Here's this week's Bible study blog entry for i.ucc!
In Exodus 3:1-15, the name God instructs Moses to use to identify the one who sent him is the subject of scholarly debate, inspirational speaking, signs of respect and perhaps even deliberate vagueness. What else could it be?
A search of several the Bible smarty-pants resources offers quite a few interesting views of ‘the name.’
I AM WHO I AM – related to the Hebrew verb “to be”
Some like to understand it as“I cause it to be”
And I’ve heard the UCC’s Evangelism Minister and Team Leader, David Shoen, describe the name as “I will be what the future requires.”
I love that way of looking at the name.
For many, the name is too sacred to utter or to write. In that case, instead of spelling out Yahweh or YHWH, one utters or writes the name the scribes would have subtexted to show respect for the name, Adonai – or lord. In the NRSV translation of the Bible, you’ll find the places where the respectful term is used for the name when you find the text using all-caps or small caps LORD.
(Something else about the “adonai” subtext. Putting “YHWH” and “Adonai” together gives us the oft-used, but never intended word, “Jehovah.” Interesting, eh?)
I think one of the most inspirational views of the name comes from Rob Bell, author, speaker and Grand Rapids preacher. He suggests that the letters in the name Y H W H are pronounced in very breathy ways, (Yo, Hey, Vah, Hey) and that they sound like the sound a person makes when they are breathing.
God – The name – breath – life
Is the name like breathing for you? What are your thoughts about the name?