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Light and Truth: The Old Testament: Chapter 42 - The Knowledge of God's Name

By Horatius Bonar

      "They that know thy name will put their trust in Thee." -- Psalm 9:10

      THERE are three things here which sum up this passage,--the name; the knowledge; the trust.

      I. The name. A name is that which marks one man out from another, by which one man addresses another; and, in eastern lands and early days, which expresses the character or circumstances of the man to whom it belongs. Thus God's name marks him out; by it we address Him; it embodies His character. Thus He himself gives it, "Jehovah, Jehovah Elohim, merciful and gracious," &c. It is this name that is written all over the Bible, but specially exhibited in Christ Jesus, who came to declare to us the Father's name. It is a name--

      (1.) Of Greatness. Jehovah, God, Creator, El-Shaddai; all expressive of majesty and power and glory. The Lord God omnipotent.

      (2.) Of Grace. It is the declaration of free love. "Merciful and gracious." He to whom it belongs must be the fountain-head of love. "God is love." In him is infinity of compassion and longsuffering.

      (3.) Of Forgiveness. He pardoneth iniquity, transgression, and sin; all sin, great and small; there is forgiveness with Him, that He may be feared; forgiveness to the uttermost.

      (4.) Of righteousness and holiness. It is holy love that is to be found in Him; righteous grace to the unrighteous; righteous pardon to the guilty. God's pity to the sinner is holy pity. It is as the Holy One that he loves, and pities, and blesses. It is a name revealing all that a sinner needs; unfolding the mind and heart of God; gathering into one glorious sun the light scattered over the universe, diffused throughout the Bible. It is the name of names; in it music, light, medicine, peace, assurance forever. The great and gracious character of God, thus embodied in a name, brought to a point, is made much more accessible, placed more within our reach and comprehension; pledged to us by the very fact that it has been deposited in a name. No man likes to sully his good name, to act inconsistently with his own name, or the family name. And shall God not act consistently with His name? Shall He treat us in a way that shall belie the name that He has taken to himself? When we plead that name and appeal to it, will He not immediately and cordially respond?

      II. The Knowledge. For a thing like this to be of any use to us, we must know it. So long as it remains unknown, it is useless; as good as non-existent. The sun is of no use to me if I am shut out from its light.

      Food is of no use to me if I do not know of its existence. So all the love of God is useless to the sinner, unless he knows it. The knowledge of it is that which introduces its blessings to the needy soul. Nothing more is needed, nothing less will do. This knowledge is not a price which we pay, nor a qualification by which we are fitted for blessing, nor a recommendation which invites God to bless us. It is simply the natural way of letting in the blessing, as opening our windows is the natural way of letting in the light. The child's knowledge that his father loves him makes him happy. The father's knowledge that his child has recovered from a deadly sickness, brings immediate relief. The criminal's knowledge that his sovereign has pardoned him, removes his burden. In all these cases, and such like, it is the simple knowledge of what is good and gladdening that does the work, and we never think of puzzling ourselves with asking, But is my knowledge of a right kind? Is it of the quality and quantity that will secure blessing for me? As if our getting the benefit of good news depended upon a certain peculiar way of knowing them, on which peculiarity turned the whole virtue of the thing known. Ah, it is not thus that we deal with earthly love! It is not thus that we conjure up difficulties and distinctions, and metaphysical questions, which can never be properly adjusted, and which, if they were adjusted, would leave us just where we were. For say what we like, knowledge is just knowledge, and not something else; knowing the love of a person is just knowing it, and not some mysterious act or feeling or combination of emotions which the poor man cannot fathom, and about which philosophers have wrangled for ages.

      III. The Trust. Such is God's name that it cannot be known without evoking trust; and the trust arising from this simple knowledge is the truest and most blessed of all. God's character is of such a kind as to call up confidence as soon as it is known by a sinner; and he who has no confidence in God, does not yet know him or his name. Did he know it, he could not help trusting him. When we come into contact with a loveable object, we cannot help loving; when we come into contact with a trustworthy object, we cannot help trusting, unless we are persuaded that it is a false report which we have heard concerning this loveableness or this trustworthiness. The knowledge of the name of God is that which leads to trust. Hence we preach that name,--that name of grace and love, of mercy and of truth! We bring true tidings concerning it; and we give evidence, in the death and resurrection of the Son of God, that these tidings are quite as true and as good as they profess to be. It is on the basis of "infallible proofs" that we rest our gospel. Our tidings are as sure as they are blessed.

