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Summary: A message on the name YAHWEH - the Self Existent One

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Hello I Love You

YAHWEH – Exodus 3:1-15

Intro: My full name is Joseph Italo Rodgers. I was named after my German and Italian grandparents. When I was a boy I didn’t appreciate my name b/c some people gave me a hard time about my middle name. Not only was it mispronounced – “I-talo” or “It-alo”, but I had friends who poked fun calling me “eat-a-lot” or “its-a-load.”

Trans: As I thought about my proper name, I was reminded of God His proper name.

Verse: I am the LORD (Yahweh), that is my name; I will not give My glory to another, nor My praise to graven images. Is. 42:8

Trans: Most Bible scholars agree that Yahweh (Jehovah) is God’s proper name and that all of the other names are simply a further description of His character and activity.

Note: The name Yahweh occurs over 6,800x in Scripture and is distinguished by the word LORD (in caps) – 3x more than Elohim. Its derivation is simple – the Hebrew word means – “to be” as in “to live”. In implies that God in His essence is life and that life is found Him alone – He is the self-existent One who is personal and engaged.

Insert: Originally, Yahweh was written w/ 4 consonants and no vowels – YHWH. The Jews considered the name so holy that they wouldn’t pronounce it for fear they’d profane the holiness of God. When they came upon it in their reading they’d refrain from pronouncing it aloud and the only time God’s name was pronounced aloud was once a year on the Day of Atonement. When scribes would copy Scripture, they’d stop and take a bath before writing the name and use a new pen to write this one name and then destroy the pen afterward.

Trans: Wow! This is a far cry from how God’s name is respected today. We’re too casual w/ God’s name. Instead of hesitating to pronounce it, we use it flippantly. It’s part of our slang. Some people use it to curse. The scary part is that the 3rd commandment tells us to never misuse the name of the LORD. That is, we’re not to treat his name as “empty” or “w/out value”. We’re not to attach it to emptiness.

Trans: I think this lack of respect for God’s name stems from our lack of respect for God’s person – too many people treat His name w/out respect b/c they believe God is insignificant in their lives. Their God is too small.

Insert: The trouble w/ many people today is that they have not found a God big enough for modern needs. J.B. Phillips

Note: This may be b/c many people have a disconcerting misconception of God.

They see Him as the resident policeman out to bust them for bad behavior.

They see Him as a grand old man who just winks at their wrong-doing.

They see Him as their holy vending machine or cosmic bellhop.

Trans: Phillips is right. We’ve put “God in a box” and stuffed him into our pockets imprisoning Him behind bars of unbelief and rebellion. We’ve shrunk Him down so much that our ideas about Him are not close to who He is or what the Bible says.

Insert: How big is your box? The size of your box is proportional to your faith.

Trans: It’s time to break God out of our boxes of preconceived ideas and release Him to be the God of our lives instead of the God of our notions. (Read Ex. 3:1-15)


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