It was 2009. We were in Malaysia. This was our first time in Asia. Spending 3 months in a place allows one to acquire a good grasp of the surrounding culture. I have come to realize that being in another country for a short time really does not allow enough time for a person to grasp a full understanding of the culture. However, on the other side of the spectrum, being in another country for years can desensitize one from the gravity of spiritual untruth… and that is what contextualization fosters. Therefore, I am grateful it was 3 months we spent in Malaysia. I became aware of the people and learned to enjoy aspects of their culture.
The most significant impact for me was watching the people and their commitment to their religious beliefs. We encountered Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Animists, and of course, Christians as part of the culture. We visited a temple and a mosque in order to see the interaction of the people in their spiritual realm.
The question that burned within me when we returned home was ‘Why do all other religions know the name of their god or gods and we as Christian believers do not know the true name of our God.” I quickly realized something was missing. I remembered that in Judaism the Rabbis teach that His name is so holy we cannot speak it. However, in my spirit I knew something was wrong with that thought process and pattern. My constant request unto ‘our God’ became “I want to know You, the real You, not what man or church has determined but Who You truly are. I want to know YOU, what You say about things and I want to know Your Name!” My journey then began!
I will not go into the details because there is much that took place. Through divine appointments, crossing paths with significant people, reading Scripture without biases, and listening to His Holy Spirit, I discovered that ‘our God’ wants us to proclaim His Name! The enemy’s scheme has been successful…having us call out to The Almighty with a generic word (God) or with titles (Lord) and descriptions (healer, protector, provider, etc) but not His Name. Titles show respect, names show relationship.
We sing songs like “Blessed be the name of our Lord” or “Glory to His name, Glory to His name” but we don’t even know His Name!
Scripture is full of verses, 100s of verses, telling us to praise His Name, to sing to His Name, to glorify His Name, to declare His Name to the nations! How do we do this if we will not speak His Name?
In Exodus 3:15 YHVH tells Moses His Name is forever. The Hebrew word ‘olam’ forever has the meaning of ‘the universe’ or ‘for the duration of the universe’. So that seems to me that knowing His Name was not just for Moses and that time period.
The word God is a generic word. Every religion has a god and each religion believes their god is spelled with a capital “G”. Lord is a title. So not spelling out God or Lord like some do (G-d or L-rd) isn’t bringing any honor to Him… those are generic words; those are not His Name. When I came to the full understanding of the impact of this fact, I was stirred to the core of my being…stirred to change my ways to His ways.
I quickly learned that YHVH is His Name spelled in Hebrew without vowels, which is how you find it in the Hebrew Bible. By the way, YHVH is found something like 6,828 times in the Hebrew Bible. You think ‘our God’ was hiding His name from us? I further learned that because the vowels were not inserted there are several opinions on how His Name is pronounced. In fact, that has even become a controversy. Yehovah, Yahovah, Yahweh, Yahuah are various pronunciations.
For quite a while I called Him Yahweh. I certainly am not a scholar but after some research and listening to others who are scholars, I have come to settle on Yehovah. My spirit leaps joyously each time I declare “Yehovah” or each time I hear someone declare His name.
We are all on a journey and I believe Yehovah is very pleased that so many are searching for truth and returning to know His heart’s desire. Many are responding to the drawing of His Holy Spirit. So, I believe this is a time that grace is extended to us. Yehovah sees we are trying to align with Him and we may not get it all right but as we continue to search, to ask His Holy Spirit, and to remain teachable, He will show us. After all, Yeshua (Jesus of Nazareth as most people know Him) said, “When the Holy Spirit comes He will teach (lead) you in all areas of truth. (John 16:13)
So needless to say, my journey has been exciting. Learning about His Name was just the beginning. My world has been turned upside down in a marvelously good way. My heart’s desire is to align with Him in all aspects. When Yeshua returns, I want Him to find me seeking, searching and learning about the Truth of His Kingdom. I want to be found responding to Yehovah’s Holy Spirit.
Yehovah’s Word is a lamp to my feet. He illuminates my every step because I let Him know that I want to know Him. His Spirit has guided me on this journey. Each step is not careless but carefully measured and taken as Yehovah’s Holy Spirit points me toward knowing Him. His Word is a light unto my way…the good pathway as Jeremiah 6:16 describes. So I, like Apostle Shaul (Paul) says, ‘I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which Yehovah has called me heavenward in Yeshua, our coming Messiah.’