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BLESSED BE YOUR NAME
By David C. Cook
David C. CookCopyright © 2005 David C Cook
All rights reserved.
DAY 1: Blessed Be Your Name
Moses said to God, "Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they ask me, 'What is his name?' Then what shall I tell them?" God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: 'I am has sent me to you.'" God also said to Moses, "Say to the Israelites, 'The LORD, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.' This is my name forever, the name by which I am to be remembered from generation to generation."
—1 Exodus 3:13–15
God's name is historic.
Shakespeare's Juliet uttered the famous line, "What's in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet." Juliet, of course, was full of star-crossed optimism about love and didn't really know what she was talking about.
In God's view of things, a name is very important. In response to Juliet's rhetorical question, "What's in a name?" God would answer, "Everything."
From the time he spoke light into existence until now—and beyond—God has been making a name for himself. A name that is synonymous with blessings. Synonymous with triumph. Synonymous with redemption. God's name is an encapsulation of all he has done throughout the ages and all that he will do as time progresses. His name is his entire essence, the one thing by which he is to be remembered from generation to generation.
When we remember the history of God's name and the things he's done for people like Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, we bless that very name. He was faithful to those men and to countless other people in the Bible. He will repeat history and be faithful to us.
His name is our everything.
Prayer for the Day:
Dear Lord, help me to remember what your name means. As I embark on this study of your name, I pray that you will help me to have a greater love for it than I've ever had before. Teach me to treasure your name, and help me to remember all that your name stands for, so that it will be a light to me in the midst of my darkness. I bless your name, Lord.CHAPTER 2
DAY 2: In the Land That Is Plentiful
On the evening of the fourteenth day of the month, while camped at Gilgal on the plains of Jericho, the Israelites celebrated the Passover. The day after the Passover, that very day, they ate some of the produce of the land: unleavened bread and roasted grain. The manna stopped the day after they ate this food from the land; there was no longer any manna for the Israelites, but that year they ate of the produce of Canaan.
God's name can be relied upon.
The Israelites had just spent the last forty years of their existence wandering through the desert. Before that, they'd been enslaved in Egypt. God had sent Moses to deliver them and bring them to the Promised Land of Canaan, which they were now on the brink of entering.
As a means of sustaining them in the wilderness, God provided manna, thin wafers of food that appeared daily. Having no other options, the Israelites relied on God for their sustenance.
But now they were in Canaan, and God no longer needed to provide manna. The Israelites no longer needed to rely on him for food—it was already there, as part of the land. No, now they needed to rely on God for something entirely different.
Canaan was already occupied.
Now the task for the Israelites changed from just surviving to overcoming. They had to overcome their enemies in order to possess the land, and they would need every bit of strength and confidence they could get from God.
In other words, their wilderness days were behind them, but their reliance days were still with them. The plentiful land meant they had to call on God's name for an entirely different reason than they had before.
Fortunately, God's name is one we can all rely upon, no matter what circumstance we're facing.
Prayer for the Day:
Dear God, teach me to rely on your name. I pray that you'll give me the strength and confidence I need to walk through this day. Prompt me to call on your name no matter what circumstances I face. I know I can count on you, God. You've never failed me before, and you never will. You are the Ultimate Reliance. Amen.CHAPTER 3
DAY 3: Where Your Streams of Abundance Flow
The whole Israelite community set out from the Desert of Sin, traveling from place to place as the Lord commanded. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. So they quarreled with Moses and said, "Give us water to drink." Moses replied, "Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you put the LORD to the test?" But the people were thirsty for water there, and they grumbled against Moses. They said, "Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to make us and our children and livestock die of thirst?" Then Moses cried out to the LORD, "What am I to do with these people? They are almost ready to stone me." The LORD answered Moses, "Walk on ahead of the people. Take with you some of the elders of Israel and take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. I will stand there before you by the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it for the people to drink." So Moses did this in the sight of the elders of Israel. And he called the place Massah and Meribah because the Israelites quarreled and because they tested the Lord saying, "Is the LORD among us or not?"
God's name is not dependent on our trust.
