Blessed be the Name

Posted on 03/15/2009 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.

AUDIO: dialup - broadband - podcast

TRANSCRIPT: (does not contain everything found in the audio above)

*** listen to the audio for introduction and prayer ***


Public Prayer Requests:


Please Lord, hear my prayer. You know how confused and pained I am...why are people so evil to one another? Please, I need to understand how to live in this world....Now that my sheltered view has been ripped apart, I dont know how to survive here anymore.
   Phoenix Serpente

I'm supposed to be out by the end of this month but I can't find a place to live that is within my budget. I don't know what to do.
   Arella Springvale

Please pray for my sick family member... that she would have strength, energy and hopefulness.
   Mixael Cabassoun

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Please turn around and click one of the offering plates by the doors, and give as the Lord leads.

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YOU ALONE

I will bow down
    hail you as king
I will serve you
    give you everything

I will lift up
    my eyes to your throne
I will trust you
    I will trust you alone

I will give you all my worship
I will give you all my praise
You alone I long to worship
You alone are worthy of my praise

MAKES ME WANT TO SHOUT

When I think about the Lord
how he saved me, how he raised me
How he filled me with the Holy Ghost
He healed me to the uttermost

When I think about the Lord
how he picked me up, turned me around
How he set my feet on solid ground

Makes me want to shout
Hallelujah, thank you Jesus!
Lord you're worthy
of all the glory
and all the honor
and all the praise!

I'M AMAZED BY YOU

You dance over me
    while I am unaware
You sing all around
    but I never hear the sound

Lord I'm amazed by You
Lord I'm amazed by You
Lord I'm amazed by You
    how you love me

You paint the morning sky
    with miracles in mind
My hope will always stand
    for you hold me in your hand

How deep (how deep)
How wide (how wide)
How great (how great)
    is your love for me

*** listen to the audio for the message introduction ***


Lord, we join with all of creation in bringing you glory, and testifying of you strength, your power, your holiness, your justice, and your amazing love!

Holy Spirit, we ask that you keep our attention focused on Jesus, as we turn to the Holy Scriptures and bend our ears to hear your voice. May the seeds of your Word go deep into our hearts, into fertile soil, so we will grow into trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord.

And we ask this in the name of Jesus.

Amen.

You can be seated.


I'm not sure how long my voice is going to last with this bad cold, so I'm going to jump right into today's message, which is titled "Blessed be the Name."

The Psalmist wrote, "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name!" This is a cry that comes from the born-again spirit, a desire to break forth in song, in word, in action, to bless the Lord, and to bless his holy name.

The exact phrase, "Blessed be the name," appears three times in Scripture.

It's easy to say these words when everything is going well and we're feeling as though we're on top of the world. But the first place in Scripture we see these words uttered finds us in very different circumstances.

God had just bragged about Job, and satan got permission to prove Job wasn't "all that." God gave satan permission to take all Job had, but not to hurt him. And off satan went.

In Job chapter one, we read about the beginning of Job's troubles, and we also find the first place in Scripture the words "blessed be the name" are written. Let's read this together; Job chapter one, beginning with verse 13.

Job 1:13-21

13 Now there was a day when (Job's) sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother's house;
14 and a messenger came to Job and said, "The oxen were plowing and the donkeys feeding beside them,
15 when the Sabeans raided them and took them away; indeed they have killed the servants with the edge of the sword; and I alone have escaped to tell you!"
16 While he was still speaking, another also came and said, "The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants, and consumed them; and I alone have escaped to tell you!"
17 While he was still speaking, another also came and said, "The Chaldeans formed three bands, raided the camels and took them away, yes, and killed the servants with the edge of the sword; and I alone have escaped to tell you!"
18 While he was still speaking, another also came and said, "Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother's house,
19 and suddenly a great wind came from across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people, and they are dead; and I alone have escaped to tell you!"
20 Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped.
21 And he said: "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return there. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; Blessed be the name of the LORD."

Now this almost reads like a Grimm Brothers' story; four times a messenger came, one right after the other, telling of the horrible things that have happened, and four times we read the words, "and I alone have escaped to tell you!"

But unlike a fairy tale, this really happened. Satan was busy. He didn't waste any time. And he made sure one person and one person only was spared so they could all dump the news on Job at once.

Do you think satan has free reign on the earth and can do whatever he wants? Have you ever heard someone question the goodness or even the existence of God because of the bad things that happen?

Well, both of these can be answered by taking a closer look at this story. First, we see something that we don't often see in Scripture, a conversation between God and satan, and permission given by God for satan to do whatever he wanted in Job's life, except to harm him.

