Devotional Thoughts for Today
“The Name of the Lord”
Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” 14 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.
Moses asked the Lord, “What is your name?” A simple question, yet have you ever thought about that? We call God by certain names – “Lord,” “Father,” “Savior,” etc. But does He have a proper name? Asking someone their name is usually the first question you ask when you get to know someone. So, what is God’s name? Other deities have names – Marduk, Ra, Zeus, Pluto. Does the one true and living God have a name as well?
It’s amazing that we do not think about this more often because our God actually does have a name! We most commonly refer to Him as God or Lord, but that is not actually the Bible’s most common way to refer to Him. Over 6,000 times, the Bible uses a proper name to speak of our God. By comparison, the Bible uses the Hebrew word for “God” only about 2,000 times. What is this proper name?
Pardon me while I nerd out a bit. The proper name is derived from four consonants YHWH. Scholars are not 100% sure of the vowels, though most believe Yahweh is the right vocalization of the name. But this name is loaded with meaning. God answered Moses’ question about His name by saying, “I am who I am.” In Hebrew this is ehyeh asher ehyeh. Though most translations render this as “I am who I am”, this literally means “I will be who I will be.” Alright, so why don’t we call God ehyeh asher ehyeh? Well, God answers the question about his name a second time by shortening his response to just ehyeh, or “I will be”. But God’s name is not ehyeh either. God answers the question a third time in verse 15 by saying, “Yahweh, the God of Your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” If Moses were to talk about God, he wouldn’t call him “I am” or “I will be” because that would not make sense. Rather, he would use a the third-person form, “He is” or “He will be”. Yahweh is similar in pronunciation to the third-person form. But God paired His name with a description: He is the God of Moses’ fathers, namely, of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The same God who made the promises to Moses’ fathers is the same God who is with him now. His name signifies His faithfulness. He is the One who was, and is, and is to come. He is who He is and He will be who He will be, always. God’s name signifies His faithfulness.
Out of respect for the name, Hebrews in antiquity eventually started to say “Lord” instead of “Yahweh”, which is why we do not use the divine name frequently. Still, the Israelites were called to trust in the name of the Lord. This meant trusting in the God who keeps His promises. It’s in His very name to be faithful. He is and always will be who He is. That is His name.
Prayer: Thank You, Lord, that Your name is faithful. I trust in Your name because I know You will always be who You are and that You will always keep Your promises. Help me to trust in Your name day by day.
Bible Reading for Today: Matthew 2
Lunch Break Study
Read Psalm 86:11-13: Teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. 12 I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever. 13 For great is your love toward me; you have delivered me from the depths, from the realm of the dead.
Questions to Consider
- What is the result of being taught the way of the Lord?
- What do you think a “divided heart” looks like?
- What is the connection between trusting God and worship?
- According to this psalm, we are taught the way of the Lord in order that we may rely on His faithfulness. This is similar to what Jesus taught when he said, “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Walking in the way of Lord results in us relying on God’s provision and faithfulness in our lives.
- The psalmist asks for an “undivided heart” in order to fear the name of the Lord (biblical fear is about honor and trust). If we have a divided heart, it means we are not honoring God and we are trusting in other things. This could be trusting in money, or worldly talents, or our thoughts/ideas, or countless other things. All those things turn our eyes away from the faithfulness of God. An undivided heart trusts that God is always faithful, in every way. An undivided heart is a heart that is fully surrendered to God.
- If we do not actually trust in God, our worship is superficial. If we worship God on Sunday but then trust in ourselves Monday through Saturday, our worship is a lie. The psalmist says that he will praise the Lord God and this genuine praise is possible because the psalmist relies on the faithfulness of the name of the Lord. Note also that this trust has been built on experiencing God. As we trust in God, we experience His deliverance and this in turns builds our trust more. May we experience the love and deliverance of God in more and more ways!
Tonight, call on the name of the Lord. Remind your soul that He is the One who was and is and is to come. He will never change and His promises to us are sure. If you feel your trust wavering, ask God for help to build more trust. May this trust lead to greater worship of the name of the Lord!