Names of God: YaHWeH
One day a little boy in school was drawing a picture. When the teacher asked, “What’s that you’re drawing?” the boy answered without a moment’s hesitation, “I’m drawing a picture of God.” “A picture of God?” she said. “You can’t draw a picture of God. No one knows what God looks like.” To which the little boy replied, “Well, they will when I’m done.”
I want to talk to you today about YAHWEH who snatches victory out of the jaws of defeat.
For thousands of years we Jewish people have been the guardians of the sacred four letter name of God: YHWH. We usually always say Adonai in place of YHWH. While I have not intention of changing that tradition her at CBM, I am asking for a special dispensation of grace just for today so I can fully explain to you this Name of God.
We have been doing this systematically since 500 AD. Our scribes, called the Masoretes, were concerned that the sacred name might become common and or abused.
The Jewish scribes in 500 AD decided that everywhere the four letter Name of God appears they would insert the vowels for the word Adonai which means a lord, master or sovereign. That way every time you came upon the sacred name you would read Adonai and not Yahweh.
However, when you put the nouns in for Adonai in Hebrew you actually get this non-sense word Yahowey which Christian monks and scholars later came along and thought that was the way to pronounce the sacred name of God.
So then Christian scholars and people got excited and started calling Him Jehovah which was their best attempt at pronouncing the sacred name of God. Then Jewish scholars and some informed scholars began to say, “No, that is not His name that is a mistaken way of pronouncing His NAME + Adonai.” So then scholars said lets cut out the ADONAI business and go with LORD in all caps.
So in most modern translations all CAPS LORD means the Hebrew underneath is YHWH with the Vowels for Adonai which really spells out Yahowey which is not the right way to say the sacred name of God. Here is my point: this whole excursus underscores the problem, we have forgotten that God reveals His Name through an encounter of who He is. What is significant is the encounter between God and the person.
When he encounters Moses in Exodus 3:14-15
God answered Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” Then He said, “You are to say to Bnei-Yisrael, ‘I AM’ has sent me to you.” God also said to Moses: “You are to say to Bnei-Yisrael, Adonai, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, has sent me to you. This is My Name forever, and the Name by which I should be remembered from generation to generation.
The question I am sure you are asking is “He will be what?” He will be a blessing for His people.
Every time someone encounters the Name YHWH they always encounter the one who is Unique because of His claim to be the one who has always been. They encounter YHWH in covenant presence which ends in blessing.
Then He said to him, “I am Adonai who brought you out from Ur of the Chaldeans, in order to give you this land to inherit it.”
I am Adonai your God, who brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, so that you would not be their slaves, and I have broken the bars of your yoke and made you walk upright.
For I am Adonai your God who upholds your right hand, who says to you, “Fear not, I will help you.”
Israel has been saved by Adonai with an everlasting salvation. You will not be put to shame or disgraced, for ever and ever. For thus says Adonai— He is God who fashioned the heavens, who formed the earth and made it, He established it and did not create it desolate but formed it to be inhabited— “I am Adonai—there is no other!”
When the people of Israel encountered YAHWEH they encountered Israel’s unique God - there is no god like him amongst the nations - He promises to be with them and snatches victory out of the jaws of defeat for them.
Before Moses encountered YHWH, he needed to learn a valuable lesson.
Now it happened in those days, after Moses had grown up, that he went out to his brothers and saw their burdens. He noticed an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his own people. So he looked around and when he saw that there was nobody, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand.
Here is the point: Only YWHW can snatch Israel out of the jaws of Egypt.
Defeat defined Israel in Egypt
Imagine Israel in Egypt.
When Joseph was second in command, Israel prospered in the land.
Then it says after Joseph died each succeeding generation of Pharaoh’s increasingly used their power to enslave the Hebrews.
After 400 years, a new Pharaoh fears the Hebrews and tries to kill them off through forced labor and starvation. When that does not work the Pharaoh issues a command that calls for the infanticide of one ethnic group the Hebrews.
We only know of one Hebrew boy who survived that murderous edict and His name was Moses. Moses was saved from the command of Pharaoh by Pharaoh’s daughter. He was raised in Pharaoh’s house and when he say the misery, slavery, the oppression of his people he thought that he could snatch victory out of the mouth of Egyptian oppression by his own power with his on force. His plan failed.
