Just the Right Word by Marcia Lee Laycock

I’m one of those people who love words. Sometimes I’ll say a word in my mind over and over just because I love the sound of it. So I always open my e-mail with anticipation because I receive a new word from dictionary.com each day. The other day it was actually an expression rather than one word, and it was French our second language here in Canada. It’s an intriguing phrase that relates directly to writers – “mot juste” – literally, word just or just word. The meaning given was “a word or phrase that exactly fits the case, as in – The poet’s concern for the mot juste nearly always makes his prose a thing of interest and beauty.”

Mot juste. I began to wonder, if I had to find a mot juste for God, what would it be? I quickly realized it would be a difficult task, perhaps an unending task. He has, of course, described Himself and perhaps that is where we should start. He gave himself many names – to Abraham he was El Shaddai, God Almighty, and El Olam, the God who has no beginning and no end. To Moses he was Yahweh, The LORD, “the God of your fathers.” (Exodus 3:14). David called him Yahweh Tsebaoth, the Lord of Hosts when he faced Goliath. When he built the temple, Solomon called him “Hashem,” The Name, and rejoiced that God had promised His Name would reside there and receive the prayers of the people. To Jeremiah He was Miqueh Yisrael, the Hope of Israel. In the New Testament Jesus offended the religious rulers by telling them to call God by the familiar, Abba, Father or Daddy.

Finding just one word for God is, I think, an impossible task. His character is so vast, His essence so rich and deep that there could not be one word that would describe all of Him. Butas He Himself has shown us, in all circumstances there is a mot juste for God and that word will always make Him a God of interest and beauty. His character is multifaceted and His ways infinitely complex yet He constantly reveals Himself to us through His creation, His people and His word.

Perhaps His most dear name, to those of us this side of the cross, is simply Jesus, the One who saves. That is a mot juste that we can use and rely on and praise.

“Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord have never forsaken those who seek you.” (Psalm 9:10).