I notice that more and more worship songs are using the name Yahweh to describe our God. I like that trend

God told Moses his name when he met him beside the burning bush in the desert near Mount Horeb. He told Moses to go back to Egypt and rescue his people. Moses was not sure he would be welcome, so he asked for God's name.

Moses said to God, "Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they ask me, 'What is his name?' Then what shall I tell them?"
God said to Moses, "I am who I am (or I will be who I will be). This is what you are to say to the Israelites: 'I am has sent me to you.'"
God also said to Moses, "Say to the Israelites, 'YHWH the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob-has sent me to you' (Ex 3:13-15).

Moses was sent to Egypt on behalf of a God named Yahweh. The people of Israel would know he was different from the gods of Pharaoh and the gods of Canaan. Moses was sent by the God of their forefather Abraham, who wanted to rescue them. "I am" means "I am present with you. God was promising that he would be present with Moses and the people as he led them out of Egypt.

In the next verse, God said something important that we have forgotten.

This is my name forever,
the name you shall call me
from generation to generation (Ex 3:13-15).

God said that he wanted to be called by the name Yahweh forever, from generation to generation. Despite this instruction, God is hardly ever called by his name these days.

In about the second century BC, the Jews decided that the name of God was too holy to be spoken. They started referring to him as "Lord". In Hebrew manuscripts, they would put the vowels for "lord" under the consonants YHWH wherever they appeared in the Old Testament. Then the person reading the scripture would say Lord instead of Yahweh.

The people who translated the scriptures into English have mostly followed the same practice. Wherever the name YHWH appears, they translate it as LORD, in full caps. Most of us do not notice, and just assume that we are referring to God as our Lord. We forget that we are reading the name of God.

But here is the question. Who should we obey: a tradition of Jews from the second century, whose obedience and understanding was patchy, or God himself. I think that we should obey God. But remember what he said.

This is my name forever,
the name you shall call me
from generation to generation (Ex 3:13-15).

The name that God said we should use was Yahweh. I think that we should start obeying him and using his name. If he said that we should use his name, then the claim that it is too holy to use is wrong. The people who go along with that claim are wrong.

The worst thing about our neglect of God's name is that we end up calling him God. That makes him sound just like any other god. The Arabic word Allah and the Hebrew word Elohim come from the same root. They are generic words for a god. Giving the name God to the one true god makes him seem just like the god of dozens of other religions. But he is not. He is the God of Abraham and the God of Jesus. He is our Father, and he has a name, Yahweh that makes him unique. Since he has sucha lovely name, surely we should use it.

Once when we called him Lord, it was a measure of respect. A Lord was a landlord or powerful ruler who was demanded respect and obedience. But that concept is now irrelevant. The word "lord" has dropped out of our vocabulary. We do not use it any more. The only lords we know are the English Lords in the UK House of Lords or the people dressed in fancy robes in British historical dramas. The word "lord" means very little to us, so it just becomes a name that we use for God. But why use a nickname, when God has given us his real name.

The word "Lord" has be captured by the world. When young people think of someone called Lord, they think of a New Zealand-born singer called Lorde, who sings a song called "Royal". They do not think of Jesus. If we speak to them about Jesus and call him Lord, they will be confused. We need better words to communicate the gospel. The word Boss would be a better word forcommunicating what we mean by Lord. If we said that Jesus was our Boss or Instructor, we might be more serious about obeying him.

The other benefit of calling God Yahweh is that no upstart rock singer with a dark tendency will ever steal that name.