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What's in a Name?

"If you call me at the restaurant and you don't hear anything when someone picks up the phone, just start talking. It's me."

When I was a student in clinical voice disorders, my client stuttered. His greatest fear was saying his own name. Imagine that! Unfortunately for him, his father had the same first name, and it was the first word in the name of the family business. Every time he answered the phone in the restaurant, he froze. Poor Tony! Afraid of his own name!

Our God is very concerned about His name. He knows that a name can define power. But it can also create limitations. That’s why He said, “Call me Yahweh… I Am” (Ex. 3: 13-14).

He’s so beyond our human ability to grasp, that it’s impossible to really define our God.

And His power is so great that it could immobilize us with fear just at the thought of approaching Him. In the Old Testament He certainly gave enough evidence of the reality of how dangerous it was to get too close to Him. I’m thinking of Mount Sinai when Moses had to veil his face to the people because he had been in God's presence (Ex. 34:29-35). His glowing skin frightened them.

Even more fearful was the thought of what would happen if someone touched the Ark of the Covenant, God's holiest reminder of His great power that traveled with the Israelites. Instant death! (2 Sam. 6:6-7)

I guess that’s why the name of Jesus is such a welcoming sound to me…. Savior! He's also Immanuel… “God With Us!” That doesn’t even cover Wonderful, Counselor, and Prince of Peace. He’s also Mighty God and Everlasting Father (Isaiah 9:6). Let’s not forget just how powerful He really is!

But thank goodness that power is clothed in comfort and accessibility.

I don’t have to stutter in fear at the sound of His name. I don't have to cower in terror.

I am free to cry out to His name in times of frustration when I don't understand the ways of this world.

I can breathe it out in humble prayer as I seek His forgiveness.

And I shout it out in joyful praise, recognizing my Lord Jesus as my Redeemer and my Savior!

Leaving my guilt at the cross,



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