It's easy to wonder sometimes why God ever put up with the Israelites. This passage records events that took place while they were still wandering in the desert. Even though they'd seen God's miraculous hand bring deliverance from their Egyptian slavery, they still doubted his methods and his purpose.
So there they were with a great need, and instead of calling on God's name they start getting angry with Moses, as if he was their provider and not God. We can even see how fed up Moses is—imagine him throwing his hands up in frustration as he says to God, "What am I supposed to do with these people? Come on. This is ridiculous!"
Nevertheless, thanks to Moses' prayers on their behalf, God had mercy on his chosen people even though they were completely in the wrong. God provided a stream of abundance, not because the Israelites or Moses talked him into it, but because that's just his character.
It's part of his name.
We don't earn God's provision because we're so nice to him. We partake of it because he loves us—even when we don't merit it.
His streams of abundance flow because that's who he is. Faithful, even when we aren't.
Prayer for the Day:
O Lord, I thank you for your streams of abundance flowing through all my desert places. I thank you, God, that you see me in the midst of my wilderness and that you provide for me even when I don't necessarily deserve it. Help me to speak your name first, not the name of anyone or anything else. Blessed be your name, Lord. Blessed be your name. Amen.CHAPTER 4
DAY 4: Blessed Be Your Name
Then the LORD said to Moses, "Get up early in the morning, confront Pharaoh and say to him, 'This is what the LORD, the God of the Hebrews, says: Let my people go, so that they may worship me, or this time I will send the full force of my plagues against you and against your officials and your people, so you may know that there is no one like me in all the earth. For by now I could have stretched out my hand and struck you and your people with a plague that would have wiped you off the earth. But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth. You still set yourself against my people and will not let them go.'"
God's name is just.
The past couple of days have focused on the Israelites' time in the wilderness. As we journey even further back in history, we examine the end of the Israelites' time of slavery to the Egyptians.
In this passage, God has already sent a few plagues to torment Pharaoh and the Egyptians, with the express purpose of showing his power and proclaiming his name throughout the earth. Pharaoh has been resistant to God's demand of releasing the Israelites, and so now God sends Moses with yet another warning.
But this time God promises through Moses that the forthcoming plagues will be far worse than any of the ones the Egyptians have already experienced. God had been holding back for the first six plagues, but for the remaining four plagues he was going to send the full force of his power against Egypt.
Why? Because he's just. The Israelites were his chosen people, and they'd been mistreated by the Egyptians for the past four hundred years. God, in his justice, knew that the time had come for his people to be released. But Pharaoh, fearing his own safety, was foolishly ignoring the warnings.
We know from our past few days of study that the Israelites eventually received their freedom, but not before God's justice had been served on Pharaoh and God's name had been proclaimed in all the earth as one worthy of worship.
This powerful God, who has the ability to send the full force of plagues against an entire nation, has given us the honor of calling upon his just name. He will ensure justice on our behalf.
Prayer for the Day:
Heavenly Father, I thank you for your just name. I thank you that you see me when I am mistreated and that no injustice escapes your watchful eye. I pray that your name would be proclaimed in my world, and that all would see your justice in my life—as you see fit, Lord. Amen.CHAPTER 5
DAY 5: Blessed Be Your Name
You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.
God's name is precious.
When God gave the people of Israel their first law, he began with the Ten Commandments. And one of those commandments was this one: Don't misuse God's name. It's right up there with the commandments not to murder and not to commit adultery.
Misuse is a big deal.
Why? Because God's name is precious. As we discussed earlier, it is the complete summation of who he is. It is powerful—the name that is above all other names. It is not something to be bandied about. Instead it is something to be treasured.
Most of us have a treasured heirloom somewhere in our house—something that holds many special memories for us, that reminds us of simpler times. And because of everything that heirloom means, most of us keep it in a place of honor. It won't soon become an impromptu doorstop or paperweight. It won't be involved in a game of catch in the backyard. It won't be thrown in a fit of anger. No, that heirloom is treated with utmost care because it is precious.
In the same way, we are to treasure God's name and never misuse it.
