trusted online casino malaysia
Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.

Calling on God's Name

What name?

Genesis 4:25-26 (ESV)

And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and called his name Seth, for she said, “God has appointed for me another offspring instead of Abel, for Cain killed him.” To Seth also a son was born, and he called his name Enosh. At that time people began to call upon the name of the LORD.

God has a name and it’s not “the LORD.” In Hebrew, his name is spelled YHVH (yode, hey, vav, hey.) This is God’s personal name, known as the Tetragrammaton.

We don’t know how this is pronounced because of two rules in Hebrew grammar. First, all the vowels in Hebrew are written as dots and dashes around the letters, called “pointing.” The letters are all consonants. Most Old Testament manuscripts are unpointed.

Second, all four letters in the Tetragrammaton can be silent. The sound of a “yode” can either be a “Y” or silent, taking on only the pointed vowel sound. The sound of a “hey” can be “H” or just the vowel sound. The “vav” can be a “V” or just the vowel sound.

So, the pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton can only be guessed at and people tend to deliberately guess wrong because the third commandment prohibits misusing God’s name. Germans substitute “W” for “V” and “J” for “Y” adding to the confusion. Thus, the pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton ranges from “Yahweh” to “Jehovah” – all for the same word. Most Bible translators just use “the Lord” to be safe.

But that ruins the feel of some beautiful passages. In today’s reading, people started calling on God’s name. This means they were speaking it directly – not mispronouncing it. In the same way, Ruth and Naomi use God’s name in conversation (cf., Ruth 1:8, 9, and 17). There’s noting irreverent about that.

One way to maintain the proper feel of a verse, while respecting God’s holiness, is to say the word “Adonai” whenever you see “the LORD” in the text. (Adonai is the Hebrew word for Lord.) At that time people began to call upon the name of Adonai. Some Jewish translations do this.

To an English speaker, Adonai sounds like a name. That retains the beauty of the passage.

If the LORD really is our lord, most of our prayers should focus on what we’re to do for Him, not on what He’s to do for us. As JFK might say, “Ask not …”

It’s OK to ask the LORD for favors; it just shouldn’t be all the time. Most of the time should be spent in praise and in trying to discern what He wants us to do.

Seeking His will for you is seeking your destiny. That’s exciting.

The weekly study guides, which include discussion questions, are available for download here:

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

Subscribe to Ailbe Newsletters

Sign up to receive our email newsletters and read columns about revival, renewal, and awakening built upon prayer, sharing, and mutual edification.