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Elkmont Baptist Church
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Calling on the Name of the Lord: Father of Lights
God's name is very important. His name is holy, pure, and represents His character and love towards us. Yet I often hear prayers end in "amen" without mentioning even the phrase "in His name I pray", or "in name of Jesus I pray", or something similar. The Scripture is full of examples of men calling on the name of God in their prayers. Here are a few examples:
May God bless you all!
Abraham called on the
of the Lord (Genesis 12:8; 13:4).
The Lord proclaimed His own
before Moses (Exodus 33:19; 34:5).
Isreal was warned against profaning the
of the Lord
of the Lord was not to be taken in vain (Exodus 20:7;
The priests of Isreal were to minister in the
of the Lord
of God is called "wonderful" in Isaiah 9:6.
To call on the
of the Lord was to worship Him as God
(Leviticus 18:21; 22:2, 32).
(Deuteronomy 18:5; 21:5).
(Genesis 21:33; 26:25).
Until He returns:
So - what is His Name?
In this series of articles, I want to explore the various names of the Lord. When we pray and call upon His name, it is good to know on whom we are calling. Does that mean that there are many gods? NO! It does mean that He has many names, and that each has been given to us so that we can pray more specifically and use one of the many characteristics that is embodied in our God. Let's turn to the New Testament this month:
"Father of Lights"
For the next several months I wish to switch over to the New Testament and look at a few titles and names we know Him by, given to Jesus Christ by the New Testament authors which, of course, means Holy-Spirit-inspired names. Let's see where this name comes from:
"Do not err, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every
perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures."
in Greek is
(Strong's G3962) and we know what that means.
in Greek is
(Strong's G5457) from which we get a bunch of English
words: photo, phosphorous, photon, photograph; well, you get the picture (get it?).
So basically, God and, by extension, Jesus Christ is the "
strange doesn't it? That's because we don't speak Greek . . . .)
Why Lights? The Bible teaches us that Jesus Christ is the light of the world (John 8:12). There is no darkness in Him. Dark is a representation of evil while light represents, of course, good and righteousness. If He is light in the spiritual sense, then the gifts He provides us are good gifts, perfect gifts, gifts and help and encourage us as well as fill our needs (not necessarily our wants).
Why Father? Of course He is our Heavenly Father, our Creator, and the One who called and saved us and gave us new birth. He is THE FATHER, and He is LIGHT. Let's study this verse a little more carefully.
Do not err [
planao (Strong's G4105): do not be deceived, seduced,
wander from the truth - not err as in make a simple mistake, but as in someone has lied to you and you bought the lie. You were deceived. You either don't believe that God can meet your needs, or you have been deceived into believing that someone else can better meet your needs than God, OR you can best meet your own
], my beloved brethren [
that is, of course, you and me and all believers in
]. Every good [
agathos (Strong's G18): good, beneficial, kind, well, needed
] gift [
dosis (Strong's G1394): gift, boon, something freely given
] and every
teleios (Strong's G5046): perfect, mature, complete, finished
] gift [
(Strong's G1434): that which is bestowed from another without regard to cost of repayment
] is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom
is no variableness [
parallage (Strong's G3883): does not vary, is not fickle, does
] neither shadow [
aposkiasma (Strong's G644): not a shade different
or a shade off, not a shadow of difference
] of turning [
trope (Strong's G5157): to
turn, to revolve, to twist, turning
]. Of his own will begat he us with the word of
truth, that we should be kind of firstfruits his creatures.
I find it interesting that the Greek word for err, and thus, the warning to "not err my brethren", is actually not about making mistakes or even failing by sinning, but it is much more of a warning to not be deceived or seduced. Deceived or seduced by what or by whom? Since the opposite of the "Father of Lights" is the author of sin, Satan, prince of darkness, I must assume it is he who tries to deceive or seduce us. Additionally, I look to see what the Father of Lights wishes to provide for us, and it is good and perfect gifts and presents. So we are being warned about two things:
Beware of the source of anything that is offered to us. That includes advice, wisdom, counsel, etc., not just gifts, and
Beware of the gift itself. It may look good to eat (consume, use) but may have been laced with poison or death (remember Adam and Eve?)
Satan (and his minions) can appear as an angel of light. The world's wisdom so often sounds so good, and the pressure of the world to conform can be so great. Yet, the end of the world's goods is often death. Death to our discernment, to fellowship with Christ, to our morality, to our personal holiness, etc. The Holy Spirit through James is warning us that the world's good will entice, seem right, may be just a little bit off center, but close enough (shadow of turning). It may contain a lot of truth but with a small lie or two buried in the middle so that it is hard to see. Counterfeit money to the layman looks real, but to the banker who handles good money all the time it feels off, color not quite right, serial number not what was expected, etc.
Not so with the Father of Lights. His wisdom, protection, counsel, words, promises, and other gifts are perfect. No variation. No just slightly off center. Not truth with a lie buried somewhere, but all truth.
When do I turn to the Father of Lights?
In prayer when I need wisdom
When I am studying a passage of Scripture and need understanding
When I know evil (or a lie) needs to be exposed in a situation (shed perfect light on the issue)
When I need a gift of understanding to give counsel to another
When there is a need in the church that needs to be met, and I don't see a way to do so without His intervention
Whenever I need discernment because someone or something from the world looks so good I might go for it and hidden to me (but not to Him) is the "gotcha!"
When I need to be stable and have the same perfectness and steadiness (no variableness or shadow of turning) that He has in a situation when I am tempted to waver
James 1:16-18 (paraphrased):
Do not be deceived, or seduced, or wander from
the truth my beloved brothers and sisters in Christ. Every good, beneficial, kind, well needed gift is freely given; every perfect, mature, complete, and finished gift is bestowed to you, and is from above, and cometh down from the Father of Lights with whom there is no variableness; He is not fickle, and does not change, neither any shadow nor shade different, nor a shade off from perfection and not one fraction of a degree of turning, nor revolving or twisting from perfection. Of His own will, and with His mind begat He us with the word of truth that we should be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.
[computer software] . Franklin, TN: Equipping Ministries Foundation. (Original work published 1890)
Strong's Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries.
Meyers, R. (2005). e-Sword.