Michael Youssef - Creating Intimacy
There are some here and under the sound of my voice who remember a day when a person's name was far more important and valuable than money and prestige. Now, for those of you who have not seen those days, have not experienced those days, let me tell you there was a day when a person's name was of more value than all the gold and the silver in the world. There was a day when a person's name meant everything to them. Like many of you, I grew up thinking that way. Growing up in a Christian home, in a sea of a non-Christian world, our name and our family name meant everything, because it literally represented Christ himself. But even today, there are certain names, as soon as they're mentioned, you automatically-it communicates integrity or dishonesty.
When you hear a name of a person, to this day, you're still either communicating honor or dishonor. When a name is mentioned, you immediately communicate the character of that person. Why is that? Why is that? Because often a person's name becomes who that person is and become known as who he is. The questions are often asked by many people, "What is in a name"? Now, the truth is everything is in a name. I read a story about a young couple who were expecting their first child, their first child. And you know, those of you young moms and dads know what I'm talking about. We've seen it with our kids, and they're struggling what to call the first child, what are we gonna call him? And finally, Mama said, "We'll call him Timothy". And Dad said, "Over my dead body".
Well, she couldn't understand the vehemence by which he is resisting that name. The bottom line was that when he was a boy in school, there was a bully in the playground, his name was Timmy, and he could not even imagine, he could not think of his precious little boy is gonna be referred to as Timmy, but why? Because the name represents the worst of memories growing up as a young boy. In biblical times, they named children for what they wanted or hoped that they would grow up to be. That's always you see that in the Scripture. Well, he named him this because of that, and he named him this and so forth. These are important, these names are important.
But listen to me. Not only the names are important, the adjectives that we use with our children are vitally important. They really are. Whether you use those adjectives in front of them or not in front of them, it's very important what adjectives you use to describe your children. Let me illustrate this. A first grader and a first-grade teacher who was often, you know, starts the school year asking the kids, "What do you want to do when you grow up"? Always, you know, that's always the standard with her, and she always gets the normal, you know, run-of-the-mill stuff. "I wanna be president". "I wanna be an astronaut". "I wanna be a fireman," and so on. Except for little Billy. Billy said, "When I grow up, I wanna be possible". And the teacher asked again. She said, "Possible"? He said, "Yes, because my mom thinks I'm impossible, so when I grow up, I wanna be possible".
We often label our children, so be careful. Sometimes we don't realize it, but be careful. If names are important for mortals like us, human beings, if names are important to us, I want you to think of the absolutely vitally importance in the names when it comes to God. And that is why you find that in the Word of God, as we will see in a minute, names represent a person, represents that person's mission, that person's future. And that is why when God changes the mission or the future, the future mission of a person, he changes their name. That is why God renamed Abram to Abraham. He changed Jacob to Israel. We see the Lord Jesus Christ himself, he changed Simon to Peter, and he changed Saul to Paul. Because every time there was a name change, it represented a new vision and a new mission for that person. Every time there is a change in name, it signifies a new calling for that person.
Now, hopefully by now, some of you are asking the question, "Michael, what has this got to do with the praise-filled life that you've been preaching about and we're continuing in this series"? Everything, everything, why? Because the names of God are the composite of God's self-revelation. Because the names of God reveals to us his nature, his identity, his sovereignty, and yes, his will and purpose for us. If you truly want to know God, then you must know his names.
Please hear me right. The reason God reveals his names to us in the Scriptures, and there are a whole number of them, it is because he longs in his heart for us to be intimate with him. The reason God reveals his names to us is an evidence of the fact that he wants us to praise him more fully and more completely. The reason why God reveals his name to us is an evidence that he wants us to freely enter into a deep, not shallow, which we see all around us, but into a deep and abiding relationship with him. If you ask the average person, "What is the sacrifice of praise"? they'd probably give you all sorts of answers. Some will not even know how to answer that.
But listen to what Hebrews 13:15 says. "Through Jesus, therefore, let us continuously," how often? Only on Sundays? Let us what? "Offer to God the sacrifice of praise, the fruit of our lips," as we confess his name. Question, what is the sacrifice of praise? Well, I told you in the last message that David, in praising the name of God, he literally, he's the king, he's the king of the most powerful nation at that time, but he humiliated himself before God in the praise God. He couldn't care less what people thought of him. He honored God in front of everybody, and he forgot that he was even a king, why? Because he wanted to honor God in praise.
And here in Hebrews 13 gives us the answer. A sacrifice of praise is the confession of the names of the Lord. The sacrifice of praise is the speaking of the name of the Lord in our personal lives. The sacrifice of praise is the invoking of the power of the Triune God in us, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In the last several messages that we've been looking at in this series, I have been telling you about the importance of the praise-filled life. Today I want us to practice that, and we're gonna do that. This is a very practical service, a very practical sermon. We're gonna practice it. And then I don't want you to stop here on Sunday, I want you to take this exercise and do it every day. Because praising God is not something you just do on Sunday morning.
And those of you who are taking notes, I want to give you a head's up. Start writing now, because I got nine names of God. I wanna go through them very quickly, so I don't want you to miss. And then I'm gonna come to the end and show you. But we're gonna be praising those nine names, for now anyway. And I'm gonna get you to do them in the Hebrew language, not in English, alright? Not the anglicized stuff that comes from the Latin, we're gonna do it in the original language.
The first name, and the most-used name in the Scripture of God is Yahweh. Say it with me. Yahweh means the God who's always there. Yahweh means the name of God, and it's used more in the Bible than any other name. In fact, it's used 6,800 times in both Old and New Testament. And the translation literally, Yahweh, means to be, or the ever-living God, or the self-existing God. All that means that God does not need anything outside of himself. He does not need anyone outside of himself for his self-existence.