Do you have any idea what the world would look like if God did not hold back the enemy from doing as he pleases? Of course you don't. We can't imagine. But as much evil and suffering is in the world today, it is paradise compared to what we would see if God were to remove his protection and allow satan to do whatever he wants to do.

If you were to live in such a time, you would cry out for today to return, the time when God was so obviously at work in the earth.


So with no warning and all at once, Job lost his oxen, his donkeys, his sheep, and his camels, his livelihood and riches; he lost almost all his servants, and his children.

And what was Job's reaction? We might have the reaction of falling into despair. We might start questioning God's goodness, and whether he even cares about us or is even really there. We might become angry, bitter, and full of rage.

But we see something very different here. Verses 20 and 21 say, "Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped. And he said: 'Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return there. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; Blessed be the name of the LORD.'"

Wow. And verse 22 says, "In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong." He didn't blame God. He didn't accuse God of being anything less than perfectly good.

And it's worth noting that Job did not accuse God of wrongdoing even though he believed God was doing all these things, for later we read him saying, "Though he slay me, yet will I trust him." And in chapter two when Job is struck with terrible boils and his wife is telling him to curse God and die, he says, "We accept good from God; will we not accept adversity?"

"The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord!"

May we so walk before the Lord that we can see his righteousness, and so we can know that he is uncompromisingly righteous, just, and always good; so that even if everything we hold dear is taken from us in an instant, we too will say, "Blessed be the name of the Lord!"


The third place we see these word in Scripture is in Daniel chapter two, and verse 20. I know we've skipped over the second place the words are found, but we'll close with that one today.

In chapter one, Daniel and his companions showed their faithfulness to God by obeying God's laws concerning food and drink. They were offered all the delacies of the king's table, and yet Daniel requested they eat only vegetables and drink only water.

Do you see a similarity between Daniel and Job? They both walked uprightly before the Lord. They did not compromise with sin or with anything that did not please God. And we also see, among their first recorded words, the phrase, "Blessed be the name of the Lord."

You see, a heart that pours forth these words in both the best of times and the most horrible of situations is a heart that is right with God. It is out of the abundance of the heart that our mouths speak, and if our hearts are full of righteousness and the ways of the Lord, we will speak righteousness and praise in any situation.

In Chapter two of Daniel, King Nebuchadnezzar has some very troubling dreams. He called on the wize men and magicians of the land, and none of them could tell him his dreams. The king was agry, and commanded that all the wize men in the land be killed.

But Daniel believe God would give him the answer. He and his friends prayed, seeking mercies from the God of heaven concerning the secret dreams.

And God answered their prayer. We read this in Daniel chapter two, beginning with verse 19:

19 Then the secret was revealed to Daniel in a night vision. So Daniel blessed the God of heaven.
20 Daniel answered and said: "Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for wisdom and might are His.
21 And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding.
22 He reveals deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, and light dwells with Him.
23 I thank You and praise You, O God of my fathers; You have given me wisdom and might, and have now made known to me what we asked of You, for You have made known to us the king’s demand."

I don't know about you, but so many times, when we have insight, wisdom, or knowledge, we are happy to take at least some of the credit. It makes us feel like we're something. As though we're on a "higher spiritual level" than the average man.

But Daniel did not think for a moment that it was because of any of his own wisdom or knowledge that he had been given this revelation. And as he tells the king his dreams and their interpretations, he gives glory and honor to God, the revealer of the secrets of the heart.

And as he arose from his vision with that knowledge from God that would change nations, the first words out of his mouth were, "Blessed be the name of the Lord."

Blessed be the name. Blessed be the name. What does this mean? Blessed be the name...

This phrase in Hebrew is Baruch Hashem (Bah - rak' hah shame), blessed be the name.

Baruch (bah - rak') means to bless, to kneel, to adore. Do our hearts kneel before the name of the Lord with humility and submission at all times and in all situations? Or do we rise up with pride and self-will?

None of the wise men or magicians in the entire land of Babylon could tell the king his dream. But Daniel knew the king's dream. And instead of being filled with self-exaltation and pride, he delares, "Baruch hashem!" (Bah - rak' hah shame), blessed be the name of the Lord.

When everything Job had was taken away from him and everyone he loved was slaughtered, he declares from his heart, "Baruch hashem! Blessed be the name of the Lord!" Baruch - to bless, to kneel, to adore; he knelt in humility, not demanding that his rights had been violated; he knelt in submission, submission to God even if that meant he would lose everything; and he trusted the God who gives and who takes away, choosing to receive adversity as well as blessings.


Once again, what does this mean? Blessed be the name? What is the name of the Lord?

Scripture tells us that "the name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe." But what is this name?

In Jewish tradition, the name of God was not to be spoken for fear of using it too lightly, thus taking it in vain.

