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Blessed Be The Name

by Skip Heitzig |
Last week, you may have seen the contestants on television's "American Idol" singing the wonderful worship song, "Shout to the Lord." You probably noticed that they changed the first line of the song from "My Jesus, My Savior" to "My Shepherd, My Savior." I don't know if they were afraid of offending someone, or if they were simply embarrassed to use His name.

Names are important. In fact, they are sacred, and shouldn't be misused. In biblical times, people equated a person's name with their character--it represented their nature, authority and reputation. To say you were doing something in the name of another person was to say you had their authority. And the names given to children often reflected the hope of the parents. For example, the name Judah means "praise." And sometimes the name reflected something about the circumstances of their birth. Hannah prayed fervently for a son, and when God granted her request she named the boy Samuel, which means "God hears."

There are 300 names for God in the Hebrew Bible, and they each reveal a different aspect of His infinite character. The name Elohim, used 2,000 times in the Bible, means "the strong and faithful one." The name Adonai means "the Lord," and it describes the master/servant relationship of God to us.

The third of the Ten Commandments warns us not to use the Lord's name in vain. This usually means not to use it in a curse--calling upon God to damn something, for instance. But using His name in vain also means to use it lightly, in a frivolous way.

The name of Jesus is also used in vain today, frivolously or as a curse. But did you know it comes from the Hebrew name Jeshua, which means "God is salvation"? That really represents the nature of God. It's God who saves us, and not anything in ourselves. That's cause for a celebration!

So we shouldn't use it lightly, but we shouldn't be ashamed of it, either. Jesus tells us, "If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels" (Luke 9:26).

Even though American Idol left out the name of Jesus, I'm sure most people knew who they were singing about. As Christians, we shouldn't be ashamed of the name of Jesus. Instead we should always be bold in using His name. And we should be bold in proclaiming the promise that His name represents--God is our salvation.

In His strong love,

Skip Heitzig

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The Daily God Book: Through the Bible in 365 Days

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