Names convey so much about their bearer. At the point in Hondo where Angie Lowe learns the man sleeping on her cabin floorK is the famed Calvary rider, Hondo Lane, she views him completely different. When the Spaniard, in Gladiator, takes of his helmet and reveals himself to be Maximus, the leader of the Free Companies, the movie takes a different turn. Names carry with them, history, character, and personality. When the Regulators hear the name Buckshot Roberts, they marvel at the fact that “he’s killed more people than small pox” and you can hear the tension in their voices. A name has the ability to convey a lot about its bearer.
In Genesis 1-2, God’s character is revealed in not one, but two names. Each name used in a way to highlight His array of attributes. In Genesis 1, ‘elohim is the Creator who is all-powerful. Genesis 2 introduces the LORD, Yahweh, who is close and personal, who does things kind of the way we do them. When God is dealing with man directly, Adam in the garden, Israel in the desert, the prophets in Jerusalem, the name Yahweh is used showing His proximity to man. Yahweh breathes and forms (Gen 2.7); He walks (3.8) and speaks (2.18). It is no coincidence that this name was given to Moses by God at the burning bush (Exodus 3.14) to tell Pharaoh who is now calling the shots and will be with Israel: Yahweh. When God is triumphing over enemies, when creating, and ruling the earth, the name ‘elohim best describes Him. ‘Elohim created [hb. Bara] from nothing (1.1) and made (1.26) man in his image; He blessed (1.28) and provided for man (1.29). God has revealed Himself to man in these two names, and more adequately than in one name.
The two names of God, as He introduces Himself, as ‘elohim and Yahweh provide a glimpse of all the things He is as our relationship plays out. Yahweh cares about our problems…and ‘Elohim is powerful enough to do something about it. ‘Elohim’s power is displayed in the “hands” or the “arm” of Yahweh. The two names show with greater completeness the character and personality of the God we serve.
When you think about God, which “name” are you more drawn too? An all-powerful ‘Elohim side of God, or a more personal Yahweh side? Which is easier to worship, a close Yahweh or a transcendent ‘Elohim? How does God, being both powerful enough to deal with our problems (‘Elohim) and personal enough to be in relationship to us (Yahweh) change the way we think about Him? Two names for the same Entity (Person). I for one am thankful that His names cover the expanse, the depth, the character and personality of who our Heavenly Father is: both powerful and personal.