And that is why I want you to yell with me, "Praise Yahweh". God bless you. The second name that's revealed to us in the Scripture is Yahweh-Jireh. In English we often saw Jehovah-Jireh, and then the song the kids often here, and we have to go and explain it, you know, my provider. Because I'm gonna explain to you it's more than just a provider. The word means a lot more than just being my provider. I'm going to give you the background, so you know where it came from, okay? In Genesis chapter 22, Abraham, in obedience to God, takes Isaac in order to offer him as a sacrifice on Mount Moriah. But don't miss what I'm gonna tell you, because a lot of people switch off at this point.
In verse 5 of Genesis 22 verse 5, here's what Abraham said to the servants. And again, if you're taking notes, write it down. He said, "You stay here at the bottom of the mountain while the lad," talking about Isaac, "The lad and I are going up to the mountain to offer a sacrifice". Then, here's where it comes, it's coming, are you ready for it? Then we, the two of us, are coming back. Now, if you got that, say amen. It's not I'm gonna offer Isaac as a sacrifice then I'm coming down and you'll be waiting for me. No, no, no, no, no, no; we, the boy and I, are coming back, why? Because Abraham was so absolutely confident in God's promise to him. Abraham was so fully trusting in the promise of God to him.
Abraham was totally and completely resting upon the fact that God always, always, always keeps his promises. He was abundantly confident that if he sacrificed Isaac, God is gonna raise him from the dead, and he's gonna come back with him. And so, he gets up to the top of Mount Moriah, and he gets ready, and Isaac asked the question, "Father, where is the sacrifice"? And here the Holy Spirit of God gives Abraham a word of prophecy. One of the most powerful words of prophecy ever since Genesis 3:15. And Abraham prophecies with clarity about the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ and offering himself as a sacrifice on Mount Calvary, 2,000 years later. And so, when Isaac asked the question, Abraham said, "Son, God will provide himself".
Now, there's some people, I don't want to describe them, you figure them out, would translate this as God himself will offer a sacrifice. No, that's not how it reads in the original. God will offer himself as a sacrifice. He's prophesying of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. And there is a magnificent picture of the Son of God being offered as a sacrifice for all the sinners who will repent and turn to him. That on Mount Calvary, 2,000 years later, God's Son is gonna hang on the cross and offer himself as a sacrifice. And as Abraham gets ready with his knife, he hears the voice of the Lord saying, "Don't you dare". It's a Youssef translation, but you get what I mean. Don't touch the boy. He said, "Now Abraham, I know that you completely and fully trust in my promises. I promised you Isaac. You waited for him for 25 years, now you got him".
And as Abraham looks over in the thicket, and there is a ram, and he offered him as a sacrifice. Right on that spot, Abraham builds an altar and called it Yahweh-Jireh, Yahweh-Jireh. The word "Jireh" literally, literally, and by the way, it's the same word in all three Semitic languages: Aramaic, Arabic, and Hebrew. Jireh is the one who sees ahead. Not just the one who sees, everybody can see, but it's the one who sees ahead. It's somebody high up there and he can see things you can't see.
Beloved, I want you to listen to me. I'm getting ready to meddle right now, okay? I'm gonna ask you when was the last time did you thank God for going ahead of you and rescuing you, even when you did not know it? Because he sees your needs before you do. Because he sees your needs before the needs arises. Because he sees the problem before it appears. Because he provides a solution to your impossibility before you discover them. Because he sees your difficulties and he helps you overcome them. Because he sees your temptations and he gives you a victory over them before you face them. He is Yahweh-Jireh. He sees ahead and prepares ahead, even when you can't see it.
Now, there's nothing that you are facing today, listen to me, whether you're watching around the world or here in this beautiful sanctuary. There is nothing that you are facing today, or you're gonna face in the future, that God has not already foreseen and made plans for. Yahweh is our provider today, tomorrow, and for all of eternity. And so, I want you to yell with me, "Praise Yahweh-Jireh". Amen, and amen, and amen. I can get overwhelmed, because I know, experientially, and many of you do, too, amazing how he goes ahead and makes provision before we even realize what was happening.
Now I come to the third name that God reveals to us about himself, and that's Yahweh-Rapha. And you find that in Exodus chapter 15 verse 26. Here God is making a proposal. He's literally making a proposal, offering a proposal to his people. Here's what he said to them. If you carefully listen, by the way, it doesn't mean just... there's a difference in Hebrew between listening and hearing, okay? I can hear you if you're speaking to me in a Semitic language, but I'm not necessarily listening to you.
See, in Hebrew, listening meaning obeying. I'll make it easier for you. It means obeying. Are you listening to me, Bobby, right? I used to... you ask to your kids, are you listening to me? Well, they are hearing you, but they're not listening to you. And so, God is saying if you listen, that is if you obey me, "If you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases that I brought on the Egyptians, for I am Yahweh-Rapha, the Lord our healer". Now, the word "Rapha" means to heal, to cure, or to restore, more accurate. And beloved, God doesn't only heal and restore us, healing is his name. Can I get an amen?
Healing is his name. His name is synonymous with wholeness. His name is synonymous with power for our weakness. His name is synonymous with being a balm on our wounds. His name is synonymous with healthy self-image. His name is synonymous with mending broken hearts. His name is synonymous with the renewal of our degenerate minds. His name is synonymous with restoring shattered relationships. And the greatest wholeness, of course, we're gonna experience when we see him face to face, because the Bible said we're gonna be like him. Can you imagine that day? We're gonna be like Jesus. And that is why we praise and we worship, adore Yahweh-Rapha.