The world waited most of a week to learn the name of England’s new prince, born to William and Kate on Monday, April 23. Finally, on Friday, we were introduced to His Royal Highness Prince Louis of Cambridge. For much of the next century we will likely follow Prince Louis alongside his brother and sister, Prince George and Princess Charlotte.
Names are important to us. My youngest grandson was born a year ago. He knows his name. When we call his name he turns and looks. He knows we are speaking to him. Even my dog knows his name. When I speak his name his corgi ears pop up, his eyes are alert. Nothing compels us like the sound of our name.
Names give us entrance. When someone knows our name, we listen.
When God commissioned Moses to deliver his people from Egypt, Moses asked, “Whom shall I say has sent me?” God responded, “Tell them, I AM THAT I AM has sent you.” The Israelites captured this name with the Hebrew letters YHWH. The name was too holy to be spoken. When they came to God’s name in Scripture, they inserted the word, “Adonai” meaning “Lord.”
The third of the Ten Commandments recognizes that God has entrusted to us something special, something precious. “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.” (Exodus 20:7) He has invited us into relationship with Him. He has given us His name. We must not take this for granted. David sang, “Therefore I will give thanks to you among the nations, O Lord, and I will sing praises to your name.” (Psalm 18:49).
Isaiah looked forward to a new name God would give us. He wrote, “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will [a]rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6).
Isaiah’s prophecy was fulfilled when the angel announced the Messiah’s birth to Mary and Joseph and instructed them, “You shall call His name Jesus for He shall save His people from their sins.” God has chosen to redeem and transform us through that “name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow,of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:9-11).
This is an awesome thing. The God of the universe, who created the expanse of the galaxies, who designed the sub-atomic particles, who gave breath and life to every creature, God, who made us in His own image, has given us His name that we might be exalted to know Him, honor Him and adore Him.
How then could we possibly use His name as an expression of amazement, consternation or anger? How can we possibly live without thought of His greatness, goodness and grace?