Typically, on the first day of school my elementary teacher would incorrectly call out my name when taking roll. My first name, “Ann”, is not hard to pronounce, but inevitably, due to some mysterious clerical error, my middle name was placed on the list where my first name should be. After hearing a quizzical repeat of “Elsie Clark?” coming from my teacher’s lips, my brain would awaken me from a daydream, and go into high alert. Not only was the teacher not calling me by my first name, but she was also completely butchering my French middle name “Elise.” I was embarrassed. “Elsie” (instead of Elise) was a name I thought best given to a cow. Giggling would erupt from my classmates indicating they must have had bovine thoughts, too. In great anxiety, I’d finally find the courage to respond and tell my teacher my correct name. Being horribly shy, this entire commotion sent me into an emotional tailspin at the beginning of each year.
A name can be given for no reason other than a parent liked the sound of it. At other times, a name may be given to pay tribute to another person, or to be a reminder of a place or event.
In Psalm 144, there are many name tributes, or phrases, given to God by the psalmist.
I believe the only way such an extensive name list for God is possible is if a person walks closely to Him. The psalm verses contain names for the ROLES God had played in the psalmist’s life. The first two verses show some of these.
“Blessed BE the Lord, my Rock and my keen and firm Strength, Who teaches my hands to war and my fingers to fight—My Steadfast Love, and My Fortress, my High Tower and my Deliverer, my Shield and He in Whom I trust and take refuge, Who subdues my people under me.” (Amplified version)
The descriptions found in the next four verses give even more evidence that the psalmist intimately and accurately knew the “not-of-this-world” superior nature of God.
“Lord, what is man that You should take notice of him? Or the son of man that You should take account of him? Man is like a vanity and a breath; his days are as a shadow that passes away. Bow Your heavens, O Lord, and come down; touch the mountains and they shall smoke.”
Then, because of the confidence the psalmist already has about God, he readily gives God an ambitious request about his current troubling situation.
“Cast forth lightening and scatter my enemies; send out Your arrows and embarrass and frustrate them.” (Verse 6)
Throughout the rest of the Psalm 144, the psalmist continues to present descriptions about the roles and evidences he has experienced in his faith walk with God.
If called on today, what name list could we construct that would give evidence of our connections with God? Are we even close enough to interact with Him? If so, what parts of “knowing God” have we tested, found true, and given testimony? Does God have an all-access pass to every struggle, blessing, and thought we have, or are there areas we are not willing to relinquish?
What would our role call of God look like?
I am challenged.
Dearest only God, when I think about all we have been through together there are so many words tied to SO MANY specific memories. Thank you for all of these…You are my Teacher, Creator, Truth-Source, Ability, Efficiency, Soul Support, Supplier, Sustainer, Vision, Comfort, Solace, Hope, Unchanging Reliability, Revealer, Refuge, Counselor, Helper, Escape, Rest, Rock, Confidence, True-Lover-of-what-is-truly-me-as-You-have-created-me to be, Total Acceptance of me, You are …..My Value, My Worth, My Courage, My Stability, My Reviver, My King, My Song, My Leader, My Direction, My Multiplier, My Champion, My Protector, My Trust, My Forgiveness, My Savior, and My Redeemer. Oh God! You are My Everything!! Thank You for all You have done for me. Praise to Your name! Amen