Do you have a beloved – A Husband a Wife, a Parent, Sister, Brother, Child or Friend? Do you know their name? Do you ever call them by that name? Why do you do that? Of course to get their attention would be one reason we use their name. ‘HEY YOU’ would be very impolite I think.
I have heard it said some people find it rather difficult (maybe embarrassing) to ask a person what their name is. Why is “What should I call you?” such a difficult question to ask? Perhaps it’s because you are asking the other person to provide their status or position in the world in relationship to yours. This position may involve age, job, education, religion and even marital status.
Apart from formal titles, such as Sir, Madam, Pastor, Miss, Doctor, Professor Etc, we also have what might be termed ‘affectionate’ titles such as ‘honey, pet, darling, sweetie, buddy and pal’ we use for those we are closest to.
But what about our Most Holy God, how do we address Him, what do we call Him? Has He given us permission to address Him in any particular way? Well of course he has, the Psalmist tells us “Give thanks to Yahweh, call on his name…” Psalms 105:1a
According to Jewish Orthodox tradition, the Sacred Name is not to be uttered and accordingly, the form “G-d” is used in writing or printing. In place of pronouncing the Sacred Name in prayer, worship and discussion, the form “Adonai” (the Hebrew for ’LORD’) is used.
With respect to those who would disagree, there are good reasons why I believe we should use the name of Our Most Holy God (with the utmost respect), in prayer and conversation. The most important one I can think of right now would be to identify, to non believers and those of other religious persuasions, exactly who it is we worship, with all our heart, strength, might and soul.
He is the Personal God of Israel and the universe, as opposed to the general interpretation of a rather mystical, almost unidentifiable being, as held by most other religions. WE KNOW who our God is because we can call Him by name and we do have a personal relationship with Him.
Saint Malachi tells us (1.11)“My name will be great among the nations, from where the sun rises to where it sets. In every place incense and pure offerings will be brought to me, because my name will be great among the nations, “says the LORD Almighty. “
And the Prophet Isaiah tells us (12:4) “Give praise to the LORD, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted.
It would difficult to follow either of these instructions if we
did not know and use the name of our God when proclaiming
His greatness I would think.
Also in Exodus (20:7) we read: “You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.” By withholding the proclamation of His name, we may be guilty of ‘making His name worthless.”
In Jeremiah 33:3 we are explicitly told: ‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’ How, I ask you, can you call upon the most Holy God without using His name? If you look at your own Bible translation you will see the editors have removed the ancient name of the Most High G-d (Yahweh), and replaced it with a rather generic term….. “The LORD – Adoni”. Please don’t misunderstand me; ADONI is one of the many names of the Lord found within the pages of sacred scripture. But every time you see the word LORD written in the bible text in capital letters, you should realise it has been changed from the word used in the original text.
In the original languages of the Bible, the divine name appears over 7000 times. It is referred to as the tetragrammaton.The letters that make up the tetragrammaton literally translate YHWH.
There were no vowels used in the original Hebrew. The reader supplied the vowels himself as he read. It would be like us reading the abbreviation “bldg” or “blvd.” Some have felt that the ancients would have pronounced the name as, “Yahweh,” and so some prefer that over the English, or Anglicized form, “Jehovah.”
Many centuries ago though, a superstition that the name was too sacred to be spoken by ordinary human lips came about. This was contrary to what Jesus taught. In fact, he even prayed,” I have made your name manifest.”(John 17:6) (Meaning: evident; obvious; apparent)
Unfortunately to many, the names God or Lord convey little more than designations of a supreme being. It says little to them about God’s character, His ways, and what God means to each of us as human beings. But in Scripture, the names of God are like miniature portraits and promises. In Scripture, a person’s name identified them and stood for something specific. This is especially true of God. Naming carried special significance. It was a sign of authority and power. This is evident in the fact that God revealed His names to His people rather than allowing them to choose their names for Him.
But what is God’s Name really? Well of course Moses asked that same question when faced with God revealing Himself in the burning bush in the book of Exodus Ch 3. The answer he received might have sounded ambiguous….. IAM (who I am) but it wasn’t really. God cannot lie – God is truth. Therefore His answer was honest and revealing.
YHWH, the I Am that I Am, the creator of the universe, depends only on Himself for existence. He is the source and origin of all that exists. In Him we live and move and have our being. That is why YHWH is sometimes translated the self-existent one.
I would urge you to take time to worship Him daily by calling
upon Him using His various Names…
to do so will be an awesome experience in knowing God.
Whatever name you use when you call upon God, remember to call it in reverence and in love for the word that expresses the essence of God in His most intimate relationship with you is LOVE, for God is love (1 John 4:16c).
We are waiting for Yahweh;
He is our help and our shield,
For in Him our heart rejoices,
In His holy name we trust.
Yahweh let your faithful love rest on us.
As our hope has rested in you.