“The Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness…” - Exodus 34:5-6
This is one of the most monumental moments of Scripture. As Moses is on Mount Sinai receiving the second set of the law, God “proclaimed the name of the Lord.” What’s interesting is that He doesn’t just say His name and stop there. He starts listing out adjectives, meanings, and characteristics of who He is. He’s merciful and gracious, and also slow to anger. He is abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, and also forgiving of iniquity, transgression, and sin. Now there are several names of God in the scriptures, like Yahweh, Jehovah-Jireh, etc. But the name of God is so much more than one word, as it contains countless meanings and descriptions that attempt to encapsulate the infinite God within finite language.
“I know You by a thousand names
And You deserve every single one
You’ve given me a million ways
To be amazed at what You’ve done
And I am lost in wonder at all You do
I know You by a thousand names
And I’ll sing them back to You”
There aren’t enough names, words, or ways to fully explain who God is. He deserves endless praise, and countless testimonies for all He’s done. His character informs our worship, as we thank Him for His goodness and His faithfulness. When we sing about the names and character of God, we learn to relate to Him in a new way. When I was broken-hearted, He was my healer. When I was enslaved to sin, He was my bondage-breaker. When I was overwhelmed, he became my ocean-parter. He meets us with who He is in our broken moments and changes everything.
When we sing about a different attribute of God, we’re reminded of how He’s been faithful in that area of our lives. This is helpful to practice as we remember who God is and what He’s done. Gratitude leads us to a renewed thirst for the things of God. All throughout Scripture emphasis is placed on God’s people remembering what He has done for them. Gratitude is powerful; it informs our worship and our very lives. When we remember who God is and what He’s done, it changes us.
“I remember the days of old; I meditate on all that you have done; I ponder the work of your hands. I stretch out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land.” - Psalm 143:5-6
In this psalm, we’re shown the progression from remembrance to gratitude to desire. The psalm starts out with the author, David, desperately asking God for mercy. He feels pressed in by the enemy, and his soul is weary and dismayed. But what’s interesting is that in verse 3 he transitions to thinking about what God has done before. He dwells on the faithfulness of God and the good works of His hand. Then a shift happens in the Psalm, moving from almost depressing language to a genuine desire for God Himself.
When we remember and meditate on the good works of God, it affects our souls. When we focus our minds on heavenly things and practice gratitude, that act of worship becomes our comfort and renews our affections for Jesus. All we can do when we consider the things God has done, and the beauty and meaning in His very name, is sing back to Him. He deserves every single name, every single song, and every single prayer. He is worthy of it all.