I n 2009, I won the Toastmasters Region 6 International Speech contest. I can legitimately claim the title of Regional Champion. The title is cool, the trophy is sweet, but the nickname someone gave me is really awesome. My coach, mentor and friend, Darren LaCroix, the 2001 World Champion of Public Speaking, calls me “Champ.” I love it not because it reminds me of my winning past, but because it gives me confidence in my promising future. The name changes how I perceive myself.
W e know the power of a name. When we hear certain names, we have predictable reactions, and create certain mental images. Osama Bin Laden. Michael Jordon. Mother Theresa. We love to hear our own name spoken. We create nicknames for people, both to reflect their character and our feelings toward them. My dad called me WauWau. Nobody else called me that. It was a special name only he used for me. Even now, as I speak that name, I feel a precious connection to him.
G od knows the power of a name too. In the bible, names were especially significant. They described a person’s character or declared a statement of circumstances. In the book of Hosea chapter 1 we read that Gomer had 3 children, and all them were given very sad names that reflected Gomer’s very sad circumstances. For example, her youngest was named Lo-Ruhamah which means “not favored.” What a sad name! Sometimes names were changed as a result of a life-altering event. Sarai was renamed Sarah. Abram became Abraham. Saul became Paul.
f course, the most significant name in the bible is God’s name. When Moses was told by God to return to the Pharaoh and demand the Israelites be released, Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”
God said to Moses, “I am who I am . This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ ” (Exodus 3:13-14)
The name” I am” (Yahweh or Jehovah) translates to “self-existent one”and was significant and sufficient enough for God to convey his immeasurable and unlimited authority, power and majesty. It defines God as the God of creation, the God of eternity, the God of all holiness. It is a supreme name fit for the supreme God.
W hen God gave Moses the 10 commandments, it’s no wonder that he established boundaries on the use of His Name. Ex 20:7 says “You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.
There’s power in God’s name. Look at these other scriptures that confirm this:
“This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name” Matt 6:9
“May the LORD answer you when you are in distress; may the name of the God of Jacob protect you”. Ps 20:1
Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk” Acts 3:6
“And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father.” John 14:13
Y et we, like the Israelites can be careless with the holy and powerful name of God. Here are some of the ways we are disrespectful.
G od’s name reflects holiness. When you use his name correctly, the blessings are abundant. He responds, he draws you nearer, he is glorified. Reflect on His nature and His character, and see how His name is above all others!