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Summary: In a world of broken promises, there’s only one name for you to trust no matter what. The Lord (יהוה), our Triune God, is gracious and faithful. Parts: A. His name guarantees his blessing. B. Their actions fulfill it.

Text: Number 6:22-27

Theme: Yahweh’s (יהוה) Blessing Never Breaks

A. His name guarantees his blessing

B. Their actions fulfill it

Season: Pentecost 1c

Date: May 30, 2010

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Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen. Through this word from God, the Holy Spirit brings us the blessings of the Triune God.

"Then the LORD said to Moses, "Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, ’You shall bless the children of Israel in this way. Say to them:

"The LORD bless you and keep you.

"The LORD make his face shine toward you and be gracious to you.

"The LORD lift up his face toward you and grant you peace.

"When they place my name on the children of Israel, I myself will bless them." (Numbers 6:22-27)

Dear friends in Christ, fellow saints washed clean in the blood of our risen Savior:

So many promises are made; so many are broken. Take a moment to watch this video clip to be reminded of that. Marriage vows, broken. A father’s promise to his son, broken. A politician’s campaign pledges, broken. So many promises, all broken. Who can you trust? Who can you believe in this world of broken promises? Even sincere, honest people can’t always keep their promises.

But in these words of blessing, handed down from the Lord to Moses to Aaron to us -- in these words of blessing, dear friend, you have the promise from the Lord God himself. For you see, God’s blessing is much more than a wish. God’s blessing is his promise of good, the promise of his favor and gifts. His blessing never breaks. For his name guarantees it and their actions fulfill it.

A. His name guarantees his blessing

1. Where is the name /Yahweh/ in the Bible?

Yahweh’s blessing never breaks. But maybe you’re wondering about that name /Yahweh/. It’s in the theme. You see it on the new banner. But where is it in the text? Maybe you’re thinking, "I’ve read the Bible cover to cover, and don’t remember that name for God." You’re right. The word /Yahweh/ does not occur in the NIV or the King James or in many other English translations. For you see, although it’s printed in English letters, it’s a Hebrew word. Now since ancient Hebrew did not write out the vowels, we only know the four consonants for this name. The vowels are guesses. You can see the actual Hebrew letters (יהוה) in the bulletin. Don’t forget to read them right to left. They sound like our Y-H-W-H.

But how do you translate it? It’s not a regular word, but a special name for the one true God. The Hebrew words for /God/ (אֱלֹהִים -- /elohim/) and for /Lord/ (אָדוֹן/ adon/) are used to refer not only to the true God but also to false gods, even to human beings. But the word /Yahweh/ is never used except for the one true God. It is his name by which he has chosen to make himself known. The Israelites did not want to misuse his name in any way. So they substituted a different word rather than pronouncing this one. The might say הַשֵּׁם /ha-shem/ meaning /the Name/ or else אֲדֹנַי /adonai/ meaning /my Lord/.

But how do you translate it? Some took the Hebrew consonant sounds and put vowels to them and came up with the word /Jehovah/. A better guess for the right sounding vowels make the word /Yahweh/. But most English translations follow the Hebrew tradition of not saying the name but substituting the word LORD. But in order to show us that this is not the regular word for /lord/ (אָדוֹן/ adon/) but the special name for the one true God, the translators use all capital letters to write it out. Take a look again at the text from Numbers 6. Note how often you see LORD with all capital letters. That’s /Yahweh/.

2. Why did the one true God use this name to make himself known?

But much more important than how to say it or even how to translate it, is to know what it signifies. Why did the one true God choose it to make himself known? What are we to think when we see that word LORD with all capital letters?

It certainly isn’t the same idea as in the regular word /lord/. When we hear /lord/, we think of someone who has authority to rule, a master. But let’s listen as God himself explains his name, Yahweh, the LORD. There are two very important Scripture passages for us to ponder here.

The first is Exodus 3. The LORD appears to Moses in the burning bush at Mount Horeb to call him to lead the Israelites out of Egypt to Canaan, as he had promised Abraham long ago. When Moses asked what he should tell the people when they ask him the name of the God who sent him, the LORD answers: "I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say the Israelites: ’I AM has sent me to you.’ . . . Say to the Israelites, ’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 by which I am to be remembered from generation to generation" (Exodus 3:14, 15, NIV).

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