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.

He never has and never will.

3 thoughts on “Name calling

  1. They just get better and better. I’m so glad I know you Dusty your writings give me encouragement on my journey with Christ. I won’t steal anything this time……lol. I love you and am so glad God has done a major work in your life.

  2. Pingback: Off the hook | clay

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