Summary: Holiness, God's Presence, Our Words & Witness
May 6, 2018
Exodus 3:13-15 (p. 40)
I spent 5 days in Central Baptist Hospital when I was born without a name. I was baby boy Burdette. It wasn’t that there was anything wrong with me…It was simply that my mom and dad couldn’t agree on what to name me.
My dad had it figured out…He was raised in South Carolina and one of his heroes was Frances Marion…a fighter during the Revolutionary War…(Mel Gibson’s “The Patriot” is based on his life.) He was nicknamed the “Swamp Fox” by his enemies because of his ability to hide there.
My dad thought it was an amazing name for his youngest son…I like the name “Frank” fine, but can you imagine 1st grade as “Frances Marion Burdette.”
Well, my mom could, and she hated the thought of it as much as my dad loved it…she just couldn’t do it.
So, my amazing mother, who has a psychology degree from the University of Kentucky, decided when my Dad’s best friend…Richard Mays and his wife Lou came to visit she would use it to her advantage… “Jack, I really like the name Richard…how ‘bout you.”
My dad folded like an old lawn chair and I left the hospital no longer Baby Boy Burdette, but Richard Allen.
Names are important. They have meaning…according to “Facebook app” mine means “Courageous Leader.” I don’t know about that…but I like it better than “Dummy who likes fried chicken.”
I bet everyone here this morning has some idea what your name means…or where it comes from…some thought was put into the thing that would identify you for your whole life.
[Stand up for a minute…find someone (not related) behind you or around you and share your name with each other and where it came from…not the encyclopedia version…The Reader’s Digest version.]
In the Bible, names were very important and often God would change people’s names… “Jacob” the Deceiver became “Israel” which means “God Rules.” (Pretty good trade, huh?) Jesus would look at Cephas…(Simon Peter) and say your name shall not be “Petra” from “Pebble” to “Rock.”
Names become more than just words…they become associated with who we really are, our personality, our character…Think about it…you don’t meet a lot of people named “Adolf” or “Jezebel,” or “Saddam.”
So as Moses stands in the presence of God, shoeless before His Holiness, He asks God His name.
“God you’re sending me to the Israelites to tell them you’re going to deliver them from slavery…but suppose they ask me “Who sent you…What’s God’s name? What do I tell them?”
And God says “I AM who I AM.” This is what you are to tell them, “I AM” sent me to you.
In Hebrews it’s the word “Yahweh.”
Isaiah 42:8 says, “I AM the Lord (Yahweh) that is my name. I will not give my glory to another, nor my praises to graven images.”
This name became so sacred to the Hebrews they refused to say it out of fear of mispronouncing it…when they spelled it they would leave out the vowels spelling it Y.H.W.H…Just in case they misspelled it! It’s used 6,800 times in scripture…3 times more than “Elohim.”
Yahweh literally means “To Be” “To Live.” He is the self existent One…Always present and engaged. The only time the Hebrews would pronounce His name out loud was on the Day of Atonement…once a year.