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God’s ID

My family and I were recently the victims of identity theft, with someone somehow getting my bank pin number and purchasing a number of items. TA Superstore rejected their online attempts three times; then finally fell into the trap. Fortunately, Janet went online the very morning we were to drive to North Carolina for a wedding and discovered what had happened. The bank and the companies were very cooperative. Tragically, identity theft is one of the most rapidly growing crimes sweeping America, as criminals are finding creative ways to rip-off basic biographical or financial information about people. A 31-year old Chicago woman’s purse was stolen earlier in the year and with it three vehicles were purchased by thieves assuming her identity. When she received a card thanking her for buying a car she had never purchased, she knew what had happened.

Amazingly, people have the nerve to distort the identity of Holy God. Though they cannot gain anything by such sin, the contagious distortion of the true and living Lord defames His Name and dilutes our message. This is one good reason why we are offering our new, summer mid-week adult Bible Study, “The Power of God’s Names,” based on Tony Evans’ new book and film series. Dr. Evans is one of America’s best known preachers and is President of the Urban Alternative and pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas. He realized that God’s Names allow us to know Him, worship Him, and be able to pray to Him. As Tony said, “Today if you say Hitler or Benedict Arnold, those are negative names; if you used names of positive people, such as Bill Gates, you’re going to think about money” (instead of evil and betrayal). God is exalted by His “Great Name” (Malachi 1:11).

On Wednesday, we will follow the same format as we have done earlier this summer concerning the David Jeremiah study on fear. Even if you were not involved in the previous series, please join us at 6:30 p.m. in the Worship Center. You will be warmly welcomed at a table, particularly if there are empty seats! I am always blessed by the sweet spirit, the lively dialogue, as well as the recorded, nationally-known teacher and relevant insights from our own staff. We began with the first study this past Wednesday, but you can jump in anytime even if you have been away on vacation.

God revealed His name first to Moses as Jehovah (Yahweh) but also at other times in other places to other people by adding a compound form. For instance, as Jehovah-Shalom, He reminds us that He is to be known as “the Lord Who is our Peace.” In the New Testament, the Lord Jesus identified Himself as “the great I Am,” in continuity with the Old Testament revelation of Jehovah. May this “Great King” and His “Name” not only be “feared among the nations” but also in Naples (Malachi 1:14).

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