The Name of God

Names are important to us, of course. Ideally they make us stand out as individuals, or perhaps say something about our character or heritage. But most of us did not name ourselves.

And we did not name God. His name, by the way, is not “God.” Moses is the first to have an experience of our God’s self-revelation. Out of a “burning bush not consumed” in the desert, God introduced Himself to Moses and revealed His sacred name: “Yahweh.”

In Hebrew literature, “Yahweh” was spelled without vowels. Usually when encountered it is written “YHWH.” An unpronounceable set of consonants. A Name that was set apart as unique and holy.

“I am that I am,” is the rough English equivalent of the name of God. But in Hebrew culture, a name was synonymous with the person. The prohibitions against taking God’s name in vain; in using the name of God profanely, are rooted in this understanding that to offend the name was to offend the owner of the name.

And so we today still are to handle God’s name with care. It is not to be used “profanely” (in Latin “outside the temple”) but is to be used with great respect and reverence.

Somehow, we today have missed that memo. We hear people (no surprise) using God’s name to season profanity-laced sentences. But we sometimes even hear believers (surprise) do the same.

We must be careful how we use and invoke the name of God and even its various forms. God does listen and weigh our hearts as we do.

The amazing thing about all of this, however, is that for those who know Him… those who worship Him… those who would draw near Him… He says,

“Just call me Father.”


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