My mom was my fifth grade Language Arts/English teacher. She wasn’t my home room teacher, but I went to her classroom with my friends everyday for an hour or so. I have to say it was a little weird at times. Mostly it was cool, but years later, my friend in college asked me, “What did you call your mom when you had her as a teacher in fifth grade?”
I stared blankly.
I tried to recall.
Then I had a realization: I always made sure I was in a situation I didn’t have to call her anything!
I’d wait in line quietly and not need to get her attention. She’d call on me. I’d wait for her.
Looking back, it’s pretty humorous actually. I didn’t want to call her “Mom” in front of my friends, even though they knew she was my mom. Come on, call attention to it? No thanks! When they’d talk about her, I’d just nod or play along and listen. I never asked them questions about homework in her class, because I’d have to decide on going with “Mrs. Gehrke” (which felt really weird) or “Mom” (already explained that) or “our language arts teacher” (which would’ve been even worse and gotten me more strange looks).
I guess I just decided that she didn’t have a name and I could skim through the year without making it an issue.
(I’m chuckling to myself writing this, because it’s just so funny now.)
I’ve grown as a person since being 10 and so has my confidence, but that was my reality in 1990.
As I was listening to the song for this week, it made me think about the story when Moses met God in a burning bush.
The story is recorded in Exodus chapter 3:
13 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.
“I am who I am” is written in Hebrew as YHWH. If you add the vowels, you get the name Yahweh. It is the name above all names that God gave Himself. It is a name that implies the mystery of God, the power of His presence and His eternal nature.
I find that if I take a slow breath, close my eyes and quietly say, “Yahweh.” The name just seems to resonate with glory and majesty. It’s almost as if all creation bows to it.
It was considered so powerful by God’s people in the Old Testament, that they often replaced it with “Adonai” which means “LORD.” They would write YHWH, but they wouldn’t utter it. They believed that even God’s name should be carefully used and treated with deep respect.
My buddies asked me what I called my mom and I chose not to use her name, because I was embarrassed and it was all about me. That was selfish and immature. Nobody would’ve cared. Really.
God’s chosen people decided not to utter God’s name, because it was all about Him. His glory, His power, His majesty. It should not be misused or mistreated. It should be honored and respected.
We live in a time when we should still respect God’s name and not take it in vain. But, we are not separated from God in a burning bush. God’s power and Spirit now live inside us. Jesus died, rose and ascended into Heaven. God the Father sent the Holy Spirit as our helper to dwell inside us as God’s living temples.
The ONE who was, who is and who is to come, lives inside us.
His forgiven children.
Holy is HIS name!
We now live freely to call on God’s powerful name at any time. What a gift that is!
Yahweh by Matthew Ntlele, Steven Furtick & Jane Williams of Elevation Worship
Spirit of Jesus
Living within us
Never to fail or forsake
Heaven inside us
Whispers the sound of your name
Holy holy is the Lord
Worthy to be praised
Filled with your wonder
Here I surrender
Held in your mystery of grace
Calling me closer
Coming alive in your name
Holy holy is the Lord
Worthy to be praised
Fire rising in my soul
All consuming flame
He who was and is to come
Is the one who lives in us
The Great I Am
Lord God. King of Heaven and Earth. The Most High God. Name of Above All Names. Yahweh. We worship You. We call on Your name. We breathe You in and thank You for Your Spirit. Make Your home in us. May we praise Your name and glorify You forever! Amen.
VIDEO – I love this version. It’s all about our voices praising the name of Yahweh. Simple. Beautiful.
We give You our lives. We praise Your name. Yahweh. Yahweh. Yahweh. Amen.