Use the Name of God
Then Jacob asked, saying, “Tell me Your name, I pray.” And He said, “Why is it that you ask about My name?” And He blessed him there. So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: “For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.” (Gen 32:29-30)
Here, Jacob is following the promise God gave to Abraham and earnestly longing for God to be with him. He is pressing on with that hope. When God said to Abraham, “I will give you this land; I will give you descendants; and I will be their God”, it was a promise that God will be with them – that God will be with man. And for this promise to be fulfilled, Jacob was returning to his father’s house in the land of Canaan after much suffering for twenty years. And on his way, he met an angel whom he wrestled with.
Though it was actually an angel, to Jacob, it was God. It was God that appeared to him. Since we now know who it really was that appeared to him, we treat it as an angel. But Jacob could not consider him as an angel but as God because the angel appeared to him as God.
The name Israel was given to him, and the meaning of Israel was this: “for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed”. He struggled with God and prevailed. It didn’t say he struggled with an angel and prevailed. He struggled with God and prevailed. At that time, Jacob asked, “Tell me Your name”. And for God to reveal His name was the same as giving Himself to him. That is why to reveal His name is the same as the promise God made to Abraham – Immanuel. To give His name means to give Himself. So for Jacob to have asked to know God’s name was an unreasonable request. How can he possibly ask God to give Himself to him? But of course, God had already planned to do that and was in the process of it. Nevertheless, it was not the time for it yet. If God is to be with man, he must know God deeply, know how to worship Him, and be mature enough. But man was not mature enough. Man had not even received the Law yet. Man needed to receive the Law in order to know the fearsome God and how to serve Him. Therefore, God could not reveal His name before man undergoes such training.
That is all the more reason why God wouldn’t be able to give His name to man to use since man doesn’t even know how to serve God. And what if God did reveal His name to Jacob at that time? How many people in his family did Jacob bring with him? His four wives and twelve sons. Including himself, there were only seventeen people. The servants don’t really count. How can God only have ten or so people as the vessels for His name on the earth? When that name is revealed in the universe, how can those ten or so people possibly handle the name of God?
Job had ten children, but how long did it take for the devil to destroy them all? It took just a few minutes. He just blew a strong wind on the house, and the whole house collapsed. And they all died in one morning. So if it’s only seventeen people, they can likewise all be destroyed in one go if the devil blows a strong wind on the house where they are. And if they who received God’s name as vessels are all destroyed, what would happen to the name which God had revealed for the first time since the creation of the world? So that shouldn’t happen, should it? Hence God needed a large vessel for His name that would not easily be destroyed by such things, one that is unshakeable. That is why, later on, they were led to Egypt, where they were protected by that strong, powerful country, and had many children to become a large nation after four hundred and something years. After that, God led them out of there. And finally, God revealed His name to them.
They were not going to be easily destroyed by another nation now that they became a great nation, and even if there was a strong gust of wind, only some of the people would die; it cannot destroy the whole nation. It was after this that God gave them His name, for they were able to handle it, and then He trained them as to how they must serve His name. The people learned how to fear that name so that they could not dare say the name. Every time the name Jehovah appeared, they read it as “Adonai” or “Lord”. Thus they learned to fear the name. However, when Jesus came, He said, “Destroy this temple!”
What that meant was the name Jehovah which was kept in the temple, was no longer to be used. And finally, the name which God had given to His Son – the name Jesus – was revealed. Through the Holy Spirit, that name comes into our spirits to abide forever. So now, those who have been thoroughly trained under the Law and have confessed that they are sinners come to repent and receive the forgiveness of their sins in Jesus’ name. And by the coming of the Holy Spirit, that name comes into their spirits so that they may be one with that name.
So, from now on, we are not only serving the name of God. When the name of Jehovah was given, people knew only to fear God’s name and serve Him. But now, when the name of Jesus is given, you don’t just serve, but you become one. It completely became one. So, you are like God, you should use it as if you were the owner of that name. From then on, in the Old Testament times, the name of Jehovah is a name to serve. It’s not my name. It’s a name to serve. So we don’t give our name to others. It’s all about to serve.
When we share our names with others, we want our names to be honoured by them. None of us would give our names to be misused. But to a very small number of people, I give my name. So I give my card, which has my name to my wife or my son so that they can use it. I am giving them my name not only to honour it but to actually use it. Likewise, to those who already serve His name, who honour and love His name, God gave His name for them to use. In Old Testament times, that name was given only to be served, but after Jesus came, His name was given to those who love His name, in order that they may use the name.
