His Name

“In Judah God is known; His name is great in Israel” (Psalm 76:1).
As one travels in the Hindu countries of Nepal and India, he is continuously
reminded of the identities of their gods. Temples and shrines abound in honor of
Krishna, Vishnu, Ganesh and many others. Babies are named after the deities, as
are lakes, mountains, and other natural and man-made features. In contrast, there
is often a look of total ignorance whenever God, Jesus, or the Bible is
mentioned.
When Moses was commanded by God to return to Egypt and deliver the Israelites
from slavery, he asked, “When I come to the children of Israel and say to them,
‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they say to me, ‘What is his
name?’ what shall I say to them?” (Exodus 3:13). At this point they knew the gods
of Egypt, and perhaps still remembered the idols of Mesopotamia that were
worshipped by portions of Abraham’s family (Joshua 24:15). But God appeared to
them in the wilderness of Sinai, and from that point they came to know his name.
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord (i.e., Yahweh — the personal name of God) our God, the
Lord is one!” (Deuteronomy 6:4).
Our task as Christians is to proclaim the name of the Lord (1 Peter 2:9). That
is, we are to tell the world who the true God is, reveal his nature, and teach
his will. God no longer appears in miraculous visions or epiphanies. He has
commissioned us to preach his word and manifest his wisdom (Ephesians 3:10) to
all creation.
There are still nations and peoples where the name of God is unknown.
Unfortunately, there are also nations where God’s name is being forgotten, or at
least, neglected. The Psalmist could boldly assert that the name of Yahweh was
prominent in the kingdoms of Judah and Israel. They knew the true God. His works
were told, and he was honored in worship. The Israelites often failed to obey the
will of God, but there was no question as to who their God was. Their identity
was bound up with him — they were “his people” and he was “their God.”
Much could be stated regarding how God becomes known in a land. More could be
added about methods of retaining such knowledge. One factor is obvious. Knowing
God involves having a personal relationship with him. Where people identify with
God, his name, nature, and works are manifest. If we want our countries to be
places where God is known, let him first become “Our God,” and let us truly be
“His people.” Public, widespread knowledge will quickly follow.

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