Wednesday, December 12, 2007

My Adonai

Our sermon on Sunday showed us how the scribes who copied the Bible revered God so much they would wash themselves and change their garments before they wrote His name. If they were in the midst of writing God's name, they would not allow anyone to interrupt them, not even the king!

The early Jews had such a reverence for God that they would not publicly pronounce Jehovah (Self-Existent One), the covenant name, for fear of being guilty of speaking it in vain. The Hebrew scribes wrote the name with the vowels excluded as a form of reverence for Him. We aren't even sure Jehovah is correct. The English translation of the Hebrew letters used are JHVH.

Since they would not even pronounce God's covenant name in worship, they used another, Adonai (my Lord, my Master) during Scripture reading. The scribes used the vowels from Adonai between JHVH, which is how Jehovah (aka Yahweh) appeared.

The deep respect the Jews had for the name of God should be a reminder to all of us to be careful how we say His name. In our culture, we hear His Name tossed around like it has no meaning to us. Often, it is used as a curse word in which the person using it is actually cursing God!! Clint often asks people who say this "Why do you want to curse God when He's the very One you will cry to when you desperately need help?"