Advent Flow #1 - NAMES OF GOD: Yahweh, Jehovah
Opening Prayer – Lord teach me about who you are today and let me come to know and love you more through reflecting on your Holy Name. -Amen
NAME OF GOD: Yahweh, Jehovah
by Pastor Mike Conan
In the Hebrew language words were consistently just consonants, so vowel sounds would be brought in, that is, the first name of God has two different English translations. The first name given for God is יַהְוֶה, it is read from left to right Yahweh or Jehovah. In our English Bible this word is most often translated as “Lord”. The name is revealed to Moses when he says he wants
to know who exactly he is talking to at the burning bush:
God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” 15 God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations.
The Israelites understood this name as the most central and powerful name of God. In this name, the Israelites were reminded of God’s preexistence and eternal attributes. The name invoked a sense of awe, wonder and power as God was shown to be the preeminent one not only in power and character, but also in His very existence. In this name they were reminded that their God indeed was real and He had worked and would work in His world. The Israelites also understood that with the name “I AM” that God had been faithful to generation after generation. He had a plan and a purpose for the world and a plan and purpose for His people in the world.
Yahweh was the most popular name for Israel’s God, yet interestingly enough it isn’t the most commonly used name! The Israelites so revered this name of God that it was not to be spoken aloud. In fact to this day another name for God, Adonai, will be read aloud in the synagogue when someone is reading from an ancient scroll and the word Yahweh is there.
For us Today: During the time before Christmas we pause for a season of advent, a time of anticipating someone special’s arrival. As Christians we remember the arrival and prepare for the return of the Great King Jesus. We begin with a wonderful reminder that life is not an accident and we are not the center of the universe. But Indeed God has been around forever and His plans and purposes in Christ Jesus are the centerpiece of all creation. It is wonderful and awe inspiring to think of our God as the eternal person, Spirit and force that created and sustains the universe and that leads and cares for His people. When Jesus uses the seven I AM statements in the book of John, and especially when he says “before Abraham was ‘I am’”, we are reminded that He did claim to be God and has been in existence before anything or anyone. Jesus is preeminent in His character and in His very presence. God’s plans for us in Christ Jesus have been around forever! I hope that today’s name will drive us to ponder the greatness of God and to see the faithfulness of God to His creation and His people throughout all generations. Sometimes being reminded that we are not the center of the universe is the most precious gift we can receive.
How does God’s existence bring you hope?
How does reflecting on God’s eternal purposes bring you a sense of wonder?
How does God’s faithfulness for many generations bring confidence to your own life and struggles?
How does the reverence for God’s name shown by the Israelites speak to you about your own knowledge and reverence for His name(s)?
Lord, you are the one who has always existed. You created everything around us and have a plan and purpose for this world. Please continue to show me this week and beyond that indeed you are real and that you are working for your purposes in this broken world. Help me to continually be awed by your eternal existence and to trust in you more each day. I love you and worship you, Yahweh. -Amen