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  • Writer's pictureTrey Harper

Say, "God"

I am working on learning Hebrew. It is terrifically difficult, and I do not know anyone with whom I can converse the language. I have a series of video lessons, given to me by my father-in-law. But the professor moves so fast. For aid, I search YouTube for other tutors. While watching a reading of the second chapter of the book of Ruth, I could not help but notice the frequent use of the name “Adonai” by Boaz. (Technically, Boaz pronounces the name of God, but in modern Hebrew Adonai is used in place of the name of God as a sign of reverence. Adonai means “The Lord” or “My Great Lord”)

Boaz greets his laborers “Adonai be with you”, and they return the greeting “Adonai bless you” (Ruth 2.4). Later in the chapter, Boaz pronounces a blessing to Ruth (Ruth 2.12). This blessing calls not upon God, but upon Adonai (again, using the name of God) to bless Ruth and her efforts. I understand that Boaz was speaking several hundred years before using the name of God became a social taboo, however, the name of God is used fifteen times in this short, four-chapter book. (“God” is a title, meaning “strong one” or “mighty one”, not a name)

We should absolutely revere the name of God. His power, His sovereignty, His holiness, yes, show respect always. With that in mind, He is our strong one. He loves us so much He sent His only Son to die for us so that we could become His children. We need not shy away from at least speaking His title. Adonai is a respectful name we could use. The English equivalent of Adonai is “Jehovah”.

In times past, it was considered respectful to always refer to someone by their surname, preceded by “Mister, Mistress, Miss”, etc. If the relationship deepened, the first name was used instead. Hence the phrase, “we are on a first-name basis”. Again, be reverent, always, but- let people know you have a deep relationship with your God. That, He is not terrifying to you, rather, that you love Him and more especially; that you represent Him. That you can speak for Him (1 Peter 4.11). And that you do not fear His condemnation (Romans 8.1). Moreover, speak His name, so that His name is on your tongue. Squeeze your heart so that His name drips from your tongue. May my Adonai be with you.


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