Have you ever played the name game—when you blurt out the first thing that pops into your mind when you hear someone’s name? For example, what do you think of when I say . . . Justin Bieber? What about Al Capone? What about your boss?
But what about God? God cares intensely about your answer. Here’s why: God’s name, for all practical purposes, is what you think about God. It’s his reputation in your heart. That reputation might be right or wrong, biblical or man-made, soul-stirring or yawn-producing, but whatever you associate with God’s name matters more than anything in the world. It determines your level of peace, your amount of joy, how you deal with drama, and how blessed you will be today. In fact, what we think about God is so important that the Jewish people sometimes referred to him simply as Ha Shem, which is Hebrew for “The Name.”
That explains why God played the name game with Moses in Exodus chapter 34: “[The Lord] stood there with [Moses] and proclaimed his name, the Lord. And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, ‘The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin’” (verses 5-7).
God wanted the world to think of a lot when it came to his holy name. So meditate on those verses for a few minutes. Then, tell me, what do you think of when I say . . . God?