Daily Lectionary: Jeremiah 33:1-22; Matthew 27:11-32
“Save me, O God, by Your Name, and vindicate me by Your strength. Hear my prayer, O God; give ear to the words of my mouth.” (Introit for 2nd Last Sunday: Psalm 54:1-2)
Preaching exclusively on the Psalms for the past two years, I am convinced that the whole counsel of God is contained in them. To that end, this psalm does not disappoint. It speaks clearly of the salvation that comes by the LORD’s name. In the name of God is His strength to save those who call upon His name for help.
But what is God’s name? God is what He is, but not His personal name. He is revealed as a God who is One (Deuteronomy 6:4), but often reveals Himself in the plural ”Elohim” instead of the singular ”El”. Is His name singular or plural, then? Does He have a first, middle and last name as we do, or is one name sufficient for our LORD?
God reveals His personal name to Moses at the burning bush. Moses wants to know which god it is that is sending him to rescue the Israelites from Egypt. The Lord answers him, “I AM Who I AM” (Exodus 3:14) “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, `I AM has sent me to you.’” The Hebrew for this personal Name of God is ”Yahweh”, from the verb ”to be”. Yahweh has been, is, always will be, and causes everything that is, to be.
So why don’t we sing hymns or pray prayers with the name ”Yahweh” in them in church? Our pastors don’t use this Hebrew name much in sermons or in Bible classes. If the LORD God saves us by His name, you would think that His name would predominate in our preaching, teaching and worship.
Well, the great I AM, Yahweh, has chosen to reveal His one name to us in an even better, plural fashion. You were saved by your God’s one name given to you in Holy Baptism. You weren’t baptized in the name of Yahweh, but in the name of “Father, Son and Holy Spirit.” To be baptized in the name of the Triune God is to be baptized into the name of Yahweh.
This giving of God’s own personal name to you at your baptism should not be overlooked. For by it, you have been adopted into your heavenly Father’s family from that day forth and forevermore! Just as an adopted child gets a new family name, you, too, get God’s name in baptism. You have this name which is of the Son, Jesus, who died so that you might live in the heavenly family forevermore. You are given this name which is of the Spirit, who called you to faith and keeps you faith-filled all your days.So, this is a pretty powerful name indeed, if
it can totally transform your life from impending death, to dwell with your God forevermore in paradise. You are saved by this name of the Trinity in baptism, and its strength vindicates you as one who is forgiven, your sins washed from you to the cross of Jesus, and his righteousness now credited to your account!
Questions or comments regarding the Reflections may be sent to the Rev. Mark Buetow, Reflections Editor, email@example.com.