His name is far too precious to be used flippantly or in anger. Let us treasure it. For it is to be treasured.
Prayer for the Day:
Sweet Lord God, I thank you for your precious, precious name. First and foremost, I repent of taking your name too lightly and for misusing it. Forgive me, Lord, for disobeying your commands. I pray that you'll give me discernment so that I may always use your name properly. Help me to treasure your name, Lord, and never to slander it or drag it through the mud by my actions. Thank you. Amen.CHAPTER 6
DAY 6: When I'm Found in The Desert Place
The Lord's anger was aroused that day and he swore this oath: "Because they have not followed me wholeheartedly, not one of the men twenty years old or more who came up out of Egypt will see the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—not one except Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite and Joshua son of Nun, for they followed the LORD wholeheartedly." The LORD's anger burned against Israel and he made them wander in the desert forty years, until the whole generation of those who had done evil in his sight was gone.
God's name is gracious.
Let's go back to the Israelites wandering in the desert. They'd made their way across the wilderness and were on the edge of the land God had promised to them, the land of Canaan. Moses sent spies into the land, one from each of the twelve tribes of Israel, and the spies came back with the report that the land was occupied by giants.
Ten of the men said there was no way the Israelites would be able to take the land, but Caleb and Joshua said it was a good land, and if God wanted to give it to them, then they would be able to take it.
Guess who the Israelites believed?
Despite all the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, the people panicked and decided then and there that God had sent them to their deaths by sending them to Canaan. They were certain that they were going to lose the fight. So God told them in no uncertain terms that because of their unbelief they would not be allowed to enter into Canaan. Instead, they were going to wander the desert for a while until the unbelieving generation died.
God didn't suddenly revoke the land from them, though he certainly could have. Instead, he had grace upon the descendants of those in the wilderness and allowed them to go in and possess the land.
What can we learn from this? Even when we sin and do wrong, even when we doubt God's name, he is still good and his name is still holy. He was true to his word in this story, and he'll be true to his word in our individual stories.
And when we forget that, he lovingly offers his gracious name and allows us the opportunity to repent and possess the land we were meant to live in.
Prayer for the Day:
God, I thank you for your grace. Please forgive me for the times I've doubted that your grace was sufficient for my troubles. I thank you that your grace abounds toward me, and I pray that you'll help me to live like Joshua and Caleb, not like the ten other spies. I want to follow you wholeheartedly, God. Amen.CHAPTER 7
DAY 7: Though I Walk Through the Wilderness
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread." Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'" Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. "If you are the Son of God," he said, "throw yourself down. For it is written: 'He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'" Jesus answered him, "It is also written: 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'" Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. "All this I will give you," he said, "if you will bow down and worship me." Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'" Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.
God's name is potent in the midst of temptation.
Forty days and nights. That's a long time to go with no food. Most of us get pretty weak if we skip breakfast or miss lunch, but Jesus was going toe to toe with the Devil with his stomach most likely emptier than we've ever experienced.
Then the Devil came bringing all manners of temptations to Jesus in an attempt to swerve him from his course of redemption. But Jesus had an answer for everything the Devil tried to use against him, and those answers came directly from previously recorded Scripture.
In a sense, Jesus was using God's name against the Devil. The Scriptures Jesus used are the history of God and how mankind is to react to him. "Live on the words of God." "Don't test God." "Worship only God." Each quote uses God's name with powerful effect.
God's name, as reflected in his Word, is a potent ally in the midst of tempting circumstances. It is a name the Devil fears, especially when we call upon it as he is attempting to trip us up.
Jesus used God's name when he was tempted; it only makes sense for us to do the same. Blessed be that mighty, mighty name.
Prayer for the Day:
Lord God, I thank you for your name; that you've provided a way out of temptation by giving me the ability to call on your name. Help me to follow your example, Jesus, when I find myself in the midst of temptation. Teach me to call on your name. Help me to remember the words you've spoken. Help me, Jesus. Amen.
Excerpted from BLESSED BE YOUR NAME by David C. Cook. Copyright © 2005 David C Cook. Excerpted by permission of David C. Cook.
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