What’s really in a name? What does it mean that You have declared unto us God’s name? What does it mean to believe in Your name? What do I have to know about names to really understand things here?
In Hebrew thought, a name is never something that is pulled at random out of a hat and assigned to a person. “The name conveys the nature and essence of the thing named. It represents the history and reputation of the being named. ” (Judaism 101) It’s not just what you call someone; it’s who they are, what they are like, and what they’ve done. “Because a name represents the reputation of the thing named, a name should be treated with the same respect as the thing’s reputation. For this reason, God’s Names, in all of their forms, are treated with enormous respect and reverence in Judaism.” (ibid)
Here’s an interesting thought, “[t]he meaning of Hebrew words are always based on something tangible. Something you can understand through the five senses. ” (Deborah Sexton) I wonder if that applies to You, Lord? Well, let’s just hold that thought and we’ll see if Your other words bring that home today. Right now, I want to think about this name thing.
Your name always represents Your character. It’s who You are. It’s what You are like. It’s what You do and how You act. It is You.
A Hebrew text, Tanchuma, Vahak’heil 1, shared this thought on names, “In life, you discover that people are called by three names: one is the name the person is called by his father and mother; one is the name people call him; and one is the name he acquires for himself. The best one is the one he acquires for himself.” Now, I’m not so sure that the best name is the one acquired on our own. But, that is often the strongest name, the one that represents us most. And of those, You have acquired a name, a reputation that is Your own that You have shown and made known Yourself. And in Your case, it is the best one. Because we call You names, we learn Your characteristics by Your demonstration of Who You are as You make Yourself known to us.
Your name is You. It is Your essence. It brings identity. And not only does it show us You, but it identifies You with us! It relates You to Your people and allows us to be related, to know You, and therefore to make You known.
Now here I’m going to switch to the Good News Bible Translation. “I made You known to them, and I will continue to do so, in order that the love You have for Me may be in them, and so that I also may be in them.” I don’t want to miss this because it is just reverberating through Your words. The King James Version chose the word “declared.” And yes, You told, but You did more than tell; You showed. “Gnorizo” and its root are all “rooted” in “knowing.” Knowing goes deeper than telling. Knowing as You wish us to know goes as far as experiencing for ourselves. It’s one thing for someone to tell us about someone else, but it’s a whole new ballpark when we experience that person for ourselves, when we see Him, when we touch Him. See, even though You are God and You are Spirit, in Jesus You have become tangible. Actually, I think You always were.
In speaking of You, Jesus, John says, “We write to you about the Word of life [that’s You, Jesus], which has existed from the very beginning. We have heard it [You], and we have seen it [You] with our eyes; yes, we have seen it [You], and our hands have touched it [You]. When this life [You] became visible, we saw it [You]; so we speak of it [You] and tell you about the eternal life [You] which was with the Father and was made known to us. What we have seen and heard we announce to you also, so that you will join with us in the fellowship that we have with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.” (1 John 1:103) Well, it certainly appears that You can truly be experienced by the five senses. John expressed You as very tangible. You can be seen. You can be touched. Because in the seeing You and in the touching You, and in the being seen and being touched by You, we are joined in fellowship with You.
See, this is all part of Your prayer for us. You didn’t just pray for us to have eternal life. Yes, You prayed for that. But in Your own words You said that eternal life was knowing You, knowing God. There’s the same root “ginosko” in our previoius Greek word. You, Jesus, came to glorify the Father. All these words swirl around each other like the angels circling Your throne in worship. “Doxazo”, glorify, “acknowledging Him as to His being, attributes and acts.” Vine’s Greek New Testament Dictionary shares this quote, “As the glory of God is the revelation and manifestation of all that He has and is.”
You are the manifestation of God that we can see and touch and comprehend. We heard Your “logos,” Your words. We have been given Your “rhema,” Your words in a way that we can receive them and get hold of them by the power of the Holy Spirit. I really think that every word matters. And Your words matter above all words. And the thing is, You are the First Word. I mean literally. And everything in what we call Your Word is based on You and is there to help us to see, and know who You are.
So, who are You really? That is so hard to describe. And I think it’s hard because we don’t even know ourselves. I mean what do we say when we introduce someone? “This is Sharon, my wife.” Is that all I am? Of course not. I’d rather be introduced as Sharon, child of God, because I think that leaves my identity more wide open. That gives me a glorious beginning, a present, and an eternal future identity that’s all wrapped up in You. And who can describe You fully?
