In the book of Malachi, God chastises the priests. They had not been acting in accordance with the covenant. God spoke concerning Levi through Aaron, “My covenant with him was one of life and peace, and I gave them to him as an object of reverence; so he revered Me and stood in awe of My name” (2:5). We see awe and reverence as something God desires from those who serve and worship Him. He specifically mentions a sense of wonder and awe for His name. To hold in reverence the name of someone means to place great respect on every aspect of that person. Let’s look at some of the names that are used for God in the Old Testament.
In the moment that Abraham would’ve faithfully sacrificed his son, his hand was stayed (Gen. 22:10-14). What Abraham had been telling his son came to pass. The Lord had provided a ram caught in the thicket as a sacrifice. Abraham called that place Jehovah-Jireh, the Lord will provide.
The psalm that most know best begins with these words, “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want” (Psa. 23:1). David, a shepherd in his youth, knew the work of the shepherd was to provide for his flock. That means caring for it and defending it. So, when the Lord is mentioned as a shepherd, Jehovah-Raah, it is no wonder that we find such comfort.
The people led by Moses had just crossed the Red Sea and were being led into the wilderness of Shur (Ex. 15:22-27). They had been three days in the wilderness and found only bitter water. The people cried out. The Lord showed Moses a tree that was to be thrown into the water, and it was made clean. Then the Lord said, “If you will give earnest heed to the voice of the LORD your God, and do what is right in His sight, and give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have put on the Egyptians; for I, the LORD, am your healer” (v. 26). They knew the plights which the Egyptians had suffered. That is why God calls Himself Jehovah-Rapha. Things were going to be much better with God as long as they kept His statutes.
These are a few of the many names of our Lord, each praising Him for different attributes. Bringing these names into focus when we contemplate who God is should help us to be in reverential awe of Him. Just as Thomas stood in awe before the Christ as He said, “Reach here with your finger, and see my hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side…” (John 20:27-28). Thomas responded, “My Lord and My God!” The Lord makes a point to speak to the millions of believers that would come later, “Blessed are they who have not seen, and yet believed.”