His Name Alone is Holy

His Holy NameFrom my first two postings about God’s Name, we know that YHVH [Yehovah] wants us to know and speak His name, and that His name (Yehovah) has been written in Hebrew over 100 times in ancient Scripture texts. I have given examples of how we can use His name when we are speaking healing, deliverance, or blessings of any kind over another person. I have also explained how the pronunciation of His Name has been hidden from the majority of Jews and Christians for more than 2000 years.

What I have not talked about yet is why we are to treat His name as holy and to revere it above all else. In Psalm 138[ESV]: David says to YHVH: “I bow down toward Your holy temple and give thanks to Your name for Your steadfast love and Your faithfulness, for You have exalted above all things Your name and Your word.” The key is that David says YHVH has exalted His name and His word above all else – if we want to focus on what is most important to Abba, then we need to listen to what He says about exalting His name.

There are also many scriptures that talk about the holiness of YHVH’s name: “…all flesh shall bless His holy name Forever and ever.” (Ps 145:21); “…He has commanded His covenant forever: holy and awesome is His name.” (Ps 111:9); “Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name!” (Ps 103:1); “For our hearts shall rejoice in Him, because we have trusted in His holy name.” (Ps 33:21); “Let them praise His great and awesome name — He is holy.” (Ps 99:3). So what exactly does holy mean in this context? The Hebrew word for holy (kadosh) actually means “set apart”, and we know from Scripture study that YHVH (His name and His word) is set apart from everything else in the universe, just as David implied in the Psalm 138 quote from the previous paragraph. YHVH also wants us to be set apart from the world, as we are told by Him to be holy as He is holy (Lev 11:45, quoted in 1 Pet 1:16).

My favorite example of the holiness of God’s name [Yehovah] is the display of His awesome power in I Kings 17-18. In the beginning of this story, YHVH is prophesying to Ahab through Elijah that there will be a drought in the land for three years, until YHVH speaks His word to end the drought (I Kings 17:1). During this time, there are signs and wonders to confirm that YHVH is working through Elijah, such as the miracle of the widow’s food lasting through the drought and her son being raised from the dead (I Kings 17:8-24).

When Elijah returns to confront Ahab and his false prophets of Ba’al and Asherah, he knows he can trust in the name of YHVH to overcome the evil powers, and to prove to them who is the true God [Elohim], Creator and Master of the universe. Although Ahab and Jezebel and their warriors had been seeking to kill Elijah, he now confronts his enemies boldly and challenges their false god to a duel (I Kings 18:21). He compels them to make a decision as to whom they will serve: YHVH or Ba’al. This is a decision we must all make at some point in our lives, because there is no middle ground – either we serve the world (Satan and his kingdom of darkness) or the true God, YHVH.

In the familiar story of the confrontation between good and evil, Ba’al and YHVH, there is no contest of course, and YHVH is victorious. Elijah tells the false prophets to call on the name of their gods, and says that he will call on the name of his God (I Kings 18:24). Working through Elijah, YHVH then graphically demonstrates that God’s name is unique and set apart (kadosh – holy) from everything else in the universe. Elijah first built an altar and dedicated it to YHVH, then asked YHVH to show the people that he was the only true God, and prayed that He would turn their hearts back to Him (I Kings 18:46-37). YHVH then answered Elijah’s prayer convincingly by sending fire from heaven to burn up not only the wood and the sacrificial bull, but also the water in the trench around the altar (I Kings 18:38).

The response of the people was to immediately prostrate themselves on the ground and start worshipping the true God, Yehovah: “Now when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, “The LORD, He is God! The LORD, He is God!” (I Kings 18:39). The people’s declaration is even more powerful when translated directly from the Hebrew, as they said: Yehovah, He is the God [Elohim]; Yehovah, He is the God [Elohim]. Since they had previously been worshipping many (false) gods, the key point of their declaration is that Yehovah is the one and only true God of the universe, set apart (holy) from the world and all other false gods!

There is power in the name Yehovah. His name is to be revered and praised, just as He is revered and praised. We can trust in Yehovah and in His name to protect us and provide for us. We can call on His name with confidence, and He wants us to be set apart from the world as He is set apart (holy).

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