Point: Only YHWH can snatch victory out of the jaws of defeat. Let go of trying to do what only YWHW can do.
You will wear yourself out and find yourself worn down trying to battle in the natural what requires the supernatural.
It is like the story of the mountain climber falling and grabbing the limb. God are you up there please help me. God said, “let go of the limb and I will catch you.” The climber paused and said, “Is there anyone else up there?”
This is what we do many time, “God do something, do it my way.”
The reason why either people don’t see Yahweh snatch them out of the jaws of defeat into victory is because they are so busy trying to tell YaHWeH the best to snatch them out.
Lord if you would just...
Lord if you would only arrange this situation...
Lord if since you did not I went ahead and did.
People strike out on their own and like Moses they not only fail but it feels like their life just gets de-railed. Some people will feel like Moses on a forty year journey in the desert with the dream of Israel’s vision fading in the background.
I tried to fulfill my calling on my terms but then YHWH snatched victory out of the jaws of defeat by sending Becky Ross.
I came here and it they did not offer me to be the senior rabbi. I was offered to be the assistant, to the assistants assistant to the other guy who is assisting his assistant.
I had a person come to me during this time and talk to me about organizing and overseeing a new Jewish private school in Asia. It was a great opportunity with great pay in the Jewish community but I felt my hand no the plow and not God’s hand.
I had another person offer me another job but it felt like my hand and not God’s hand.
I was tired of doing it my way and I knew Beth Messiah was God way for me. I did not know what He had for me but I knew this was it and I knew this was his way of snatching victory out of defeat.
Yahweh snatches victory out of what looks like an impossible situation.
Yahweh snatches victory out of what looks like an impossible situation.
Moses encounters God after 40 years of living in Midian. He is a young man, he is in his 80s when he meets the YHWH in the burning bush. YHWH summons Moses to the bush, the Holy Ground and commissions him to go and bring the people of Israel out of Egypt. After 40 years of humbling, Moses has lost the confidence he once had. He feels like it would be impossible for God to use Him and he says
But Moses said to God, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh, and bring Bnei-Yisrael out of Egypt?”
By the way did you notice that Moses is not getting it yet. He is not quite getting that He is not the unique one. But if He will submit Himself to Yahweh then he will get to participate in Yahwehs’ snatching victory out of the jaws of defeat.
“Go now, gather the elders of Israel together, and say to them: ‘Adonai, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—has appeared to me, saying, I have been paying close attention to you and have seen what is done to you in Egypt. So I promise I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt, into the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites, to a land flowing with milk and honey.’
Explain the unique, presence and blessing of deliverance. Then Yahweh sends him to Pharaoh with an ultimatum. Yahweh tells him that he is not going to listen and that Yahweh is going to snatch a victory out of the hands of Pharaoh. He says
So I will stretch out My hand and strike Egypt with all My wonders that I will do in the midst of it. After that, he will let you go.
Tell Israel they are going to meet their unique covenant keeping who will snatch them out of Egypt and give them great victory.
Israel was asked to believe that the same God now going by a new Name was going to do what he had not done for over 400 years, snatch victory out of the jaws of defeat. He would keep His covenant that he swore to our ancestors.
Moses promises Israel that they are going to now encounter God as Yahweh.
The Names/titles El Shaddai and El Elyon, which Israel knew Go by, recognized God’s amazing power over the natural elements of the world.
El Shaddai in Genesis 17 could overrule Abraham’s insufficiency with His all sufficiency and he had a child.
El Elyon in Genesis 14 could overrule Abram’s enemies with His power.
To know the name of Yawheh is to encounter the One who calls people into intimate covenant relationship with himself and therefore becomes intimately present to them.
Yahweh is not merely present in the world; he is covenantally present.
He is with his people to bless them, to deliver them, to give them His good Word, to guide them, to bring them up to the promise land, to deliver them all in accordance with His covenant.
When God gives His Name to Moses and by extension the people of Israel, it brings blessing for Israel, but judgement upon Pharaoh and the Egyptians.
Call on the name of Yahweh He promises to snatch victory out of defeat.