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See Also:
   Chapter 1 - The Old and New Creation
   Chapter 2 - The Link Between Being and Non-Being
   Chapter 3 - A Happy World
   Chapter 4 - The Sin, the Sinner, and the Sentence
   Chapter 5 - Man's Fig-Leaves
   Chapter 6 - Expulsion and Re-Entrance
   Chapter 7 - The Blood of Sprinkling and the Blood of Abel
   Chapter 8 - The Way of Cain
   Chapter 9 - The Man of Rest
   Chapter 10 - Going Out and Keeping Out
   Chapter 11 - The Shield and the Recompense
   Chapter 12 - Liberty and Service
   Chapter 13 - The Day of Despair
   Chapter 14 - The Blood of Deliverance
   Chapter 15 - How God Deals with Sin and the Sinner
   Chapter 16 - The Fire Quenched
   Chapter 17 - The Vision from the Rocks
   Chapter 18 - The Doom of the Double-Hearted
   Chapter 19 - Be Not Borderers
   Chapter 20 - The Outlines of a Saved Sinner's History
   Chapter 21 - Divine Longings Over the Foolish
   Chapter 22 - What a Believing Man Can Do
   Chapter 23 - Song of the Putting Off of the Armour
   Chapter 24 - The Kiss of the Backslider
   Chapter 25 - The Priestly Word of Peace
   Chapter 26 - Human Anodynes
   Chapter 27 - Spiritual and Carnal Weapons
   Chapter 28 - Divine Silence and Human Despair
   Chapter 29 - Jewish Unbelief and Gentile Blessing
   Chapter 30 - The Restoration of the Banished
   Chapter 31 - The Farewell Gift
   Chapter 32 - God's Dealing with Sin and the Sinner
   Chapter 33 - God Finding a Resting-Place
   Chapter 34 - The Moriah Group
   Chapter 35 - Diverse Kinds of Conscience
   Chapter 36 - The Soul Turning from Man to God
   Chapter 37 - Man's Dislike of a Present God
   Chapter 38 - True and False Consolation
   Chapter 39 - Gain and Loss for Eternity
   Chapter 40 - Man's Misconstruction of the Works of God
   Chapter 41 - The Two Cries and the Two Answers
   Chapter 42 - The Knowledge of God's Name
   Chapter 43 - Deliverance from Deep Waters
   Chapter 44 - The Excellency of the Divine Loving-Kindness
   Chapter 45 - The Sickness, the Healer, and the Healing
   Chapter 46 - The Consecration of Earth's Gold and Silver
   Chapter 47 - The Gifts of the Ascended One
   Chapter 48 - The Speaker, the Listener, the Peace
   Chapter 49 - The Believing Man's Confident Appeal
   Chapter 50 - The Love and the Deliverance
   Chapter 51 - The Sin and Folly of Being Unhappy
   Chapter 52 - The Book of Books
   Chapter 53 - The Secret of Deliverance from Evil
   Chapter 54 - The Voice of the Heavenly Bridegroom
   Chapter 55 - The Love that Passeth Knowledge
   Chapter 56 - The Vision of the Glory
   Chapter 57 - Man's Extremity and Satan's Opportunity
   Chapter 58 - The Day of Clear Vision to the Dim Eyes
   Chapter 59 - The Unfainting Creator and the Fainting Creature
   Chapter 60 - The Knowledge that Justifies
   Chapter 61 - The Heritage and its Title-Deeds
   Chapter 62 - The Meeting Between the Sinner and God
   Chapter 63 - God's Love and God's Way of Blessing
   Chapter 64 - Divine Jealousy for the Truth
   Chapter 65 - Divine Love and Human Rejection of it
   Chapter 66 - God's Desire to Bless the Sinner
   Chapter 67 - The Resting-Place Forgotten
   Chapter 68 - The Day that Will Right all Wrongs
   Chapter 69 - The Glory and the Love
   Chapter 70 - False Religion and its Doom
   Chapter 71 - No Breath No Life
   Chapter 72 - Every Christian a Teacher
   Chapter 73 - Work, Rest, and Recompence
   Chapter 74 - Human Heedlessness and Divine Remembrance
   Chapter 75 - Lies the Food of Man
   Chapter 76 - The Love and the Calling
   Chapter 77 - The Anger and the Goodness
   Chapter 78 - Darkness Pursuing the Sinner
   Chapter 79 - Jerusalem the Centre of the World's Peace
   Chapter 80 - Jerusalem and Her King
   Chapter 81 - Looking to the Pierced One
   Chapter 82 - The Holiness of Common Things
   Chapter 83 - Wearying Jehovah with our Words
   Chapter 84 - Dies Irae


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