Okay, the name of this post was totally just to get your attention. I wasn’t really going to sing the “name game” song with Jesus. I do have boundaries, sometimes.
It does, however bring my straight to the point. There is power in a name. Most of you (and myself) would have been completely shocked and appalled if I finished out the phrase with “bo besus.” Admit it, you would have. That is utter disrespect of the name of the one who left heaven, lived on Earth in a human body, suffered on the cross, bore our sins (which he had lived formerly in eternity separated from and did not even take part in while he was here), died, was buried, and the raised from the dead by the power of the Spirit. In our spirit, we know we can’t treat his name that way. There is power in his name. There is holiness in his name. There is an unspoken need to give the name respect, honor, and glory. “Bo besus” would be a slap in the face to all that Jesus’ name calls for.
That said, now matter how much power and glory is called for in a name, over use and similar use can detract from the strength of a name. This is what has led to a struggle I have been having and will explain how God, as usual for me, flipped everything around and brought glory back to himself in my life.
If you haven’t read My Time Travel Testimony, go read it first and then come back. This all takes place in the time after my timeline-shifting life change.
After God showed my that my Christian faith was all in his hands and not the story I thought it was, his love for me drew me closer to him. The same week as my perspective adjustment, I started reading a book by David Platt called Radical (if you haven’t read it, read it, but I warn you it will change your life and your relationship with God) and I started a study through Setting Captives Free called The Lord’s Table (fat or skinny, if you know your relationship with food is out of whack, you need to check this out…it slowly stopped being about me and food and more about me and God). Doing both of these at the same time really did completely transform my mind and change my relationship to God. Both were quite difficult to go through, especially at together, but good. I have not been the same since.
The Lord’s Table was a daily look in the spiritual mirror. It really helped me to view Jesus sacrafice and a relationship with him as vital to my every day life. Radical made me question my motives in my daily lives and asked the question, “Am I seeking the American Dream or Jesus?” It made me wonder what I was doing for the Kingdom of God.
I finished both of these at about the same time. When it was over, I was, to use the them of the book, radically changed…but now there was a vaccuum. What do I do now to keep this fire going?
There are a series of challenges at the end of Radical. One of these is to read the Bible through in one year. I figured that is a great place to start. I had been reading the Bible every day…and after Romans I went to Genesis and started from the beginning. I found a One Year Bible for my ereader and started where I was in Genesis. I was behind in the pacing for the year, but that is not what was important. I just needed to read God’s word, and I wanted to try to do it in a year.
I have struggled every other time I have tried this. I get a month or two in, get bogged down in Leviticus, skip a day, then another, then another, until I am just not reading anymore. But this time was different. It is like I can not get enough of it somedays. I will write about this another day. God’s word truly is amazing.
I loved it through Deuturonomy, Leviticus, and even Numbers. 1st and 2nd Kings rocked my socks off. God taught me so much. This time, though, it was the the books of Chronicles and the second trip the Psalms that did me in. It was really hard to get through all of the names for the third time in 1st and 2nd Chronicles, and it was basically a rehashing of the books of Kings, but in a less exciting way. I made it through Psalms great the first time, but this second time it has been harder to keep my attention through it. I think one of the major things that got to me was the repetition of “The LORD” over and over through both of them. The Bible started to become impersonal again. It felt like I was disconnected from the words.
God must have known this, because a peculiar set of events began just when I about had enough…I was starting to “accidently” skip a day here and there. And it all started with someone making a statement about God on Facebook, but using the name Yahweh.
I don’t know why I have been bothered by this. I guess I always felt like when people called God “Yahweh” or even “Daddy” it was more to impress other people than to show honor and depth of relationship with God. I will probably talk about my “Daddy” issues later (calling God that, that is), but this one is about Yahweh.
It stuck with me, seeing that on FB. I knew it was none of my business to worry about what other people called God, but I wanted it to be. I know that I needed to deal with this, so I prayed and asked the Spirit to help me let it go. He did not do that. He had another idea.
The message to my heart was, “That is my name.” Wait, I know that. That is the name you told Moses to tell the Israelites when they ask who sent him. “And there is a reason for that, because it is my name.” I know. That is why I need you to help me deal with it when people call you that. “My name is Yahweh.”
I kind of ended with that. That is until when I came back to reading the Bible that night or the next morning (I don’t remember which). When I started to read and had glazed eyes with all of “the LORDs” I was reading, I felt the overwelming urge to change them all (in the Old Testament readings) to “Yahweh”. I wasn’t sure why, outside of the Yahweh conversation he and I just had. So I did.
I totally changed the direction of Bible reading for me. Suddenly verses, especially the Psalms, burst to life. It was personal again. When people cried out to God, they used his real name. He is, afterall, a very personal God. It was (and still is) awesome. Even the books of Chronicles became lively and interactive. It became about a God who decided to lavish his love on a group of people in a personal way, how they kept turning away from him, how he left them to their own devices, how they came to a place where they needed him, they turned back, cried out, and trusted him again…and then the cycle would begin again. It reminded me of my relationship with God. Call me Israel…call me Judah…we have the same story!
I am know theologian or Bible scholar, so don’t quote me here. but I did a little research. Apparently, whenever “the LORD” is said in the Old Testament, it is usually in place of Yahweh or Adonai (which I found out that some people think was a replacement for the word Yahweh). The Spirit led me to do something that goes back to the Hebrew text. “The LORD” is “Yaweh”!! How cool!
Just because I have this new practice, does that mean the Bible was not personal before…of course not! For me, though, over the years and the common use of the word in church and elsewhere, “the LORD” is a word the lost power to me. I did not see “the LORD” as a personal and intimate reference to God, but a word that made him more distant from me and the world. I needed “Yahweh” take back the power, glory, and majesty of his name back in my life! And, boy, did he.
I have not come to the point to using the name Yahweh in prayers, but I think that transformation may be coming. Think about it. What other “god” has told us his name?
This is more than a story about a name. It is about how God, or Yahweh, is a personal and loving God. He gave us his name. His name holds power, but more than that, it shows us that he truly cares about us. He did not tell Moses to tell the Israelites to say “Mr. God” sent him. No, he told him his name. All power and glory and honor to the name of Yahweh!
What about you? Has the name of God lost power for you? Has God become impersonal? How has Yahweh become more real and personal to you in your life?
I do challenge you to read something in the Old Testamen and change the “LORDs” to “Yahweh”. The Psalms are a great place to try this. Psalm 135. I hope it is as life changing for you as it was for me.
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