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The Collegian

Column: Names

columnQuestion. How would you pronounce my name? Let me guess, you think it’s “Lee,” right? Actually, it’s pronounced “Lay.” (Cue some witty comment about potato chips.) But don’t worry, I’m used to it now. Sometimes I will even respond to “Lee.”

I usually get one of three responses when I say my name and then spell it for people.

One: “My middle name is spelled like that, only I pronounce it ‘Lee.’”

Two: “Oh, that’s pretty/different.”

Or three: “Like Princess Leia? Where’s Han Solo?”

Umm . . . nope. I’m flying solo without Han.

I have to give kudos to Mr. Sid Silvester, who was my expository writing teacher last semester. I think he’s the only person who has ever pronounced my name correctly without being given a pronunciation guide beforehand (with the exception of my immediate family, of course). He even had the correct reasoning: sleigh bells are pronounced “slay-bells,” not “slee-bells.”

Now this isn’t meant to be a rant about the mispronunciation of my name, though. If any of you know me personally, you know that my name is pronounced “Lay.” Why? Because you know me.

Our theme this year is “Know God.” Yet how many of us know him well enough to know and confidently use his names?

Our God has many different names; most of them are Hebrew and found in the Old Testament. In biblical times, names usually carried significance, and the Hebrew names for God are no exception. Each one gives us a small glimpse of the character of our God and who he is. Here are just a few:

Jehovah Mekoddishkem. This name means “The Lord Who Sanctifies You.” God desires for us to be set apart from the world. I think this name is a reminder that ultimately, I cannot sanctify myself. While I should be striving to be more like Christ each day, it is only by his power and through his help that I can be more like him.

Jehovah Jireh. It means “The Lord Will Provide.” This name holds such a sweet promise. God loved us enough that he provided his Son as a sacrifice in our place. And he still loves us, knows our daily needs and will provide for them!

Qanna. This name meaning “Jealous” is used in the Old Testament, connecting the relationship between God and Israel to the idea of a marriage relationship. I tend to think of the word jealous as a negative thing, but why shouldn’t God be jealous of my affection? He created me. He redeemed me. He sanctifies and provides for me. I owe him my praise, my love and my total devotion.

This is only a small sampling of the names of our God. There are so many more, and each reveals something special and wonderful about him.

Now, I’m not suggesting that we should memorize all of these Hebrew names. (I think pronouncing “Mekoddishkem” is a tad more difficult than pronouncing “Leigh.”) But reminding ourselves throughout the day of what those names mean to us personally — my God will provide; he saved me, sanctifies me and is jealous for me — will give us a greater understanding of who he is.

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Column: Names