Leaders, Followers, Choices (Names of God)

Let’s play follow the leader! Ok, form a line behind me and do as I do.

baby step… baby step… baby step…

Wow! You did great! Let’s try another round of this!

toddler step… toddler step… toddler step…

Excellent! Give yourself a round of applause! Clap! Clap! Clap!

Are you up for some more? Well, here goes!

grownup step… grownup step… grownup step…

Awesome! You folks really know your moves! Now it’s your choice. Speed up a little… slow down a little. Adjust. Bigger step… smaller step. That works! Leaders, followers, steps, speed, and choices.

Jesus is the greatest leader. His Disciples are great examples of followers. Followers tag along behind the leader and learn by copying his steps. As the followers learn, the leader walks a little faster and with larger steps. And the followers grow as they push to keep up with the leader. They tackle deeper concepts and mature. They grasp the meanings at a greater speed. And they make better choices.

Jesus spoke in parables, earthly stories with a Heavenly meaning. Jesus used cartoon illustrations to explain concepts in earthly terms because their minds could comprehend only storybook lessons. Then they graduate from concepts taught in vague, shallow physical terms to those taught as deep, direct concepts revealed in spiritual reality. Itty, bitty baby steps... grownup steps… then… grownup choices.

The Bible uses commonplace earthly ideas or relationships to explain spiritual concepts. God is our Father, so apply the same characteristics to God, our Heavenly Father, that you would generally associate with earthly fathers. God is our Father. We are no longer slaves to sin. We have received the Spirit of sonship. (Rom 8:15)

Let's move beyond explaining God using earthly standards. Father demonstrates that we can have an intimate relationship with Him. But He is also God, the Creator of the universe. Comparisons of an earthly father with God are incomplete. There can be so much more.

God as a "Father figure" is a parable to give us something to grasp, as a first step toward knowing God. Father is one name. But God is known by many names in the Bible. Each name reveals another facet of God’s character. If we do not study and explore God beyond the name of Father, we will miss a great deal of whom He is.

Each additional name we discover takes us to a new level in our understanding of God, adding another dimension to our relationship with Him. Each name reveals another role God plays in our lives, and another role we may possibly play in the lives of others.

We ask you God, “Please show Yourself to us. Set the crayons and coloring books aside and reveal yourself to us. The REAL You. The ‘rest’ of you.”

Listed here are three different formats for showing some of the names of God. A) The name followed by the Bible verse. B) The Hebrew name followed by the English name. C) Categories of names that define God’s names by attributes. Note: This is only a partial list.

A) Old Testament: Shield (Psalm 3:3), Rock (Psalm 28:1), Fortress (Psalm 46:7), Holy One (Psalm 71:22), Most High (Psalm 92:1), King (Psalm 145:1).

New Testament: Father (Matthew 11:25), Most High God (Mark 5:7), The Word (John 1:1), Abba (Romans 8:15), Lord Almighty (2 Corinthians 6:18), Judge of all men (Hebrews 12:23).

B) El Shaddai (All-Sufficient One, Lord God Almighty), El Elyon (The Most High God), Adonai (Lord, Master), Yahweh or Jehovah (Lord, Jehovah), Jehovah Nissi (The Lord My Banner, The Lord my Miracle), Jehovah-Raah (The Lord My Shepherd), Jehovah-Rapha (The Lord that Heals), Jehovah Shammah (The Lord Is There), Jehovah Tsidkenu (The Lord our Righteousness), Jehovah Mekoddishkem (The Lord who Sanctifies You, The Lord Who makes Holy), El Olam (The Everlasting God, The God of Eternity, The God of the Universe, The God of Ancient Days), Elohim (God, Judge, Creator), Qanna (Jealous, Zealous), Jehovah Jireh (The Lord will Provide), Jehovah-Shalom (The Lord is Peace), Jehovah Sabaoth (The Lord of Hosts, The Lord of Powers). from Blue Letter Bible

C) Absolute such as belong to his essence as Jehovah, Jah, etc. Relative such as are ascribed to him with relation to his creatures. Communicable those which can be imparted in degree to his creatures: goodness, holiness, wisdom, etc. Incommunicable which cannot be so imparted: independence, immutability, immensity, and eternity. (Easton's Bible Dictionary)

How do we graduate from baby steps to grownup steps, and show God we are serious about getting to know Him better? How do we allow the meanings of God’s names to influence our lives?

Find a great leader -- expect more of him. Be a great follower -- expect more of yourself. Take larger steps. Keep moving faster. And use what you are learning to make better choices.

Most leaders today say, “Just take itty, bitty baby steps as long as you like. We don’t want you to feel uncomfortable. But if you do choose to take grownup steps, just color outside the lines a little bit. That’s good enough.”

Choice… Let’s make a better choice than this. We must follow and learn for a season. But there comes a time when we must break away from following in someone else’s footsteps, and start thinking for ourselves. Let’s choose to set the crayons and coloring books aside. And allow the next generation to follow our lead.

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