On this Halloween weekend, I hesistate to mention that I've read (and quite enjoyed) the entire Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. However, to illustrate my thought for today, I will mention just one little part.
Throughout the series, it is evident that the wizard world lives in such fear and awe of the evil Lord Voldemort that they dare not even speak his name. Only when absolutely necessary, he is referred to as "you-know-who." To speak his name would be disrespectful, wrong and worthy of extreme consequences.
Now stick with me here. In the context of what I am writing I'm sure you will see that I am in NO WAY equating the evil villain of a fictional series to our awesome, holy God. It is the attitude of reverence I want to address, and I find something similar when studying the names of God.
The Israelites in post-exilic times considered the name Yahweh so sacred that it was not pronounced. Instead they substituted Adonai. By the 6th and 7th centuries the vowels of Adonai were combined with the consonants YHWH to remind the synagogue reader to pronounce the sacred name as Adonai. From this came the artificial word Jehovah. They were so careful not to speak such a precious, holy name. The name Yahweh was hallowed as it was the name by which they related personally to God. It was the name God Himself gave Moses at his "burning bush" experience.
It puts into new perspective the command written in Exodus 20:7 "You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name." Is the mention of His Name so precious to you that hearing it misused turns your stomach? Do you cringe when you hear His name said flippantly or as an expression of frustration or anger? I must admit, I haven't always cringed as I've fallen victim to desensitivity, but after my own "burning bush" experiences with my God over the past couple of years, His Name has become so precious to me that upon hearing God's name in these ways I sometimes find myself gasping like my mother.
Yesterday, on Halloween Sunday, the college praise team led us in singing the words "Yahweh, Yahweh, Holy is Your Name." I struggled to hold my conservatively-Baptist-trained hands to my side as I thought about the Name above all Names and the oh-so-personal and intimate moments I've shared with my Creator God. He is Yawheh!
"Our Father, which art in Heaven HALLOWED be thy Name." - Matt. 6:9