Introduction: We continue to exercise our faith by placing an ever-greater value on the name “LORD”: a name first given to the patriarchs who “called upon the name of the LORD”; then to Moses in a far deeper way at the burning bush, but ultimately revealed, in this week’s notes, by the full revelation of God’s glory in the person and work of His Son. May our eyes be opened afresh to the overwhelming value of the Lordship of Jesus Christ in the New Testament.
Monday: read Exodus 3:14; 6:3 and Psalm 68:4. We noted last week that God’s people, out of a fear of misusing the name “LORD,” began to forbid its pronunciation. The result is that the actual vowels used in pronunciation of “LORD” are uncertain today. However, we must not think that true believers lost the comfort of this name or its trustworthy origin in the written word. God preserved the written form of this name in the four consonants YHWH (which scholars pronounce “Yahweh” or “Jehovah”), the same special name “LORD” from the Old Testament. Also, abbreviated forms of this special name survive. One of them forms part of our Scripture reading today: Psalm 68:4 (in the New King James version):
“Sing to God, sing praises to His name; Extol Him who rides on the clouds, by His name Yah, and rejoice before Him.”
Meditate and Pray: Thank God for His providential preservation of His Holy Scriptures, whereby the precious, personal name “LORD” is handed down to us today. As our Westminster Confession, chap. 1, paragraph VIII, puts it: “The Old Testament in Hebrew…being immediately inspired by God, and by His singular care and providence kept pure in all ages, are therefore authentic.” Hallelujah! No wonder Jesus said, “Until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished” (Matthew 5:18). No human error or superstition could erase the great name “LORD” from His word!
Tuesday: read Exodus 3:14 and Matthew 4:7-10. Old Testament translation did not end with Hebrew, but continued into the Greek Old Testament, called “the Septuagint,” a translation recognized as the source of the Greek quotations of the New. How then did the translators highlight the name “LORD” in the Greek OT? After all, the generic word “Lord,” kurios in Greek, can mean merely a nobleman or “lord” or simply a polite address, “sir.” Well, in order to preserve KURIOS for God’s special name, the translators omit the article. It is usually never “The lord,” but simply “LORD” or “Jehovah” – in the New as well as the Old Testament. For example, in the Temptation (Matthew 4:7-10), the first quote from Deuteronomy in verse 7 really reads, “Do not put Jehovah your God to the test” (no article, “the”); and in verse 10, “Worship Jehovah your God, and serve Him only.” In this way, the Gospels in the New obey the rule of the Old Testament, to specially mark the sacred name by not attaching the article to it. It is simply the personal, unchanging name “LORD.”
Meditate and Pray: How our hearts should thrill to hear Jesus, almost perishing with hunger as the “Man of sorrows,” nevertheless proclaiming to Satan’s face His Divine Personhood and Power: “Thou shalt not tempt Jehovah thy God”; “Jehovah thy God shalt thou worship, and Him only shalt thou serve”! Words truly and victoriously identifying our Savior! Even the Devil must bow before our Savior, “Jesus Christ Jehovah”!
Wednesday: read Exodus 3:14 and Luke 2:8-11. At the birth of Christ, the angels were given the very same duty which the Angel of the Lord had fulfilled at the burning bush way back in Exodus 3: to reveal to God’s people the glory of the “LORD.” This is accomplished not just by the glorious praise of the angels in Luke 2:14 (“Glory to God in the highest…”), but also by the announcement of the angel in Luke 2:11: “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord.” Once again, Matthew is careful to record this special name “LORD” without the article! You could translate what the angel proclaims as: “…to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior who is “Messiah-Yahweh”! No wonder the angels burst into song! They recognize their LORD, the Unchanging, Everlasting Yahweh, being born in that manger!
Meditate and Pray: Use the words of this familiar Christmas carol, # 206 (verses 2 & 4), to add new meaning to your thankful prayers to “Jehovah-Jesus”:
Cold on His cradle the dewdrops are shining;
Low lies His head with the beasts of the stall;
Angels adore Him in slumber reclining,
Maker and Monarch and Savior of all!
Vainly we offer each ample oblation,
Vainly with gifts would His favor secure;
Richer by far is the heart’s adoration,
Dearer to God are the prayers of the poor.
Thursday: read Exodus 3:14 and Acts 2:33-38. How did the Apostles prove that their master Jesus was actually “Jehovah” or “Yahweh” and therefore equal to God the Father in Heaven? The answer comes from David’s Psalm 110, quoted by Peter in Acts 2:34-35 in order to prove Jesus’ Ascension to the right hand of the “Lord” in Heaven. In other words, Peter uses this Psalm as proof that the risen Jesus (David’s “LORD”) is now at the Father’s right hand (Acts 2:33). He then concludes with a powerful declaration in Acts 2:36 that Jesus has now been proven to be – not only Christ, but also “LORD”! Because Jesus now rules from Heaven, He has thereby proven Himself to be equal with Jehovah! No wonder the amazed Jews who heard this sermon are “cut to the heart” in Acts 2:37! They realize from Peter’s words that, as a nation, they have put to death the human embodiment of the very “LORD” whom they and all their fathers had worshiped from the beginning! Could there be grace for such a high crime?
Meditate and Pray: Thanks be to God for the gracious offer of forgiveness in Acts 2:38 – given even to those who crucified “Jehovah-Jesus” (Acts 2:23)! Magnify such grace, “to the worst of sinners, with the words of hymn # 428:
Not worthy, Lord, to gather up the crumbs
With trembling hand that from Thy table fall,
A weary, heavy laden sinner comes
To plead Thy promise and obey Thy call.
I am not worthy to be thought Thy child,
Nor sit the last and lowest at Thy board;
Too long a wanderer and too oft beguiled;
I only ask one reconciling word.
One word from Thee, my Lord, one smile, one look,
And I could face the cold, rough world again;
And with that treasure in my heart could brook
The wrath of devils and the scorn of men.
And is not mercy Thy prerogative—
Free mercy, boundless, fathomless, divine?
Me, Lord, the chief of sinners, me forgive,
And Thine the greater glory, only Thine.
Friday: read Exodus 3:14-15 and Acts 16:25-34. Even when imprisoned for their faith in Philippi, Paul and Silas were careful to honor the “LORD,” obeying the spirit of Exodus 3:15, where God had decreed of His name: “This is my name forever, the name by which I am to be remembered.” Therefore, when the Philippian jailor, in Acts 16:30, ignorantly appealed to Paul and Silas, pleading with them as “kurioi” (the plural Greek word which we translate “sirs”), because he thought they had the power to save him after God’s earthquake, they immediately direct his attention away from themselves as “kurioi” to the one Kurios, the “LORD Jesus.” And here the article is used in the Greek. Why? Because, in contrast to the many human “sirs” to whom men appeal for help, Paul and Silas lifted the jailor’s eyes to The “LORD,” the only master, creator and preserver of all. Marvelous!
Meditate and Pray: End the week, with the Philippian jailor and his whole house “filled with joy, because they had come to believe in God” (Acts 16:34), using the words of hymn # 481:
O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s a light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free!
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.