The Name of the Lord; November 16, 2021

Leviticus 22:32-33 “Do not profane my holy name. I must be acknowledged as holy by the Israelites. I am the Lord, who makes you holy and who brought you out of Egypt to be your God. I am the Lord.”

One thing we need to realize in reading this is that every time the English (or the Japanese) says “Lord,” it is actually the covenant name of our Creator, Yahweh. He is pounding it home to the Israelites, because they were used to all the gods of Egypt and were entering into the land of the Baals and Ashtoreth, the gods of Canaan. This is the “holy name” He is talking about. We have trouble relating to that because we are in a supposedly monotheistic society, and our idols don’t go by special names. In English, using “God” or “Christ” or “Jesus” as an expletive became so common that it lost its sting, and now people feel they have to use “the f-word” to actually be heard. It’s very pathetic, really. To use Paul’s expression, people’s consciences have been seared, and they are desensitized to what they are saying and doing. (1 Timothy 4:2) The devil does all he can to make us as unholy as possible, and too often we cooperate. We can’t make ourselves holy, but it is the height of foolishness to rebel against the God who makes us holy. Jesus even started the prayer He taught us with, “May Your name be acknowledged as holy.”

I don’t think I would go to the place taken by some in reaction to all this of typing “G_d,” rather than writing that out. Obviously, I even write out the covenant name when called for. However, I must not put the lie to what I proclaim every time I pray the Lord’s Prayer. I am not particularly familiar with the names of all the various “incarnations of the Buddha” in Japanese Buddhism, much less all the names of the “8 million gods” of Shinto, but that’s not an issue. The name I am to proclaim, and acknowledge as holy by my words and deeds, is that of Jesus Christ my Lord. As Paul wrote to the Philippians, “Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:9-11)

Father, I don’t often think about this issue. Help me operate in the holiness You have provided for me in Christ, particularly since for many people in this city I am something of His “public face.” May my life cause people to acknowledge You as holy and repent of their rebellion against You, for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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