|Posted by Donna Dawson on November 20, 2014 at 9:30 AM|
God. LORD. Jehovah. All names given to the Creator of all things and yet not quite accurate.
A few years ago, I had an acquaintance mispronounce my name. He wasn't being malicious. He just didn't know how to say it in any other language but his own. I let it slip the first few times and then it began to grate on me. After all, I knew my name and I knew how it should sound. I sat down with him and taught him how to enunciate it properly and I asked him to do likewise with his name so I could say it correctly. Why did it matter? Our identities are wrapped tightly with our names and when there is a deviation something within us rebels. I don't think our Creator is much different. After all, we are made in his image.
Zechariah 13:9 says:
And I will put this third into the fire, and refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold is tested. They will call upon my name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘They are my people’; and they will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’”
According to http/www.jewfaq.org/name.htm it is not permissible to call on the name of God. The Jewish faith has such a deep respect for the Creator that they replaced his actual Biblical name with words such as LORD, God etc. Yet, God made it plain that we are to call on his name and he will answer.
I understand the idea. If someone continually referred to me as 'hey you' I would get to the point where I ignored them. Not very loving, I know, but true nonetheless. God in his infinite love and patience endures the genericizing of his name and yet he still tells us to call on his name. So what is his name?
In the Biblical Hebrew the name of God in English literally translates as 'I Am that I Am' or 'I Am the Being'. Moses was given God's actual name at the place of the burning bush. In turn, Moses--and the rest of the Biblical characters--referred to him as 'You Are that you are' or 'you are the Being'. (yod, hey, vav, hey) Not exactly a match but the same idea. At a point in history--and that point is not clear--the Jews stopped verbalizing the name of God and instead referred to him as HaShem (the name). Some say it started because of the Third Commandment so they couldn't take the LORD's name in vain. Others believed it was an act of repentance and humility when the expulsions came to Israel before the birth of Christ. Whatever the reason, at some point, the Jews no longer called on the actual name of God.
I won't presume to know how YHVH feels about this but I know how annoyed I became when my name wasn't spoken properly. The problem lies in the inconsistencies of history. At some point there was a concern that the name was being mispronounced. Yet, if the God of the universe can keep the stars aligned and the earth spinning, can he not keep the pronunciation of his name true? Can he not gently teach us how to say it properly much like I did with that acquaintance? I think he can and I think he has. More and more Hebrew scholars are identifying the letter 'yod' with a 'y' sound, the letter 'hey' with an 'h' sound and the letter 'vav' with a 'w' sound which means that phonetically his name should sound like 'yahway' only breathier.
A year ago, a group of friends began praying with me consistently. We no longer used LORD, Jehovah or God. We began to call upon the name of YHVH and prayed to him in Jesus' (Yeshua's) name. (See the LORD's prayer to understand that we are to pray to the Father and in Jesus' name.) We have been astounded at his answers. We ask for specific things for ourselves and for others--understanding, answers to questions, comfort etc.--and he literally speaks through his word and through 'coincidences' (which aren't really coincidences).
YHVH is faithful to his word. He promised that if we called on his name he would answer. He meant it literally. No, we don't deserve that privilege yet he gave it nonetheless. I challenge you to pray to YHVH in Yeshua's name and through the power of the Holy Spirit and see if you notice a closer walk with our Creator.
Categories: theology in the raw