“For the Lord will not forsake his people, for his great name’s sake, because it has pleased the Lord to make you a people for himself” – 1 Samuel 12:22 (ESV)
What is in a name? Especially the name of God? Foremost it is the guarantee of an unbreakable promise. When God promised ancient Israel those with faith believed them and trusted in their fulfillment. Samuel was the last prophet/judge of God’s chosen people. The people demanded to have a king and God chose Samuel to anoint Saul to be Israel’s first king. Demanding a king, the people rejected God as their true King. As King Saul is crowned, the people are warned to not forget their God and to serve, obey and not rebel against His commandments. God’s promise that He will not forsake His people is renewed. He established the promise on His name, “for His great name’s sake.” God’s promises to us are also given to us in His name. That means the promises are unbreakable and even when we disobey, God keeps His promises. God promised to make Israel a people for Himself based on His name. His promises hold true no matter how far the people stray. We have the same promise. All faith believers are given promises of God for salvation, which include justification, sanctification, glorification. God will be with us forever.
“For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense will be offered to my name, and a pure offering. For my name will be great among the nations, says the Lord of hosts.” – Malachi 1:11 (ESV)
As we read the Bible we find that God’s name is to be taken (used) seriously and with much honor. So it is that one of the Ten Commandments instructs us to not take or use the name of the LORD God in vain. What God does for us and for all humans is all done for His name’s sake. It is for His great name’s sake that God will not forsake His people – that is us who believe. Even when we indulge in our owl pleasures and when we forsake the straight path He lays out for us. Even when we trust in our own understanding instead of God and turn from God’s commands in disobedience, He remains faithful to us because he has promised to and He does this for His name’s sake AND that He might make known to His mighty power. That was why God opened the Red Sea for the Children of Israel to cross on dry land as they exited Egypt (Psalm 106:8-9). It is difficult to break the habits we’ve had for years invoking God’s name uselessly but God’s name is who He is and He is worthy of honor and glory.
“For the Lord will not abandon His people on account of His great name, because the Lord has been pleased to make you a people for Himself.” – 1 Samuel 12:22 (NASB)
As we study the words and acts of God, we discover that He placed a great amount of importance on how we treat His Name. Everything God does is done for His great name’s sake. The name of God is above all names ever for His name has been from before time. Whatever we think, say, and do reflects how important God’s name is to us. In our verse today, the children of Israel after having had God as their ruler and King and administered by God’s appointed judges and prophets, we now jealous of the ways of the godless nations around them had Kings. They wanted a King too. They demanded Samuel appoint a King for them. Once they had their King, they quickly forgot how God had cared for them, even when they strayed into idolatress pagan worship. But God chose Israel and his decedents to be His people. God promised in an unbreakable covenant to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Israel) that He was their God and would care for them. Because of that promise it was for His Great Name that God keep His promises. God name is why He can’t break a promise.
“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.’” – Ex 3:14. (ESV)
Moses was confused. He was tending the sheep and goats in the wilderness for his father-in-law. It had been 40 years since he fled from Egypt and his favored position. On Mt. Horeb he comes across a bush on fire but not consumed by the fire. He approaches to investigate. God calls out his name, “Moses, Moses”. So much to learn here but our promise today is one God made his Name. He is sending Moses back to Egypt with a massive job to do. Moses lacks confidence. He knows names are important so he asks God who he is to say sent him on this mission. Who he will tell the Israelites, has sent him to lead them out of Egypt when they ask what God’s name is. Moses asks “They’ll want to know under what authority I have come back.” God tells Moses His name. “Say…I AM who I AM has sent me to you.” It is the verb “to be” and spelled out in Hebrew as “Yahweh.” It is a name that is a promise. God is and always has been. In English Bibles we use ‘The LORD.’ Older versions use Jehovah.*
* * *
*The making of the name Jehovah.
There was no name ‘Yehowah’ or ‘Jehovah’ at the time God met with Moses in the wilderness. His name was I AM which in Hebrew becomes the four consonant name YHWH and when pronounced, it needed vowel sounds to voice it as Yahweh. Hebrew often did not use vowels for certain words but had pronunciations and when written out vowels were used. When God gave the Children of Israel the Ten Commandments, the third commandment was “You shall not take the name of YHWH your God in vain for YHWH will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.” The Jews over time were so concerned with possibly slipping up and accidently saying the name YHWH in vain they refused to ever say it or even write it. It was overly cautious because infractions of the law required so much in sacrifices and vows to wipe their slate clean. Forgiveness for sins required proper and fitting sacrifices as well as behaviors.
