Hello Church Devotion Aug.30, 2013

“Y is for Yahweh”

12 And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you[a] will worship God on this mountain.” 13 Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?” 14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am.[b] This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’” Exodus 3:12-14 New International Version (NIV)

Humans all have personal names. Wouldn’t it be reasonable for God to have a name? Having and using personal names is a vital part of human friendships. Should it be different when it comes to our friendship with God?

In the Bible, God says: “I am who I am. That is my name.” (Isaiah 42:8) Although He also has many titles, such as “God Almighty,” “Sovereign Lord,” and “Creator,” He honors His worshippers by inviting them to address him by his personal name.—Genesis 17:1; Acts 4:24; 1 Peter4:19.

The first part of the Bible was written not in English but in Hebrew, a language that is read from right to left. In that language, the divine name appears as four consonants, יהוה. Those four Hebrew characters—transliterated YHWH—are known as the Tetragrammaton.

The 4 Hebrew Letters forming the Name of God are consonants. Transliterated into English, they are Y H W H. As you look at the Hebrew text pictured, remember Hebrew reads from right to left which is opposite of our English reading. If vowels were included, the consonants would be the different versions of the verb “to be”. (ie: I am, I was, I will be, etc.)

Since it is so difficult for us to pronounce only consonants, we normally pronounce it by adding two vowels: Yah-Wey. Yahwey which means I am is the name that God gave to Moses.

Being of German descent, myself, it is also neat to see how YHWH gets treated in German and then to English. Y sounds like a “Je”. H sounds like “Ha”; W sounds like a “Va”; H sounds like a “Ha”. Put them together, and you get…. “Je-Ha-Va-Ha” or as we pronounce it in English, “Jehovah”.

Interestingly, we have Jehovah and Jesus (Father/Son). Or if we look to the Hebrew, we get Yahweh and Yeshiva (Father/Son). Most of the time we translate Yahweh as God or Lord in the Old Testament.

61 But Jesus remained silent and gave no answer. Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?” 62 “I am,” said Jesus. “And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.” 63 The high priest tore his clothes. “Why do we need any more witnesses?” he asked. Mark 14:61-63 New International Version (NIV)

You may also remember that the Pharisees and Teachers of the Law in Jesus’ time were very dismayed with His use of the holy Name of God when He refers to Himself as “I am”. For Hebrews reserved the use of that Name only to God and to only be used in worship to Him. When others used that holy Name, they were called to account on a charge of Blasphemy.

Of course, we use God’s name without fear and trepidation when we remember the proper use as described in the 2nd Commandment: “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord, your God.

What does this mean? “We should fear and love God so that we do not curse, swear, use satanic arts, lie, or deceive by His name, but call upon it in every trouble, pray, praise, and give thanks.

19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20 New International Version (NIV)

God’s Name was given to us in Baptism. He wrote His name on our lives. His Spirit was given to us. God abides where His name resides. For we, are temples of the Holy Spirit – which means that God is abiding with us.

God’s Name is precious to us. The fact that it means “To Be” and “I am” just exemplifies that He has always been and always will be. Perhaps, that is why the Holy Spirit guided the pen of the New Testament writer and said of Jesus: “He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”

Prayer: Almighty and ever-living Yahweh, You make us both to will and to do those things that are good and acceptable in Your sight. Let Your fatherly hand ever guide us and Your Holy Spirit ever be with us to direct us in the knowledge and obedience of Your Word that we may obtain everlasting life; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Direct us, O Yahweh, in all our doings with Your most gracious favor, and further us with Your continual help, that in all our works begun, continued, and ended in You we may glorify Your holy name and finally, be Your mercy, obtain eternal salvation; through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen.

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