Thursday, April 11, 2019

Yahweh: His Personal Name

"God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you’ ” (Exodus 3:14).

At the burning bush, Moses not only encountered the holiness of God and learned the importance of worshipping a holy God, but he also learned a name for the God he was to worship. In the days to come, we shall look at four of the names of God to learn what it means to be delivered from bondage into the household and service of God. 

In Exodus 3 God said that His name was “I AM,” probably pronounced Yahweh, which in our Bibles is rendered, LORD. It means that God is self-existing and has life in Himself. Unlike humans, God is not dependent upon anyone or anything for His existence.

One thing we can learn from Exodus 3:14 is so obvious that it is easily overlooked: God has a name. In contrast, the “unknown god” whose inscription Paul discussed in Acts 17 was nameless, without form, with darkness upon his face. By giving Moses His name, God was authorizing Moses to call upon Him for help.

Polls consistently show that 95 percent of Americans claim to believe in some kind of god. We would describe these people as theists. Often when people are pressed as to the nature of the god they profess to believe in, their answers are ambiguous. Phrases like “supreme being” or “something greater than ourselves” or “the force” are often used to describe the god of contemporary culture.

The polls never ask the specific question, “How many of you believe in the God who thundered from Sinai, ‘You shall have no other gods before Me’? How many believe in the God who demands absolute obedience? How many believe that our eternal destinies will be determined by His judgment—either eternity in heaven or in hell?” How many people believe in a God like that?

A god without a name is safe. He has no character or personality to make demands or cause fear. He can never manifest displeasure, anger, or absolute right over our lives. A god with no content will never give commands we must follow. Although polls may say we are a theistic people, in many ways we are practical atheists. Modern man, by and large, embraces an amorphous god and flees from the God named in the Bible.

Each of the names of God revealed in Scripture enable us to know Him more fully. Take time to list the revealed names of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Enrich your prayer time as you address the Holy One of Israel, the Shepherd and Guardian of your soul.