As we start the new year, it is good to remember that God is with us, all the time, with every breath that we take. Literally… I was reminded of this once again when a friend on FaceBook posted an article that I have seen before on the Hebrew name of God.
Originally, when Moses asked God what His name was, God’s response was YHWH – what we would pronounce as “Yahweh.” To be sure, this is referred to as the tetragrammaton – four Hebrew letters that represent the name of God. However, since the second century or so, the word Adonai or Elohim has been substituted as it was forbidden to utter the sacred name of God. Every once in a while, you may even see “JHWH” or “JeHoWH” which we refer to as Jehovah.
In fact, scribes who even dared to write the four letters had to break their pencil and throw it away. As strange as this may seem to the Christian population, it was a very serious sign of respect for God. Mankind was not worthy to actually write, let alone utter, the name of God.
Throughout the years, vowels have been added to make it easier to pronounce. The word became YaHWeH… and in the original Hebrew the name of God translates into the words, “to be.” This makes sense because God refers to Himself as “I AM.” Even later in the life of Jesus, He answers questions about His identity by saying, “I AM.” Another point for Jesus declaring Himself to be God – the great “I AM.”
In the Christian Bible, we use the word “LORD” (in all caps) to refer to YHWH… appearances of the word “Lord” (upper case and lower case) means “master.” So, whenever we read our Bibles, we should be aware of when the word LORD appears.
What most of us never learn is that the original YHWH (all consonants) really constitutes breathing sounds. The “YH” represents inhaling, the sound you make when you breathe air in… and the “WH” constitutes the sound you make when you exhale…
So each of us, as the history goes, has the name of God pass our lips with every breath that we take. A newborn baby utters the name of God as they inhale their first breath. Even atheists can’t avoid speaking the supreme name of God with every breath they take… isn’t that interesting?
And, of course, when we breath our last, we exhale the name of God in our final moments. For believers, we are then escorted to heaven in the presence of angels – one of the many ministries they oversee for the kingdom of heaven.
So, every moment that we are alive, the name of God is passing our lips… whether we are awake, or asleep… young or old… it doesn’t matter – every breath signifies the name of God.
Our verse for tonight is from the psalms. In Psalm 34, a psalm of David, he starts with the words, in Psalm 34:1-2, “I will extol the LORD at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. My soul will boast in the LORD; let the afflicted hear and rejoice. Glorify the LORD with me; let us exalt his name together.”
Notice that he is referring to YHWH, as LORD is all upper case. And David makes a point of saying the praising God will always be on his lips… My encouragement this evening is that God wants to be in community with us and wants His name on our lips every moment of our lives. My prayer is that we will start off this year of 2024 by recalling the name of God more frequently and will come to depend on Him – just as we depend on the air that we breathe every moment of our lives. Have a great day in the LORD, grace and peace…