What’s in a Name?

| 12 August 2020

My introduction to Emmanuel Faith was sometime in the late 1990’s. I was a youth pastor at a church in Littleton, CO, taking the missions course Perspectives. The guest speaker was Harry Larson, Global Outreach Pastor from EFCC at that time. I recognized right away that Harry was a good communicator, with a lot of stories to equip and inspire toward Christian service and world evangelism, but the thing I remember most was what Harry taught us about the nature and name of God. Harry asked the class if we knew God’s name. Many names were proffered by the students, Yahweh, El Shaddai, Adonai, Elohim, and Jehovah to name a few. I don’t remember Harry dismissing those as wrong per se, but he waited hoping for more from us and when the more that he was looking for didn’t come, he offered us God’s name. He explained that it is the longest record of God’s name revealed directly from God to Moses at Moses’ time of need.

In Exodus 33, God promises to declare his name to Moses because Moses boldly cries out to God “Show me your glory!” The next day and in the next chapter it happens. As God passes over Moses, in Exodus 34:5-7 he proclaims his name.

“Then the Lord came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed his name, the Lord. And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, ‘The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.’”

Harry explained that God’s name isn’t just the first word repeated YHWH, but the whole proclamation. The name of the Lord is also who the Lord is and what the Lord does. The glory of God is revealed in God’s nature; compassionate, gracious, slow to anger and abounding in love and faithfulness, forgiving and also punishing. For Moses, getting to know and experience the profoundness of God inspired him to be the leader he needed to be. 

Has the Lord’s presence in your life been inspiring lately? Spend some time today after you read Exodus 33 praying and meditating on God’s character. 

Pastor John Riley
Junior High Ministry