The Lord was His title, His name on formal terms. And Elohim is the Hebrew word for God.
But Yahweh was His personal, most intimate name. The name that revealed God’s character.
Don’t call me Mr., He said. Call me by the name my closest friends and relations use.
To be. (In the state of being here.)
Yes, God is the eternally existent One. Always and everywhere present.
I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob as God Almighty (El Shaddai), but by my name ‘the LORD’ (Yahweh) I was not known to them. – Exodus 6:3
I AM with you, He said to Moses when he asked how to communicate God’s message of deliverance to Pharaoh. Call me, I AM with you. I AM the ever present Helper. Your ever present Helper.
For what great nation is there that has God so near to it, as the Lord our God is to us, for whatever reason we may call upon Him? – Deuteronomy 4:7
Yet… the Jews missed it.
God was telling them, I AM here and I want a relationship with you.
And they missed it. Instead of drawing closer to Him, they drew back.
In their minds, that name was too sacred for everyday use, for ordinary conversation by common people with sunburnt skin and tired, dusty feet. For centuries they held the name Yahweh at arm’s length, washing, and washing some more, before and after writing the name, restraining themselves from speaking the name, much less using the name to address Him personally.
As if a person can speak to God as one person speaks to another…
But in doing so, they missed the point.
And in so doing, they missed out.
The Psalms were written by a young sheep herder, and later by the same man – only then he’d been anointed as a future royal, and was a fugitive running for his life from the current administration. Then over the years, as ruler of God’s people, more songs were composed.
His simple tunes spoke of everyday trials, friends and enemies, mundane tasks, Divine accomplishments on his behalf, the wonders of Creation… framed in beggings and pleadings and hopings for God’s answers to his prayers, as well as offerings of trust, giving God praise even when answers hadn’t come yet. All the while believing God would answer and God would defend His own.
Yet, I’m told we shouldn’t sing about modern everyday trials and accomplishments, or compose our pleadings and wonderings, wrapped in praise? Because our songs aren’t holy like David’s?
The only thing holy about his lyrics is that God allowed them to become Scripture, canonized for our benefit – to give us an example of what everyday praise looks like.
And praise is something God wants us to do.
Sing to the Lord a new song…
Psalm 33. Psalm 40. Psalm 42. Psalm 96. Psalm 98. Psalm 144 and Psalm 149. Isaiah 42. Revelation 5 and Revelation 14.
God is pleased when, out of overflowing adoration from your heart, you weave words with tune (or not), crafting praises unique to you and your circumstances, for others to hear and be encouraged and to learn from.
However, I’m told this is wrong. That modern music isn’t holy, and God is not pleased with 21st century shouts of praise. He only accepts praises from the 19th century and before.
I think we’ve missed the point.
Immanuel. A word meaning God with us.
He is here. God. With you and me.
And His greatest desire is for us to invite Him into the everyday moments of our dirt-smudged, grease-stained, clumsy, stumbling humanity. And then to talk about what He’s doing, write about what He’s doing, sing about what He’s doing, tell others about what He’s doing.
Because God is not just a God of the ancients, not only the God of the Hebrews, not only the God of the early church or the great revivalists of the 1800s – He is the Creator and Sovereign God of every age and every culture, for every individual, right here and right now.
And He made us different. He’s the God of diversity – His invention, not the Liberals’, thank you very much!
In the diversity of humanity, our expressions and responses to His redemption and to His indwelling our hearts and invading our person… our words spoken and written and sung back to Him in gratitude and awe, are welcomed by Him. Loud. Soft. With instruments or without. Whatever.
He just wants us to say, Thank You. To acknowledge Him and praise Him!!!
Like a father or mother who loves and cares for and labors for their children day after day after day. Then one night as they’re tucking the little one into bed, tiny fingers reach up to twist the hair hanging down. And a whispering voice says, You have pretty hair, Mommy, and pretty eyes, and I wouldn’t want any other mommy but you, cuz you’re my mommy and I love you…
And OH, how the mother’s heart melts from sweetness poured out. And OH, how we long to bottle the sweetness and take hold of that most precious moment, and to capture it for the rest of our lives, to be re-played and re-lived and cradled within our hearts for as long as we have breath!
And OH, how foolish we are to think that any mother or father who understands even the most basic form of love, would step back to dissect and analyze and criticize the gift of words generated from a tender and young heart that’s learning to respond in kind to the generous and selfless love of her father and mother.
Think about it.
To be continued…