Walk in the Name

Walk in the Name

I read Micah 4 this morning. Verse 5 jumped off the page:

“Though all the peoples each walk in the name of their gods, we will walk in the name of Yahweh our God forever and ever.”

It reminded me of Joshua 24:15, where Joshua drew a line in the sand saying,

“Choose for yourselves today the one you will worship: the gods your fathers worshiped … or the gods of the Amorites … But as for me and my family, we will worship the LORD.”

I wondered what it meant to actually “walk in the name of the Yahweh.” Calvin said that it’s meant to show the stark contrast between Yahweh and every other god.

“How did they derive their majesty and their power, except from the false imagination of men? … The power and authority of God is not founded on any vain device of men, for he of himself exists, and will exist, though he were denied by the whole world” (Calvin’s Commentaries, Micah, 273).

A false god has no majesty or power except that which is given it by the imagination of the dreamer. But since it is merely an object of the imagination, the power is void. To walk in the name of Yahweh is to walk under the reign of the One God who holds the planets in orbit, yet holds the hearts of men, desiring a genuine relationship with each and every person – a task impossible for a god who does not exist.

When I was 14 I stood in the city of Trivandrum (a port city of southern India) peering at an enormous temple built around a large twisted oak tree. The tree was worshiped as one Hindu god among millions. Later during that same trip, I heard fireworks that lasted for several hours. I finally asked my interpreter what was going on and he explained that the fireworks were devices meant to awaken the sleeping gods so that they could then be worshiped.

Most American Christians scoff at the god-imaginations of other cultures. But we have our own devices to awaken our sleeping gods – they’re called remote controls. They awaken our 60″ flat screen in HD so that worship can follow – they’re called credit cards and bank accounts that awaken the sleeping god of American consumerism and materialism – a god that promises to fulfill, but never cashes in on the promise – a god that has many different names, but carries the same illusion.

If we are honest, are hearts are often torn and divided in our allegiance to the Living God. If this is where you find yourself, read this verse to see how the Psalmist prayed against this tendency. Then let this Puritan prayer be the prayer of your heart today:

Lord, “I confess and bewail my deficiencies and backslidings:
I mourn my numberless failures,
my incorrigibility under rebukes,
my want of profiting under ordinances of mercy,
my neglect of opportunities for usefulness.
It is not with me as in months past;
O recall me to thyself, and enable me to feel my first love.”

P.S. As soon as I get the chance I’m reading this book by Antonio Monda. I heard about it on NPR. Yea, I know … I’m getting old!