Yesterday I wrote about God being ONE, not two or three.
How then do we think of this one God? Or, asked in a different and very engaging way, “Does God have a name?” If so what should we call him?
The most important name by which God reveals himself in the Old Testament is YHWH, or with the vowels added, Yahweh. This is the name given by God to Moses in Exodus 3:14. It is translated, “I am who I am.” That is an odd way of naming: “I am who I am.” But this is crucial to understand. The words reveal that God is self-existent, the creator and God of the whole world, not just of a tribe or group of devotees. He is the creator, preserver, covenant partner, liberator, judge and savior. What’s in a name? All of this and much more really.
Quite clearly God does not wish to remain incognito. And he does not want to be revered simply as a “higher being” that is sensed or surmised through some equation of human process. He is personal and wishes to be known, loved and worshiped as someone who is real and active in earthly affairs. In the burning bush Moses hears that God’s holy name is Yahweh. But Yahweh was not pronounced out of reverence for God. I think the revelation to Moses suggests that God is both real and hidden. This is true mystery. So when God was spoken of within Israel he was called Adonai (Lord). This is exactly how the New Testament speaks of God when it exalts Jesus as true God: “Jesus is Lord” (Romans 10:9).
So today when you think and speak of God this Lord’s Day call him Lord. This seems to be the obvious way the Scripture reveals him and then calls upon us to address him. And do remember, Jesus is Lord. No confession more clearly marks what it means to be called a Christian than this one.
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Interesting that God answers a question with a declaration as an answer. It seems that Yaweh is not so much a name as a description – God is the “is” from which we “is” – he is the being from which we have our being. His reply points us away from a name that identifies him from others to a description that informs us as to who we are in relation to him.
Ultimately, way over my head …