Monday, November 30, 2009

In the Name.

He received the Name of God. Barefooted in the presence of an unconsuming fire and a staff with a double personality (the other a serpent), Moses asks for God's name and gets it (Exodus 3:13-15). It'd been lost to the ears, lips, and minds of men for a long time, at least since the days of Isaac (Genesis 4:26; 12:8; 13:4; 16:13; 21:33; 26:25). God gives the Name to Moses, who goes forth as God's prophet. But certainly not the last. Over and over God sends prophets among His people who utter messages with the attention-grabbing subject line: "Thus says the LORD." What irony, that the Name of the LORD - which should be the secret password to unlock the hearts of every created being in the universe - is taken for granted, misused, ignored, and relegated to superstitious silence. "The LORD, the God of their fathers, sent word to them again and again by His messengers, because He had compassion on His people and on His dwelling place; but they continually mocked the messengers of God, despised His words and scoffed at His prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against His people, until there was no remedy" (2 Chronicles 36:15,16). There is no remedy for a people who continually take the Name in vain. "...the LORD will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain" (Exodus 20:7; Deuteronomy 5:11).

So the voice of the LORD, spoken by the prophets in the name of the LORD, goes silent. Another would come, as Moses himself prophesied: "I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you, and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I commanded him. It shall come about that whoever will not listen to My words which he shall speak in My name, I Myself will require it of him" (Deuteronomy 18:18,19 - quoted in Acts 3:22,23; 7:37). Another Moses, giving another Law. And so He came, as the Church considers this Advent season.

He brought the words of God, but just as importantly He brought the Name:
  • "I have come in My Father's name..." (John 5:43).
  • "I told you, and you do not believe; the works that I do in My Father's name, these testify of Me" (John 10:25).
  • "Hosanna! Blessed is He Who comes in the name of the LORD, even the King of Israel" (John 12:13).
  • "I have manifested Your name to the men whom You gave Me out of the world; they were Yours and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word" (John 17:6).
  • "Holy Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are. While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name which You have given Me; and I guarded them and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, so that the Scripture would be fulfilled" (John 17:11,12).

So the King dresses as a messenger and goes through the land proclaiming His own word as if it were not His word, but the King's. More faithful than the most faithful servant of the house, this hidden King is faithful as a son (Hebrews 3:1-6). This one, for a time hidden in "the form of a bond-servant," was so faithful and obedient that it took His very last breath to proclaim the message. That last breath was honored and given back for all eternity, and the servant-King's name is exalted on high: "God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the 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).

He received the name of God, and God received GLORY.

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