God's names are promises to us. The names also signify the presence of God.
The word "Name" is capitalized in this scripture because it represents and indicates God's presence. Wherever God puts his Name throughout scripture is where God dwells, meaning God's name is equal to his presence. When God's name is read, prayed, worshipped or believed, God is present. In essence, the name of God is God himself. We tend to forget this. We may need to slow down when we read, pray and worship God; so, we can heighten our awareness of God's presence. We are encountering God when we read, pray and worship God.
Let's take a look at the Hebrew word "Elohim." It is translated "God" in English. Elohim is the first name for God used in the Bible - "in the beginning Elohim created the heavens and the earth." The "El" in Elohim means "mighty or strong." Elohim carries the idea of an all-powerful, unlimited creative power; thus, Elohim means "Mighty Creator."
The ending of Elohim is in the plural form in Hebrew, indicating more than one. Yet, Elohim is always used with singular verbs throughout scripture, indicating only one. Right from the beginning, Elohim carries the idea of more than one person, yet only one being - a hint of the triune God - Father, Son and Spirit.
Why does God want us to know he is the Mighty Creator? The Hebrew word for create is "bara" - a verb that means an action by which something that has not existed before is brought into being. The Hebrew word for create is used only to describe God's activity. Think of Hebrews 11:3 where we are told the visible universe was created by God's command from nothing - that which is not visible.
Repeatedly in the Genesis creation story we are told "God said" and "it was so." We learn God has the power and authority to be the Mighty Creator - to create from nothingness. God wants us to know he is Elohim, the Mighty Creator, because he wants us to know he is worthy to receive glory, honor and power as the one who made the universe - the one who made us.
Another name for God is "El" – just the first part of Elohim. El is translated to mean "God of Power and Might." El is one of the most ancient names for God. El is sometimes used alone but is often combined with other words to express divine names: Elohim, "Mighty Creator;" El Shaddi, "God Almighty;" El Roi, the "God Who Sees Me;" El Olam, "Eternal God;" and El Elyon, "Most High God." These compound names for God contain the idea of God's might and strength - God is all powerful.
Isaiah 9:6-7 includes El in the names given to the promised Messiah - "and he shall be called Mighty God." Psalm 22 uses El when the psalmist cries "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" This verse reminds us of Jesus on the cross crying out to God. The name El encourages us to call upon God as our strength in times of weakness and helplessness.
The story of Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles 20 is a good example of El, God of Power and Might. Jehoshaphat is a godly king, who rules Judah during the time when Israel is divided into two kingdoms after the reign of King Solomon. When Judah is invaded by enemies, Jehoshaphat immediately relies on God - completely and openly. His reaction to learning a vast army is coming against Judah is to seek God's help and guidance. He proclaims a fast for everyone and all the people gather in Jerusalem to seek God together.
In the face of adversity, Jehoshaphat bows before God in gratefulness and humility with his face to the ground and all the people fall down in worship before the Lord. Jehoshaphat’s battle was not his, it was God’s. The same is true of us. Our battles are not ours, but God’s.
Elohim, "Mighty Creator" found in the creation story in Genesis - the first name used for God in the Bible - the "Mighty Creator" of us. El, "God of Power & Might" found in the story of Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles - "God of Power & Might" – God gives us not just strength but his strength, if we ask for it.
Elohim, El - Our God is the "Mighty Creator" - the "God of Power & Might" - Amen.