Names of God – part 23
The LORD God is gracious
YHWH is the actual name of God, revealed to Moses. In English, it is usually spelt Yahweh or Jehovah, in many Bible translations it is written as LORD (in all capitals or small capitals).
El is a Hebrew word meaning God.
The third part of the name is how people relate to God, either as individuals or as a nation, or other groupings.
Hannum is a Hebrew word meaning gracious. It is found as one of four aspects of God revealed to Moses, in Exodus 34:6. (Using ESVUK)
The LORD passed before [Moses] and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness,
God’s nature is to be merciful, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love and faithful. The same qualities that we find in the words of St Paul as the fruit of the Spirit. As the Holy Spirit works in us the attributes of God begin to grow in our lives. We become more Godlike, more Christlike.
The word translated as ‘gracious’ here, Hannum, comes from the same root as the Hebrew word for womb. God’s love for us is because God has given birth to us. God is like a mother to us.
I am not saying God is Mother here to be trendy because there are some who wish to make God more feminine as part of women’s liberation. (Though the equality of the sexes is something I believe in and should be fought for. But that is an aside, irrelevant to a blog on the names of God.) I am being totally orthodox here. The names of God show feminine as well as masculine aspects to God. We can always trust the unswerving love of God as a mother to us.
For the mountains may depart
and the hills be removed,
but my steadfast love shall not depart from you,
and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,”
says the LORD, who has compassion on you.