This particular book is “Calling God Names: Seven Names of God That Reveal His Character” by Norman Hubbard.
Just about every prayer of mine begins “Oh God,” or “Oh Father” or “Oh Lord”. They don’t quite have the disaster quality one might associate with the two-word starters. I am conscious there is a beauty in addressing God that I am missing out on. I don’t want to use flowery titles to make my prayers sound great, but I want to use His titles to direct and empower the words I pray.
The first chapter addresses God as The Holy One. The study begins with Exodus 19 when the Israelite nation arrive at Mount Sinai ready to receive the law. God is not portrayed as their buddy or their pal. The mountain is off limits. God obscures himself in fire and cloud. The nation trembles at the idea of God drawing near. Nothing about God was to be taken carelessly or casually. They were not able to bear the completeness of God ad so He reveals himself bit by bit, adding to what they know, building a reservoir of knowledge and experience. His intention is that their relationship with Him is always growing.
I shared a poem I had written with the Breathe Writers this morning.
I am not sure
I want to be
This close to Him
Who choses me
He wraps himself
In fire and flame
This Holy One
I cannot tame
In silent awe
In stillness stand
He shares with me
His purpose planned
“This Holy One/I cannot tame” speaks to me of engaging with God on His terms, not mine. He is not a presence in my life to do my bidding, which is not to say He ignores my requests. I cannot bring God down to my level, although He chooses to stoop down. God then, as God now, lays down the terms of His relationship with me.
“He shares with me/His purpose planned” speaks to me of the conversation God wants to enter into with me. He is not looking for a “yes” man who is just wanting to be told what to do. He invites me to ask questions, to make suggestions and to voice my protests if necessary. Neither of us, Him or me, are required to be the silent partner in the firm. There’s probably so much more He wants to tell me about, but He doesn’t always have my attention.
Something I wrote in my journal – Exodus 19:4 “I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself.” God doesn’t push me away, or pull Himself away from me when I fail to live the way He has set out for me. Rather, He enters into my life more fully to teach me His ways.