“Hey, Renee, can you come here for a sec?”
I can’t help it. The second my husband says my name, even in such a casual way, I tense up. Hearing him use my full name—not “babe”, not “angel”, not “love” or any of the other pet names I’m used to—makes me feel like a kid in trouble again. Growing up, I lived on nicknames, everything from Sunshine Lady to Sparkplug (it’s a long story) and the only time anyone ever used my actual name—or first and middle name, gulp!—was when I was in trouble. Or when they didn’t like me enough to use a nickname. These days, when meeting new people for the first time, I usually introduce myself as “Renee—but you can call me Nay.”
So when I read Shakespeare’s age-old question “What’s in a name?”, my first thought is, “A lot, Billy ol’ buddy.”
I think God would agree. Names crop up in His Word in a variety of ways—the names people were born with, the names they gave to places, the new names that spelled new chapters in life. Think Saul/Paul, Abram/Abraham, Simon/Peter. Think Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; though they were young Judaic rulers, the latter three are to this day better known by the names given to them in captivity—Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. We’re also told Jesus has been given a name known only to him and the Father, and in the future we will each receive a secret name of equal importance.
With all this emphasis around names in the Scriptures and in our lives, we cannot overlook one name mentioned often and with purpose–over six thousand times. And yet there is a great portion of Christianity that doesn’t know or refuses to use this name, for one reason or another.
The name is Yahweh. It is the name of our Father God.
I heard a teaching once about the sheer relational importance of names—Yahweh’s included. It’s something I connect to personally because of the visceral reaction in me when people use my full name. How much more for our Yahweh God when so many of His children’s tongues are trained not to speak His name. A name He shares with us in His Word over six thousand times!
I certainly felt convicted when I heard that teaching about the importance of Yahweh’s name. Because we of course always want to show Him the respect He’s owed—but sometimes respect is to call someone by the name they go by! What joy it must bring Yahweh when we call the name He gave us, a loving Father sharing such an intimate part of His being. We are told in Scripture that our hairs are numbered and our names known by Jesus and the Father, every individual among us—and we know His.
Now all of us together, let’s call on the name of Yahweh, our Father!