Knowing His name

Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'

Perhaps this will be more clear if I quote the chinese version:

你 要 尽 心 、 尽 性 、 尽 力 爱 耶 和 华 ─ 你 的   神

We often call God 'God'. And he rightly deserves the title 'God', but one thing we often missed out is addressing Him by His personal name. Jesus is one name that we address Him by but that one is also not very accurate. Before we go on further, one might ask, why do we need to be so concerned about names?

Supposed I meet you today and I call you by your job title. For example you are a student, and I keep on addressing you as 'student', would there be any improvement in our relationship? All relationships often start with the introduction of each other's name. In the book 'How to win friends and influence people', remembering the name of other people is listed as one of the important aspects of winning people to our side. If our inter-people relationships emphasize so much on names, then shouldn't our God deserve to have His name known to us? Take a look at David:

David said to the Philistine, "You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.

More clearly in the chinese version:

大 卫 对 非 利 士 人 说 : 你 来 攻 击 我 , 是 靠 着 刀 枪 和 铜 戟 ; 我 来 攻 击 你 , 是 靠 着 万 军 之 耶 和 华 的 名 , 就 是 你 所 怒 骂 带 领 以 色 列 军 队 的   神 。

Knowing who we worship is the first step towards worship and a vibrant relationship with God. So what's God's name? Let's start with the one I have quoted here. The chinese version translated the original manuscript as YHWH, or Yahweh, while the translation is lost in our modern English translation as the LORD. Note the capital letter as the LORD in the bible is different as the Lord. This 'the LORD' or Yahweh appears nearly 7000 times in the original inspired scriptures. These references seem as though God desperately wants us to know His name. I sometimes lament when people in church quote the bible and spelled the LORD as the Lord. This clearly shows that people are not educated enough to recognise the difference.

How about the other name that people commonly call Him by? When we address Jesus, it is not very accurate too. His name is again lost in the English translation. When we watch the Passion of Christ, we realise that the name's pronounced as 'Yeshua' ot Yahshua. I read my manga bible and it is translated as such. Maybe people might trivalise this but yet, in the face that syncretism and the multi-religious geoenvironment that we survive in, it is important to know who are we exactly worshipping. There are so many gods around, that makes it essential to do so.

Consider this:

From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets,
the name of the LORD (Yahweh) is to be praised.


And also this:

And everyone who calls
on the name of the LORD (Yahweh) will be saved;
for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem
there will be deliverance,
as the LORD (Yahweh) has said,
among the survivors
whom the LORD (Yahweh) calls.


We can go on but it is apparent that Yahweh our God wants us to call by His name. Considering that knowing His name is the first step in building a meaningful relationship, we need to practise calling by His name more often, though we might find it unnatural in the beginning. But at least let the first step be us being aware of the difference and the references in our bible.

Know the name and know our God.

Comments

  1. hey bro, amen to that! think it's very true... tink one crisis in the church is that a lot of Christians, even leaders, neglect to study the Word and take care with what it says... thank God for your example in studying carefully the Word.

    you're setting a great example for us, Uncle... haha... oops think i shld call u Huanyan frm now on... no more Uncle... hahaha

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