That is why the name Jesus has completely become my own name. It’s as though it is my name. And I can use it freely. I can command the demons, “Get out!” And whatever I pray for, He promised that He will grant anything I pray in His name. I worship in that name and resist the devil with that name. God gave us His name to use it. God has lifted us to be at an equal level with God. This name was originally owned only by God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. How can anyone else dare to share in His name? But God called us to be with Him and share in the possession of His name. It truly is amazing grace.
God finally gave His name to man because all the above mentioned preparation was done. When the name Jehovah was given in Old Testament times, that name was going to be preserved so long as the nation was preserved. Nevertheless, that name is no longer used anymore. Why? Although they are a great nation now, ultimately when this universe disappears, all flesh of man will be destroyed. Although they try their hardest to serve that name, their hearts are already corrupt, and therefore they cannot bring the glory that is due to the name. For this reason, God made us become born again completely and planted His name in our spirits so that it will never be lost. It will be kept eternally. If that name is within us, we cannot be separated from it even if the whole earth is destroyed. It remains with us forever. That is why God does not regret giving us His name because that name will be with us forever. So what must the people do with the name they have received? They must not only serve the name with humility and fear but have faith and use that name. We should not only fear and serve that name but realize that it is the name given to us and have the bold faith to use it. This is what God demands and why He gave us the name Jesus.
Hence how great is the grace, we have received! There is no name that God is hiding from us now. He revealed everything to us. And now He tells us to do anything in Jesus’ name. In the past, Jacob asked what God’s name is, but God didn’t grant him to know. He said, “Why do you ask my name! How dare you!” Later on, God gave the name Jehovah to Moses. But to us, He gave the name Jesus. So how great is that? Is Jacob greater or are we greater? Is Moses greater? Or are we greater? Yes, no matter how great John the Baptist was, we are greater than him because we possess this name.
So how ridiculous is it if people who possess this name have a defeatist attitude, or passive and negative mindset? God Himself abides within us, and Immanuel has finally been accomplished. That is why it said, “You will give Him the name Jesus. He will be called Immanuel”. This means God is with us. That name is with us forever. Just thinking about how Jesus’ name is within us makes us smile even in our sleep; and while we might be busy doing something, when we think about that name being within us, it brings a thrill of joy. Even though we have that name, the fact that we are unable to use it properly, the fact that we are failing to use even a fraction of what that name can do is so regrettable, and hence we pray more to obey and use that name. We know how to use computers, but we are probably not even using 1% of all the functions of a computer. Though we have smart phones with so many advanced features, after using them for a few days, we end up using only call and messaging functions.
What that name Jesus can do within us is extraordinary, and yet all that people are asking for is, “I am sick, please heal me. Help me to find a job”. They don’t use that name for greater works. Yet God wants us to use it for great works, for the works of the kingdom of heaven. Ask for whatever you wish, and it will be given to you. Hence we mustn’t set a limit ourselves but use God’s name to meet God’s expectations and do the works that are impossible for man to do. We ought to be the ones who truly use that name. We have to ask for the mysteries hidden in that name to be revealed to us so that we can use that name. We should no longer use that name to just pick ourselves up after being beaten down again and again. Rather we should have spiritual zeal and desire for greater things. We ought not to be satisfied with what we are doing right now, but petition and pray earnestly in order to do greater works and use His name.
In the end, the reward given will depend on how well we used that name. The Lord handed out talents and expected a return from each person. So when He gave us His name, He is interested in how well we use that name. We are the ones who received that name. It’s as though our father gave us his credit card and told us to use it well. When he returns, he asks us, “What did you do with it? Where did you use it?” Each person would be different. Some could’ve built up a successful business using that card; others may have just kept it in their drawers and not used it at all saying, “I’m not used to using cards. I like cash better”. Or some people may only use it to buy food. Ultimately the reward will be given according to how well each person uses His name.
Every work that was commanded to be done in Jesus’ name bears God’s honour. Thus the works to be done in Jesus’ name must not be despised. That is why driving out demons in Jesus’ name is very important. Praying in Jesus’ name likewise is important. Lay your hands on the sick and heal them in Jesus’ name. All these works were commanded to be done in Jesus’ name. So let us pray that we can become the souls who use the name Jesus effectively.
Thank You God our Father, for giving us the precious name Jesus. You gave us Your name for You knew we would serve that name, and the Lord commanded us and promised us to use that name freely. Help us not to be idle in using that name, only pretending to be humble. Instead, help us to actively use that name. Help us to always experience the works promised in Jesus’ name, and may many works and signs promised through that name be displayed. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Pastor Ki-Taek Lee
The Director of Sungrak Mission Center