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Exodus
3:13-22
 
Then Moses said to God, "If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they ask me, 'What is his name?' what shall I say to them?" God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM." And he said, "Say this to the people of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you.'" God also said to Moses, "Say this to the people of Israel, 'The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.' This is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations. Go and gather the elders of Israel together and say to them, 'The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, has appeared to me, saying, "I have observed you and what has been done to you in Egypt, and I promise that I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt to the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, a land flowing with milk and honey."' And they will listen to your voice, and you and the elders of Israel shall go to the king of Egypt and say to him, 'The LORD, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us; and now, please let us go a three days' journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the LORD our God.' But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless compelled by a mighty hand. So I will stretch out my hand and strike Egypt with all the wonders that I will do in it; after that he will let you go. And I will give this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians; and when you go, you shall not go empty, but each woman shall ask of her neighbor, and any woman who lives in her house, for silver and gold jewelry, and for clothing. You shall put them on your sons and on your daughters. So you shall plunder the Egyptians."
(ESV)
O Adonai
Friday of Advent 3
18 December 2015
God does not want His name to be abused. The second commandment forbids us to use the name of the Lord to support any vain thing. No falsehood may be supported by the divine name. However, God does want us to use His name for the right purposes. God revealed His name to his prophet Moses to comfort the downtrodden people of Israel and to lead them out of Egypt through the Red Sea on dry ground. He gave His name into the hands of Moses that the faith of His salvation might find its way into the hearts of His people. The people left the slavery of Egypt and faced the privation of life trusting in God's leading. His name empowered them to do what seemed to be impossible. They walked away from the world's most powerful military force, leaving in their wake a tide of swamped chariots and drowned horsemen.
 
They had God's name as their salvation, but not as a talisman. The name of God is not a secret syllable that has power on its own. When they doubted God's ability to save them in their straightened circumstances, He let them wander in the wilderness to learn His hard discipline. They could not hold His name in their hands or control Him by performing the rites of their religious cultus. He rejected their pro forma acceptance of His lordship time and again, so that finally Jerusalem, the city founded by Him, was completely destroyed by the Babylonians. God's name is not able to be captured or controlled by us. This He renders to us freely by grace. God's name is never our possession. It always His gift to us. When He gives it we have all that the name carries with it. The name of God is the revelation of His salvation in the incarnation of Christ of the Virgin Mary.
 
Christ is the incarnation of the divine name. When that name is set on us in the baptismal font, then the blessing of the name accrues to us. The righteousness and life that is the substance of that name, also come to dwell within us, through the pronouncing of the name over us. Faith and the name meet in our hearts granting us the whole divine gift to us poor sinners. We, who have no name by right except what is unspeakable, now have the name "sons of God" spoken by the Son of God. He is the Lord, Adonai.

 

Martin Luther

"Calling upon the name of God, if it is in the heart and truly from the heart, shows that the heart and the name of the Lord are one and cling to each other. For this reason it is impossible for the heart not to share in the virtues in which the name of the Lord abounds. But it is through faith that the heart and the name of the Lord cling together (Rm 10:17). Faith, however, comes through the Word of Christ, by which the name of the Lord is preached, as it is written: 'I will tell of your name to my brothers' (Ps 22:22), and again: 'that they may declare in Zion the name of the Lord' (Ps 102:21). Therefore, just as the name of the Lord is pure, holy, righteous, true, good, etc., so, if it touches, or is touched by, the heart (which happens through faith), it makes the heart entirely like itself. Thus it comes about that for those who trust in the name of the Lord all sins are forgiven, and righteousness is imputed to them 'for your name's sake, O Lord' (Ps 25:11), because this name is good. This does not come about because of their own merit, since they have not deserved even to hear of it. But when the heart has thus been justified through the faith that is in His name, God gives them the power to become children of God (Jn 1:12) by immediately pouring into their hearts His Holy Spirit (Rm 5:5), who fills them with His love and makes them peaceful, glad, active in all good works, victorious over all evils, contemptuous even of death and hell. Here all laws and all works of laws soon cease; all things are now free and permissible, and the law is fulfilled through faith and love.
 
"Behold, this is what Christ has gained for us, namely, that the name of the Lord (that is, the mercy and truth of God) is preached to us and that whoever believes in this name will be saved. Therefore, if your conscience troubles you and you are a sinner and are seeking to become righteous, what will you do? Will you look around to see what works you may do or where you may go? No. On the contrary, see to it that you hear or recall the name of the Lord, that is, that God is righteous, good, and holy; and then cling to this, firmly believing that He is such a One for you. Now you are at once such a one, like Him. But you will never see the name of the Lord more clearly than you do in Christ. There you will see how good, pleasant, faithful, righteous, and true God is, since He did not spare His own Son (Rm 8:32). Through Christ He will draw you to Himself. Without this righteousness it is impossible for the heart to be pure. That is why it is impossible for the righteousness of men to be true. For here the name of the Lord is used for the truth; there it is used for an empty show. For here man gives glory to God and confusion to himself; there he gives glory to himself and insult to God. This is the real cabala of the name of the Lord, not of the Tetragrammaton, about which the Jews speak in the most superstitious manner. Faith in the name of the Lord, I say, is the understanding of the law, the end of the law, and absolutely all in all. But God has placed this name of His on Christ, as He foretold through Moses."

Martin Luther, Lectures on Galatians, 2.16
 
Prayer
O Adonai and ruler of the house of Israel, who appeared to Moses in the burning bush and gave him the law on Sinai: Come with an outstretched arm and redeem us. Amen.
 
For John Hatteberg, who has been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, that the Lord God would be his strength and healing
 
For Rita Baker, that she would be kept under the loving care of her heavenly Father, as she calls on the name of the Lord
 
For all those who are struggling with family issues during the season of the Holy Family, that they would know the peace that surpasses all human understanding
Art: VOUET, Simon  Annunciation  (1640s)

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