The Masoretes were a group of Jewish scribes who were guardians of the written law and helped preserve the text of the Old Testament Scriptures. They eventually developed notes on the text based on Jewish traditions. The word Masorete comes from the ancient Hebrew word for “bond,” used to refer to the Jews’ obligation to keep covenant with God. Masoretes, who from about the 6th to the 10th century worked to reproduce the original text of the Hebrew Bible, replaced the vowels of the name YHWH with the vowel signs of the Hebrew words Adonai translated “Lord” or Elohim translated “God”. Thus, the artificial name Jehovah (YeHoWaH) came into being. Although Christian scholars after the Renaissance and Reformation periods used the term Jehovah for YHWH, in the 19th and 20th centuries biblical scholars again began to use the form Yahweh. Early Christian writers, such as Clement of Alexandria in the 2nd century, had used a form like Yahweh, and this pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton was never really lost. Other Greek transcriptions also indicated that YHWH should be pronounced Yahweh.
“ O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.” John 17:25-26 (ESV)
The last meal Jesus had with His disciples was His last Passover meal. He concludes his prayer with a call to the Righteous Father. The word translated “righteous” here doesn’t occur often in John’s Gospel. It’s significant as it’s His praise of the Father’s work of revelation. God our Father is right (righteous) and the world is in the wrong (“the world does not know You”). Jesus has known, and revealed the Father, and continues as Christians follow His example. The essence of God is love. Jesus revealed the Father and His love to the world in His own death and resurrection. And the Father made known His love for the Son by raising Him to glory. Jesus’ purpose in revealing the Father was that Christians would continue to grow in that love, that the Father’s love for the Son may be in them, and to enjoy the personal presence of Jesus in their lives and “I in them. Jesus has four petitions for believers: preservation (John 17:11), sanctification (John 17:17), unity (John 17:11, 21–22), and participation in Jesus’ glory (John 17:24). This prayer is answered every day with the conversion of each lost soul.
“He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name,” John 1:11-12 (NASB)
Our verse and promise today may be familiar to many but is also may be new to others. The Apostle John tells us what happened when Jesus Christ came to live as a human on this earth. As many as received Him⸺take notice John does not say dogma, creed, myth, but a person. This person in the previous verse is identified as the creator of everything that exists. Christ is the Son of God and He brought the world and all creatures into being, they were His own. This is not limited to Israel but it is Israel who represented the world which Christ came to. Our promise is in verse 12. The expression “as many as” amounts to “whosoever” whether Jew or Gentile. It might be rendered “as many of them,”⸺of those He came to. As many as did accept him; as many as acknowledged Him; and welcomed Him as the Light which enlightens every one of us; as many as have embraced him by a living faith in his name, to them he gave—it is ever a gift of God’s sovereign grace—the right, the authority, to become children of God.
Thanks in part to: A Living Daily Message From The Words of D. L. Moody selected by Emma Moody Fitt, Copyright, 1900, by Fleming H. Revell Company, now in public domain.
“Indeed, while following the way of Your judgments, Lord, We have waited for You eagerly; Your name, and remembering You, is the desire of our souls. At night my soul longs for You, Indeed, my spirit within me seeks You diligently; For when the earth experiences Your judgments, The inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.” Isaiah 26:8-9 (NASB)
As the days on the calendar of this year tick off one by one, the favorite pastime of the media is to fill their time with memories of the year. This year we may find this activity less enjoyable than it has been in past years. For those of us who have put our trust and faith in Jesus Christ, we can always count of the blessing of remembering that He has been with us on this rocky path. It is wonderful to have close fellowship with our Lord. This was the prophet Isaiah experience and he writes about it in today’s verse. As we walk with the Lord we find that He satisfies the deepest desires of our heart. Those desires are those which come from Him and they are pure and good. When God created human beings He wanted to have fellowship with His creatures. And God made us so that we would desire to be close to Him. So we find true satisfactions when we are close to Him. We are able to say that our inner being yearns for God night and day. Isn’t that a comforting promise we have been given today?