You may be in a dire situation and have been in one for a while but Yahweh will set things right.
You wondered if God was aware of how long you have been in this condition, He has know, your current state is not a surprise. He knew about
your medical condition
your unruly boss
Before you had the problem, Yahweh knew, and he already had the solution. You are going to watch as Yahweh snatches victory out of the jaws of defeat.
Personal Tragedy: From Canada to CBM
Medical Tragedy: Esther’s Husband winning against a death sentence.
“Then I shall grant these people favor in the eyes of the Egyptians. So it will happen that when you go, you will not leave empty-handed.
When He snatches victory out of the jaws of defeat even your enemies will want to bless you.
This is re-inforced in Proverbs 16:7 where it says that when a man’s way pleases the Lord he makes even His enemies to be at peace with him.
There is an old maxim: nothing succeeds like success. When Egypt saw the mighty hand of God against Egypt and for Israel in the plagues, they saw they were Yahweh’s highly favored covenant-people. They blessed them as our Jewish sages in the Talmud like to say, “He who is agreeable to God is equally agreeable to men.”
When you align your heart to Yahweh’s will and word, relationships and people that once contributed to your demise will now contribute to your success.
Bosses that once were your lid will become your springboard.
Professor that once did not know your name will promote your name.
Children that once were astray will come back to their sense (Psalm 112:1-2).
Family members that once worked against you will be at peace with you.
Your job is to be in alignment, covenant relationship, with Yahweh and His job is to bless you by making even your enemies at peace with you.
When we align our lives to His Word and His Will, at just the right time he will snatch a victory out of the jaws of defeat. Some of you might be here today saying to yourself, “You don’t understand some of my problems are my own doing. I don’t just have a mistake problem, I have a sin problem. I have a love of the world problem. I have a problem in my heart and it shows up when I speak unkind words to my wife, my husband, my children, my friends.”
Yahweh snatches you out of the jaws of sin by His grace.
Yahweh snatches you out of the jaws of sin by His grace.
Yahweh also snatches a victory out of the defeat sin creates in your life.
There is one other place in Exodus where God uniquely reveals His Name: Yahweh. It is right after one of the most insidious moments in all of the Hebrew Bible. Israel saw God’s mighty wonders in Egypt. Plagues that struck the Egyptians but not the Israelites. They saw Him part a sea and drown their enemies in it. The even saw him bring water from a rock and rain down manna from heaven. Yet, at the foot of Sinai their hearts grew cold towards Yahweh. They created a golden-calf and crowned it by Yahweh’s name and declared that it was their God. All the while Moses was on the mountain top receiving the Ten Words.
There is no doubt in the mind of the authors of Scriptures that Israel was in idolatrous sin. When Moses comes down the mountain he finds chaos not devotion, he finds idolatry not devotion. He finds Yahweh’s covenant people acting like Egyptian people. They sinned greatly and 3,000 people fell in the wilderness and the plague was halted due to Moses intercession and Yahweh’s mercy on behalf of the people.
After this great tragedy that was created by sinful idolatry, Moses cries out to God
Then he said, “Please, show me Your glory!”
So He said, “I will cause all My goodness to pass before you, and call out the Name of Adonai before you. I will be gracious toward whom I will be gracious, and I will show mercy on whom I will be merciful.”
So Moses carves out two new tablets of the law and stands in a cleft of the rock. And then God meets with him and
Then Adonai passed before him, and proclaimed, “Adonai, Adonai, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, and abundant in lovingkindness and truth, showing mercy to a thousand generations, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, yet by no means leaving the guilty unpunished, but bringing the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, to the third and fourth generation.”
Yahweh shows His glory to Moses: Namely God’s Loyal Love.
To show how forgiving he is, God lists three things he is willing to forgive: “wickedness, rebellion and sin” (Exod. 34:7).
These are three categories of unrighteousness. “Wickedness” (ʿawon) is sometimes translated “iniquity.” It means to “turn aside” from what is right and good. “Rebellion” (peshaʿ) is more defiant.
John Mackay defines it as a “willful violation of the terms of the covenant, involving not merely disobeying a rule or regulation, but betraying the relationship one has with the covenant King.”
