“When Abram was 99 years old, the Lord appeared to him, saying, I am God Almighty. Live in My presence and be blameless. I will establish My covenant between Me and you, and I will multiply you greatly” (Genesis 17:1-2, ESV).
Thirteen years after Ishmael’s birth, God again appeared to Abram, whom He renamed as Abraham during this appearance. In these verses God calls Himself “El Shaddai,” for which the meaning is unknown, but its translation as “God Almighty” is based on a tradition going back more than two thousand years.
“I have always loved you,” says the Lord” (Malachi 1:2, NLT).
Malachi wrote to the Jewish exiles that had resettled in Judah probably sometime during the reign of King Darius of Persia (521-486 BC). Malachi begins his oracle by conveying the simple truth that God has always loved Israel.
“He takes away the first to establish the second” (Hebrews 10:9, HCSB).
The Hebrews writer explains how the sacrifice of Christ on the cross replaced the Old Testament system of blood sacrifices and burnt offerings.
The Hebrews writer says that the Old Testament law was a representation of God’s reality, not the reality itself: “The law has only a shadow of the good things to come, and not the actual form of these realities” (vs. 1).
“I will give them, in My house and within My walls, a memorial and a name better than sons and daughters. I will give each of them an everlasting name that will never be cut off. And the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord minister to Him, love the name of ‘Yahweh’ and become His servants” (Isaiah 56:5-6, HCSB).
The Shakespearian character, Juliet asked Romeo: “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Juliet’s question means that what really matters is not what someone is called but what someone is.
“He has not dealt with us as our sins deserve or repaid us according to our offenses. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His faithful love toward those who fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us…But from eternity to eternity the Lord’s faithful love is toward those who fear Him, and His righteousness toward the grandchildren of those who keep His covenant, who remember to observe His precepts” (Psalm 103:10-12, 17-18, HCSB).
In a popular children’s bedtime story by Sam McBratney, father and son rabbits use ever-greater exaggerated measures to quantify how much they love each other until the baby rabbit falls asleep.
“I love you right up to the moon–and back,” the father rabbit whispers as the baby rabbit dozes off.