What did You think was important in Your prayer? Who we are depends on our personal knowledge of You. To know You is to be known by You. To know You is to enter into Eternal Life, You. You receive back to Yourself the wonder of all that You are, this is being glorified. It’s like Your light shining back on Yourself and continually making much of You. It’s all about You continually making Yourself known, manifesting Yourself. And as we support You with our lives and thoughts and are supported by You, You allow us to shine back on You and shine from You. We become evidence of the character of God. I resemble the Name. We glorify you by entering into Your holiness which is You. We dedicate ourselves to Your absolute standards.
You prayed that we might be filled with Your joy. And the interesting thing about joy is that this kind of joy comes out of knowing You in the midst of struggles and is learned by experience. This is yet another opportunity to understand and know Your name, Your person. We get to experience being kept and guarded and watched over by You. You make us holy like You. You send us out into the world just like Jesus. And we’ll be one with You and each other in You because of how much we are becoming like You and getting to know the real You and experiencing You.
I could go on and on. But my eyes are getting physically sleepy. The point here of experiencing isn’t that this is one way. Experiencing means doing. Trusting and believing means supporting. Supporting You means showing we are banking everything on Your word, on You, by living according to it, according to You. Then, You show Yourself True and support us back. Because You are True and we were created to shine forth Your Truth, Your Character, Your Name, You! And one of the greatest rewards of this relationship is experiencing the depths of Your love. For as deeply and intensely as You loved Your only begotten Son, You love me that deeply too. Jesus prayed that You would love me as You had loved Him. And not only that, but You asked that the same love that was in You, would be in me.
To experience You is to experience Your love because “God is love.” This is what we get to see and touch. “…[T]he love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” (Romans 5:5) It is shed abroad, it gushes out, runs out, just like the blood of Christ was shed abroad for us on the cross. This same love is flowing in us from You. And because You dwell inside us as believers, nothing can ever come between us while we are in You. “Not height, not depth, not any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Because if I have placed my self IN YOU and You have placed Yourself in me then LOVE dwells in me because it is who You are. You become my identity. You define me. I live by Your words, guard Your words, obey Your words, keep Your words because by It, and in It, and through It all things consist, are held together. So, in You, I am held together by Your love and in Your love and You and Your character are consummated in me. See, in You I have “a current state of moral maturity, moral perfection, or moral completeness lacking nothing.” (sermonindex.net) because it’s imparted from You and You are in me. As I walk in You, as I live my life in You according to You, I am like You. You are love. “Every one that loves is born of God, and knows God.” (1 John 4:7) If I want to know real love, I must know You, because only You know how to love for real. Remember how I said this is what we experience? “And we have KNOWN and BELIEVED the love that God has to us. God is love; and he that dwells in love dwells in God, and God in him.” (1 John 4:16) God’s character cannot be separated from the one who is dwelling in God, who is walking with Him moment by moment. Which leads to this, “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous.” (1 John 5:3) This is faith. It is placing all my weight, all of me to be supported in all of You. It’s made tangible in me by my demonstrating the tangibility of who You are by living out Your Word. I cannot love without walking it out. I have to follow IN Your example, in You.
Lord, I want nothing more than to abound, have Your love pour out of me. I am so grateful for the treasure You have shared with me, that the measureless love with which God loves You, You turned back to me by going to the extent of physically pouring it forth for me on the cross. And it’s not just that I can touch the wound in Your side or in Your hands like You told Thomas he could do. But I can believe by all the evidences that You show me, all the ways You allow me to experience You, that go beyond the physical, and into the depths of my soul. “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17) There is a spiritual hearing that is more valuable than the physical. And by Your love, You offer each one of us the ability to hear and discern Your voice, the voice of Love. But we have to be listening, listening for Your voice in Your word. We have to listen for Your utterances, for Your whisper as we seek You, as we seek to know You. Well, Lord, I’m so glad that You know how to put it all into words, because I don’t. But I’m even more glad that You are continually putting Your word, You, into me. Let me always remain walking and dwelling in You and in Your words that forever wrap me in the arms of love. And in that embrace, may I embrace others in and with the same arms of love.