You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not acquit anyone who misuses his name.
What is your favourite name or title for the Triune God and why? Usually, names say something about who and how people are. There are about 80 different names for God in the Bible, mostly in the Old Testament. Each name depicts a specific attribute and essence of God. God appears to be more like a verb than a noun. God’s names often refer to what God has done and what God can do. So, God’s names can be strongly connected to the times, situations and settings, when they are used.
The prime name of God is YHWH, an expression of the eternal and unutterable character of God. Today, many people use God’s name in situations of shock, surprise and overwhelming: somewhat calling God into their situation in a consumerist and irreverent manner. Other people use God to make promises, many of which are not only lazy and cunning but also alien to God’s will. The biggest issue to me is when one uses God’s name for personal gain or fame. God’s name has been misused and misappropriated since the creation. In Acts 19.13, the seven sons of a Jewish High priest named Sceva, tried to use Jesus’ name to cast out evil spirits, like Paul did. Yet, they end up being mauled by those spirits. They did not know that Paul used Jesus’ powerful name out of an active relationship, intimacy, submission, reverence and cooperation.
More than just a noun, God’s name may be used like an incarnate verb in praise, selfless-service, prayer, petition and thanksgiving. We could do so, expecting God’s attributes to be embodied around us, for the expression and growth of the Kingdom. ‘God’ is like a relational, powerful and incarnate verb. If ever used, then to God alone be the glory.
El Shaddai, You are almighty and sovereign Adonai, at Your name every knee bow in heaven and on earth. Elohim, thank you for making us wonderfully in Your image El Roi, thank you for saving us Jehovah Jireh, we lay our needs and longings at Your feet Jehovah Rohi, be our shepherd in this pandemic wilderness Jehovah Shalom, grant us peace, passing all understanding Emmanuel, be in our waking, working and resting. Amen