By Ann Spangler
People’s names in the ancient world did more than simply distinguish one person from another. They often conveyed the essential nature and character of a person. This is especially true when it comes to the names of God recorded in the Bible. The book Praying the Names of God: A Daily Guide explores the primary names and titles of God in the Old Testament to reveal the deeper meanings behind them. El Shaddai, Elohim, Adonai, Abba, El Elyon—God Almighty, Mighty Creator, Lord, Father, God Most High—these are just a few of the names and titles of God that yield rich insights into his nature and character. Each day this week we’re focusing on one of the primary names or titles of God. By incorporating the divine names and titles into your own prayers—and learning about the biblical context in which the name was revealed—you’ll gain a more intimate understanding of who God is and how he can be relied on in every circumstance of your life. I pray these posts will lead you into fresh encounters with the living God.
Miqweh Yisrael—Hope of Israel: Praying the Name
A blessing on the man who puts his trust in the LORD,
with the LORD for his hope.
He is like a tree by the waterside
that thrusts its roots to the stream;
when the heat comes it feels no alarm,
its foliage stays green;
it has no worries in a year of drought,
and never ceases to bear fruit….
Hope of Israel, LORD!
Those who turn from you will be uprooted from the land,
Since they have abandoned the fountain of living water.” (Jeremiah 17:5-8, 13)
Reflect On: Jeremiah 17:5-8, 13
Praise God: The fountain of living water.
Offer Thanks: For the ways God has already rewarded your hope.
Confess: Any lack of belief in God’s self-description provided by Scripture.
Ask God: To help you root your life fully in him.
Grey Is the Color of Hope is the title of a book by Irina Ratushinkaya, a poet who was unjustly imprisoned in the Soviet Union during the 1980s. With all due respect, it would also make a great title for a book about life in Michigan during those long winter months. I remember one January, a few years back, when the total sunlight for the month was measured neither in terms of days or hours but in terms of mere minutes—eight to be precise. If you weren’t lucky enough to be looking out a window when the sun finally broke through the clouds, you would have missed it. Little wonder my five-year-old stood at the front door a few days ago and started jumping up and down, clapping and squealing excitedly: “the sun, the sun, the sun!” You know it’s bad when a preschooler starts acting like that.
And then there’s my mother. Her way of dealing with the endless grey skies is to pretend they aren’t so endless and so grey. She insists on wearing her sunglasses on the cloudiest of days because “it’s so bright out.” She sees “grey,” not as a shade descending into black, but as a color that’s on its way to becoming light.
Maybe that’s how we should think about our lives during periods that seem unremittingly grey or dark. Instead of letting anxiety or doubt paint the darkest possible conclusion to our problems, we need to stoke our hope, to let it advance against the shadows until the darkness recedes. “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’” (Jeremiah 29:11)
Hope grows best in the soil of faithfulness. As we live our lives for God, loving his law, doing his will, immersing ourselves in his word, believing he is who he says he is, worshiping him together with his people, our hope will grow stronger, and we will be like the tree planted by water whose leaves are always green and supple. We will also experience the truth of the words of the prophet Isaiah, who assured us that:
those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint (Isaiah 40:31).
Pray the words of Jeremiah 17:5-8. Then close your eyes and imagine that you are a tree whose roots go down to the stream. Ask God to nourish your hope and renew your strength.
Praying the Names of God: A Daily Guide is published by HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc., the parent company of Bible Gateway.
Bio: Ann Spangler (@AnnSpangler) is an award-winning writer and the author of many bestselling books, including Less Than Perfect, Praying the Names of God, Praying the Names of Jesus, and The One Year Devotions for Women. She’s also coauthor of Women of the Bible and Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus, and the general editor of the Names of God Bible. Ann’s fascination with and love of Scripture have resulted in books that have opened the Bible to a wide range of readers. She and her two daughters live in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
The post Praying the Names of God: The Fountain of Living Water appeared first on Bible Gateway Blog.