Anyone who commits this kind of sin is a traitor to God. The last term (“sin”; chattaʿh) is the most general. It refers to any kind of moral failure.
God then issued a corrective against the natural human tendency to accept grace on the assumption that because an infinite God can produce an infinite amount of grace, sin has no significant consequence. Sin has consequences and grace is not sloppy. Yahweh is a covenant keeping God.
This passage does not teach that your sin creates your children’s demise.
This explanatory section is also in the second commandment, with its assertion that God is “jealous … punishing the children for the sins of the fathers,” has been widely misunderstood.
It does not represent an assertion that God punishes an innocent generation for sins of a predecessor generation, contrary to Deut 24:16 (“Fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their fathers; each is to die for his own sin”; cf. 2 Kgs 14:6).
Rather, this oft-repeated theme speaks of God’s determination to punish successive generations for committing the same sins they learned from their parents.
In other words, God will not say, “I won’t punish this generation for what they are doing to break my covenant because, after all, they merely learned it from their parents who did it too.”
And on the other side of the equation you can’t tell God, “My sin is genetic. I am predisposed to doing this because mom did it, dad it.”
Here is the point: Yahweh snatches you out of the jaws of sin by His grace.
Yahweh was not a mean legalistic version of God who lacks mercy, grace and compassion. It is not as if God had only conditional love for Israel in the Hebrew Bible and unconditional love for people in the New Testament. Both Jonah and Hosea tells us differently: Yahweh snatches all peoples out of the jaws of sin by His grace.
He has mercy and grace and loyal love to the thousandth generation. That is hyperbole for “never-ending.” It is an amazing grace an amazing love.
My children have turned out so much better than me.
Illustration: Hazel’s Worship Album
Stop telling your kids that they can’t because of you but that they can because of Yahweh.
Illustration: Seth’s statement on his test “I can do this.”
Declaration: Yahweh will snatch a grace victory out of the jaws of sin.
He does not want you to be enslaved to sin in your life, He wants to free you from sin in your life.
He does not want you to figure out how to manage sin in your life, He wants to set you free from sin your life.
He does not want you to walk around in shackles of guilt, He wants you to know His love and mercy.
Declaration: When men and women encountered Yahweh, when they called upon His name they were calling upon the one who they trusted would snatch victory out of the jaws of defeat.
You came here today and circumstances in life have been harsh, even cruel, you need to call on the name of Yahweh who will snatch a victory for you.
You came in here today and you kept hoping “I hope no one can tell that I did x” or “I hope no one finds out about that sin I have been struggling with.” There is One who knows already and He stands ready to offer you an abundance of grace.
Your current state is not a surprise to God. He saw this coming way before you did. He knows how to correct the injustice. He knows how to rescue the captives. He knows how to set a people free. He knows how to deliver from sin.
You don’t see your future but Yahweh does. Things are not always going to stay the same:
Your joblessness will not always stay the same.
That problem in your marriage does not have to stay the same.
That situation at work will get better.
Even that poor medical condition can get better.
The Battle of Cold Harbor in May 31 – June 12, 1864 General Grant suffered on of the worst defeats of the Civil War near Hanover County, Virginia.
It is said that within 10 days the Union Army suffered 12, 700 casualties compared to the confederates 1,500.
Having recently taken command of all Union armies, Grant did not see this defeat coming. He had superior numbers on His side. It was a crushing blow.
This image of Grant is my favorite and I am having it framed and put in my office because as Paul Harvey used to say, “Now for the rest of the story.”
Grant could have given up, walked away in shame and despondency. He could have given himself back over to drinking - a problem he fought his whole life - but instead he regathered his forces, changed his tactics and Less than a year later, following the Battle of Petersburg (aka the Siege of Petersburg), the Appomattox Campaign, and the Battle of Appomattox Courthouse, Lee would surrender to Grant.
Victory was snatched out of the jaws of defeat that impacted the shape of our country.
As great as that story is, there is an even greater story about an even greater captain. His name was Yeshua. While it looked like His death was a horrible defeat no one anticipated that a victory would be snatched out of the jaws of death itself. A victory was won that day that would forever shape the hearts of all those who trusted in Him.