Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Greatest Name - Dr. Dow Robinson

Worship is the engine that drives worldwide evangelization today so that Christ's followers now come from every nation on earth to worship the One whose Name is above all names.

For a moment, let us try to enter into Moses' experience at the burning bush, a small desert tree that, for a moment, became a resting place for its Creator-God. To Moses' surprise, this humble tree became the instrument by which the Lord God Almighty showed Himself to Moses (Exodus 3:1-9).

The presence of the Angel of the Lord-Yhwh appeared like fire, blazing fire in the midst of the bush, but the desert tree was not burned up. Moses said, "I must turn aside and see this marvelous sight—why the bush is not burned up." (From Hebrew-Greek Key Study Bible, AMG Publishers,1977). At that moment when Moses turned and started moving towards the bush, God-Elohim called out to Moses, telling him to take off his sandals: "This Ground is Holy! Because I am (Yhwh) is here!" He reminded Moses that He is the same God-Elohim who dealt with his forefathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. And He, Elohim, grieved over the disastrous situation in Egypt where His people (promised to Moses forefathers) lived out their short lives in the grip of greedy owners who expended their slave-lives to build Egypt's glory. Now move over to Exodus 3:10-16.

Yahweh spelled out the situation in Egypt so clearly that Moses saw himself sent on this Yahweh-appointed mission, right into the hands of Pharaoh who had already banned him from Egypt's royal Court for life -- upon pain of death! And Moses would have none of this! He pleaded his own lack of social position and speaking ability, but in effect, Yahweh stated that He would be all the identity that Moses would ever need. Moses, very wisely, then requested the full Name of the One talking with him. Moses figured he would need that Name when he would go to address Israel's leaders about their coming 'Exodus.'
The reply: "I am who I am.' This is the Name Moses is to use with Israel's Leaders because He says, 'This is My name forever and this is My memorial-Name to all generations.'

The Meaning of the Name

In this statement we find the meaning and importance of this Name, the greatest Name of all. The English word, "Lord," represents the Hebrew word, Yahweh, and Yahweh is derived from the Name in verses 3:14, 'I Am Who I Am,' based on the verb, 'to be.' The noun Yhwh, Lord, derives from the verb H-Y-H,' 'to be.' To an outsider, a Westerner, it sounds like God is naming Himself, the 'One who is,' or, 'the One who exists.' That's right. He is!

And Yhwh liked this Name — above every other revealed Name. This Name tells us more about Him. He is the source or the reason for everything that exists, including this space-time universe in which we live. This Name is His eternal Name, His memorial Name, that is, the Name by which He will be remembered in any and all generations.

Let us take a moment and reflect on this Name: Yahweh. It is the same Name from our earlier article, the Dual-Name Yahweh-Elohim, the One who came daily to talk with Adam and Eve in the Garden, the One who lost His connection with them and vowed to remedy that loss. The Dual-Name, Yahweh-Elohim, showed us God in His fatherly relationship with Adam and Eve. We discovered no meanings for the individual Name Yahweh at that time and we had to wait until now -- from the Garden until 1400 BC — to find out what Yhwh meant by His Name.

Now, to us Westerners, the root meanings for Yhwh, "I Am Who I Am," leave us wondering. For us, we find it difficult to comprehend His Name as 'Existence.' Yet that is exactly what He says about Himself. And Moses is to take this Name and use it in Pharaoh's presence as the justification for releasing Israel.

Worship is the engine that drives worldwide evangelization today so that Christ's followers now come from every nation on earth to worship the One whose Name is above all names.

Dr. Robinson is the Director of Ministry Training for Integrity Worship Ministries in Mobile, Alabama. He received his B.A. from Houghton College and a Master of Divinity from Fuller Seminary. He also received a Ph.D. in linguistics from Oklahoma University where he served as a department head of Phonology and his wife Lois served as a department head of Phonetics.

From 1955 to 1979, Dow and his wife Lois served as Wycliffe Bible Translators among the Zapotec Indians in Oaxaca, Mexico as well as among the Aztecs in northern Puebla. Their translation work culminated in the translation of the New Testament into the Aztec language.

Following his linguistic work, Dow pastored churches in Oklahoma and Kentucky. His teaching gift and extensive ministry background also provided additional teaching opportunities for him at Liberty Theological Seminary in Pensacola, Florida, the American Center for Theological Studies in Mobile, Alabama, and Regent University in VA Beach, VA.

Dow has also authored or contributed to a number of books and teaching guides including “Wind of the Son: The Story Of God’s Outpouring Among The Descendents Of The Ancient Aztecs,” “Discipling the Heart: John’s Perspective on the Kingdom of God,” and “The Covenant and the Kingdom.”

Dow and his wife Lois are active members of the Covenant Church of Mobile where he serves as an elder and teacher.

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