Blessed Be the Name

Saturday, Nov. 12                     

I used to question why so many of our hymns seem to honor the names and titles of the Lord instead of the Lord Himself.  “Blessed Be His Name” comes to mind.  In terms of hermeneutics, this is a cultural problem.  In ancient times, names were very significant.  Names would reflect the character of the person.  Many O.T. people had their names changed, often because of a change in their character or status—Abram to Abraham, Sarai to Sarah, Jacob to Israel.  Jesus changed Cephas to Peter to reflect Peter’s leadership position among the disciples.  In our day, we call Bill Bill simply because it identifies him among other acquaintances; it has nothing to do with his character.  So I need to ignore our present cultural practice and adjust to the Biblical culture.  When we bless the name of the Lord, it is really calling attention to a title or name.  There is tremendous value in referring to Jesus as Lord, as Christ (Messiah), as Emmanuel, as the Son of God, and so on.  I think the song writers knew what they were doing.

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