And after some point in history, when the name of God, JHWH (yeh - hah - vah' ), was read aloud in Scripture, it was replaced with the word "Adonai", which means "The Lord," or "My Lord." Sometimes the word "Shem (shame)", name, or "Hashem," was used without the name of God to refer to his name, as in "Baruch Hashem (Bah - rak' hah shame)", or, "Blessed be the name."

But the name of JHWH (yeh - hah- vah') comes from the idea of being, of existence, as he said to Moses, "Tell them I AM has sent you."

JHWH means the eternal, the immutable one. He was not created, he simply is. He did not have a beginning or an end. He is the eternal one. He has not grown or evolved over time, for he is the immutable, the unchangeable, one.

We're tempted to think he's changed his ways since he commanded King Saul to kill all the men, women, and children of a certain land. But he is the unchangeable one.

We would like to believe he's changed his views since he declared that fornication meant marriage or death, and both adultery and homosexuality were to be completely removed from their land; but those things are still abominations in his eyes, and still unacceptible, for he is the unchangeable one.

That is his name. And it is this name we are commanded to not take in vain. We can take the name of the Lord in vain by our doctrines, by our beliefs or our disbeliefs, and by our lifestyles, without even uttering his name at all.

He does not change. He does not have a beginning or an end. And he is the I AM, the essense of existence, the core of all reality just as all that is real is proof that he is.

Blessed be the name of the Lord.


Baruch Hashem (bah - rak' hah shame).

Hashem (hah shame) means the name, the reputation, the fame, and the glory.

So when the name, the Hashem, of the Lord is a strong tower, we know that the reputation, the fame, and the glory of God is a strong tower, and we, the righteous, can run to it and be safe.

Even though minds can be darkened so that they don't see the glory of God, his glory is everywhere, proclaimed from every corner, declared from every mountain, whispered from every sunset, laughed from every infant, and displayed in blazing splendor from every sunrise and every distant star.

And as we see the glory, the majesty, and the awesome nature of God, we see his name, for his glory is a part of his name.

Blessed be the name of the Lord.

Are we a blessing to the reputation, the fame, and the glory of God with our words? With our actions? With how we deal with others? Do we bring him glory, or do we sometimes bring hurt to how others might see him by what we say or do?

We've all cursed the name of the Lord with things we've said and done, with our attitudes, our reactions, our self-centeredness, and our pride.

But whoever is in Christ Jesus is a brand new creation; Jesus causes the old things to pass away, and he makes all things new. Every single day can be a brand new start, as you seek God at the very beginning of the day, and seek for his presence so that you think, speak, and act in ways that bless his holy name.

It's a lifestyle, not a magic trick; you'll always have areas that need work. But as the Scripture tells us, "He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it."

Blessed be the name of the Lord.


As promised, let's close with the second of the three places in Scripture we find the phrase "blessed be the name." It's found in Psalm chapter 113. Let's read this together, Psalm chapter 113, beginning with verse 1.

1 Praise the LORD!
        
         Praise, O servants of the LORD,
         Praise the name of the LORD!
 2 Blessed be the name of the LORD
         From this time forth and forevermore!
 3 From the rising of the sun to its going down
         The LORD’s name is to be praised.
        
 4 The LORD is high above all nations,
         His glory above the heavens.
 5 Who is like the LORD our God,
         Who dwells on high,
 6 Who humbles Himself to behold
         The things that are in the heavens and in the earth?
        
 7 He raises the poor out of the dust,
         And lifts the needy out of the ash heap,
 8 That He may seat him with princes,
         With the princes of His people.
 9 He grants the barren woman a home,
         Like a joyful mother of children.
        
         Praise the LORD!


The ministry team can come to the front now.

And I'd like to open this altar. If you just want to spend some time blessing the name of the Lord, you're invited to get out of your seat and come gather at the front.

And if you know that your first reaction to whatever comes is not always to bless the name of the Lord, let your coming forward be an act of surrender and of dedicating yourself to grow in the Lord by reading and obeying his Word, and by spending time with him every day in prayer, praise, worship, and a holy life.

Perhaps there's someone here today who doesn't know Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior. Well, today is your day of salvation. Just call out to Jesus right where you are. Whoever calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved. Just ask him to forgive you and wash your sins away, and you can begin your relationship with God, clean as though you've never sinned, today.

If you need to leave, you're free to do so. If you can stick around, you're invited to gather in the room to your left for a time of fellowship after our time at the altar.

If you want someone to speak or pray with you, you can instant message someone on the ministry team, or if you're listening outside of Second Life, you can go to almcyberchurch.org, click Pastors' Offices, and contact one of us.

Come, and let's bless the name of the Lord!