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Yahweh Is the Sweetest Name I Know [John Piper]

I receive devotionals from the Desiring God blog every day and am always blessed by what I read from them. Today’s writing by John Piper is so sweet I knew I had to share it with you. Please visit the Desiring God site, where you’ll find much wonderful reading!

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You are not wrong to sing, “Jesus is the sweetest name I know,” even though Yahweh is.

Here’s why.

God gave himself the name Yahweh. No man gave him this name. It is God’s chosen personal name. He loves to be known by this name. It is used over 5,000 times in the Old Testament. It is almost always translated by Lᴏʀᴅ (small caps). But it is not a title. It is a personal name, like James or Elizabeth.

You know the name Yahweh best from its shortened form Yah at the end of Hallelujah, which means “praise Yahweh.” I love to think about this when I sing. When I sing, “Hallelujah,” I love to really mean, “No! I don’t praise you Bel, or Nebo, or Molech, or Rimmon, or Dagon, or Chemosh. I turn from you with disdain to Yah! I praise Yah. Hallelu Yah!”

God announced his name to Moses in Exodus 3:15. God said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘Yahweh, the God of your fathers. . . . This is my name forever.”

He preceded this announcement with two other statements so the meaning would be clear. He said, “I am who I am” (verse 14a). And he said, “Say to the people of Israel, ‘I am has sent me to you’” (verse 14b).

The Hebrew name Yahweh is connected to the Hebrew verb “I am.” So Yahweh is most fundamentally the One-Who-Is. “I am who I am” is the most foundational meaning of Yahweh. It means: My am-ness comes from my am-ness. My being from my being. My existence from my existence.

There are vast personal and covenantal implications of this. But this is foundational. No beginning. No ending. No dependence. He simply is, always was, and always will be. He communicates all of this with a personal name. To be sure, he has titles, and he has attributes. But this is a personal name. He packs the weightiest truth about himself into a personal name. Infinite greatness and personal knowability are in the name Yahweh.

Then in the fullness of time, Yahweh came into the world to seek and save the lost. The angel said to Joseph, “You shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). Jesus is an English transliteration of the Greek Iesoun. And this in turn is a Greek transliteration of the Hebrew Joshua. And Joshua is a combination of Yah and “salvation” or “save”. It means “Yahweh saves.”

So Jesus means “Yahweh saves.” Jesus is Yahweh with a human nature coming to save his people from sin.

Paul confirms this in Philippians 2:11. He says of the risen Jesus, “Every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” That is a quote from Isaiah 45:23 where Yahweh is the one to whom every knee shall bow and every tongue confess. Paul is saying that, in the end, the whole world will acknowledge that Jesus is in fact Yahweh incarnate.

So you don’t have to choose between singing, “Jesus is the sweetest name I know,” and, “Yahweh is the sweetest name I know.” Indeed you dare not choose.


For more on this topic, see John Piper’s three most recent messages:

Topic: The Supremacy of Christ

John Piper (@JohnPiper) is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is author of more than 50 books.

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AnnaSmile

13 Days of Being Thankful

Day 12:

MY STRENGTH AND MY SONG

WONDERFUL WEDNESDAY

As part of my continuing Wonderful” series on the Wonderful Names of Our Wonderful Lord, here is today’s offering.

MY STRENGTH AND MY SONG

The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. —Psalm 118:14

The LORD is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him. —Exodus 15:2

We know Jehovah is our “STRENGTH” but do we make Him also our “SONG”? As we make Him so and sing of Him, we lose our fear. We are able to “trust and not be afraid,” only as we sing of Him. Our Redeemer is our “STRENGTH.” Make Him your “SONG” today.

[Taken from Wonderful Names of Our Wonderful Lord, by Charles E. Hurlburt and T. C. Horton. Copyright © 2002 by Barbour Publishing, Inc.]

My thoughts

By day the LORD directs his love, at night His song is with me—a prayer to the God of my life. —Psalm 42:8

Have you ever had a song run through your mind during the day when you least expect it? Has it ever awakened you at night?

That’s what often happens to me. I shift positions during the night and a sweet song of praise is running through my mind and heart. Or I’m doing the laundry or the dishes and find myself humming a praise song.

God’s presence is like that praise song that runs through my mind: soft, soothing, sweet and always available to comfort and guide me.

Get this: He knows everything about me and still loves and cares for me.

It used to annoy me when a song would haunt my mind. Now I hang on to every word and melody that slides around my brain because I finally understand that this is really a prayer of praise to my God. How can I resent it when it helps me focus more fully on Him?

These days I long for God’s musical prayers to fill my mind, especially during times when I have too much to do and not enough energy. Or when I’m driving somewhere. Or even when I’m just sitting on my patio and contemplating the wonder of God’s creation in the nearby mountains.

When those sweet-sounding songs of praise fill my mind, I know for sure God is right here with me, surrounding me with His love and presence.

Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid; for the Lord JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.—Isaiah 12:2


Sweet Songs

“By day the LORD directs his love,

at night His song is with me

—a prayer to the God of my life.”

—Psalm 42:8

Have you ever had a song run through your mind during the day when you least expect it? Has it ever awakened you at night?

That’s what often happens to me. I shift positions during the night and a sweet song of praise is running through my mind and heart. Or I’m doing the laundry or the dishes and find myself humming a praise song.

God’s presence is like that praise song that runs through my mind: soft, soothing, sweet and always available to comfort and guide me.

Get this: He knows everything about me and still loves and cares for me.

It used to annoy me when a song would haunt my mind. Now I hang on to every word and melody that slides around my brain because I finally understand that this is really a prayer of praise to my God. How can I resent it when it helps me focus more fully on Him?

These days I long for God’s musical prayers to fill my mind, especially during times when I have too much to do and not enough energy. Or when I’m driving somewhere. Or even when I’m just sitting on my patio and contemplating the wonder of God’s creation in the nearby mountains.

When those sweet-sounding praises fill my mind, I know for sure God is right here with me, surrounding me with His love and presence.


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