The Forgotten Name

What’s in a name? It would be foolish to deny the importance of a name—especially a good name. The wise man said, “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches” (Proverbs 22:1). A name is more valuable than riches? It can be. 

Names are important. They provide identity. They provide recognition. In the Old Testament carried great meaning. Abraham meant “father of many.” Job meant “persecuted.” Joshua meant: the Lord is salvation.” Malachi meant “my messenger.” Ruth meant “friend.” In ancient times, names were chosen carefully based on their meanings. 

In the scriptures, God has several names but there are generally three most common names used for God. 

The least used in scripture is the word Adonai. It is interesting to note is the most used by the Jews verbally. It is first used in Genesis 15:2 and is usually translated as simply “Lord.” It is used more often to refer to men (215 times). 

The first word used to refer to God is Elohim. We are introduced to Elohim in Genesis 1:1: “In the beginning, Elohim created…” Elohim is often combined with other qualities to form descriptions, or names for God. In Isaiah 30:18 the term used is Elohay Mishpat meaning “God of justice.” The shortened form El is often used as well. The most common of those descriptions is El Shaddai meaning “God Almighty” in Genesis 17:1–2. Also, Immanu El means “God with us”  in Isaiah 7:14. 

The most used name is YHVH. It is often referred to by the Jews a The Name. Some refer to it as The Tetragrammaton which means four letters. It is derived from the verb “to be” in the Hebrew language and comes from the “I AM” statement of Exodus 3:14–15. It is often printed in modern Bibles as “LORD” (note the capital letters).

This name has no confirmed pronunciation. Some pronounce it Yahweh. Others say Jehovah. The reason goes back to the destruction of the Temple. The Jews were aware of the importance of not using the Lord’s name in vain (Exodus 20:7). They substituted the name Adonai outside of the temple to preserve The Name. The Name was only used in temple worship. But with the destruction of the temple, the pronunciation of The Name was lost due to the lack of use leaving no known pronunciation. 

But there is one name that is often forgotten for God. In Exodus 34:14 it says, “…the Lord, whose name is Jealous…” This name seems odd. Jealous? Jealousy is immediately associated with horrible and terrible thoughts. Jealousy is a hated characteristic. Shakespeare said that jealousy was the “green-eyed monster” in Othello

What does God mean when He says His name is Jealous? In the Ten Commandments God says concerning other gods, “You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God...” (Exodus 20:5). God’s name is Jealous because He refuses to tolerate your devotion to anything but Him. 

What gods do you serve more than Jehovah? Money? Fame? Recreation? Jealousy? What is your modern day idol? Understand God will not tolerate your devotion to whatever it is. Find it and remove it... for we serve a jealous God.