On this Good Friday I want to share something with you that was brought to my attention this week. It concerns the name of God — Yahweh. In Exodus 3:13-15, when Moses asked God His name, God replied, “Yahweh,” meaning, “I Am.” Scholars explain that the name speaks of God’s self-sufficiency and self-existence. He is dependent upon no one. However, everything that has breath is dependent upon Him. In Hebrew there are no vowels in the name. It is YHWH. Language scholars added the vowels in their translation of Scripture to make it easier for us to speak it. In actuality, no one really knows how it is pronounced. This being said, I now share with you an excerpt from author, Sandra Thurman Caporale. I hope it blesses you as it did me.
“Scholars and Rabi’s have noted that the letters YHWH represent breathing sounds, or aspirated consonants. When pronounced without intervening vowels, it actually sounds like breathing. YH (inhale): WH (exhale).
So, a baby’s first cry, his first breath, speaks the name of God. A deep sigh calls His name – or a groan or gasp that is too heavy for mere words. Even an atheist would speak His name, unaware that their very breath is giving constant acknowledgment to God. Likewise, a person leaves this earth with their last breath when God’s name is no longer filing their lungs. So, when I can’t utter anything else, is my cry calling out His name? Being alive means I speak His name constantly. So, is it heard the loudest when I’m the quietest? In sadness, we breathe heavy sighs. In joy, our lungs feel almost like they will burst. In fear, we hold our breath and have to be told to breathe slowly to help us calm down. When we’re about to do something hard, we take a deep breath to find our courage. When I think about it, breathing is giving Him praise, even in the hardest moments! This is so beautiful and fills me with emotion every time I grasp the thought. God chose to give Himself a name that we can’t help but speak every moment we’re alive. All of us, always, everywhere are waking, sleeping, breathing, with the name of God on our lips.”
When God told Moses His name, He also said in that same Exodus passage, “This is my eternal name, my name to remember for all generations.” This weekend, as we celebrate Jesus’ victory over sin and death — may we be conscious of our every breath praising Him.