Knowing Yahweh’s Name
(7) Yahweh sits enthroned forever. He has established his throne for judgment, (8) and he will judge the world in righteousness, and he will govern the peoples with fairness. (9) Yahweh will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of distress. (10) And those who know your name will put their trust in you, for you, Yahweh, have never abandoned those who seek you.
These verses contain several important repetitions for emphasis. First, the sovereignty of Yahweh’s rule is set forth by two expressions that describe his being seated forever on a throne, the place from which he dispenses “judgment” for all (vs. 7). In the next verse two more expressions point to his holiness: he will “judge...in righteousness” and “govern...with fairness” (vs. 8). In the next verse “refuge” is repeated to underline the truth that Yahweh is a protector for all who are vulnerable (vs. 9). Finally, emphasis is given to those who “know your name,” “put their trust in you,” and “seek you” because they know Yahweh never abandons those who are his (vs. 10).
Note how David’s threefold use of Yahweh’s name summarizes his understanding of God’s character. First he describes Yahweh as the sovereign judge, ruling righteously over the world from his throne (vs. 7 & 8). Then, David views Yahweh as a refuge for the oppressed, a compassionate, merciful caregiver for those in need (vs. 9). Finally, we observe a subtle, but vitally important change as David shifts from the third person to the second person, from speaking about Yahweh to speaking directly to him in prayer. With this third mention of Yahweh’s name, David personalizes the theological truths he has been setting forth and applies them to his own life and the lives of all “who know your name” in a powerful confession of faith in the one who, above all others, is worthy of our trust (vs. 10).
I. Yahweh rules the world as a righteous judge. (7 & 8)
II. Yahweh serves as a refuge for the oppressed. (9)
III. Yahweh is a trustworthy protector for those who look to him. (10)
Because Yahweh is both a sovereign judge and a refuge for the oppressed, those who know him can fully trust in his gracious care.
What does the phrase, “those who know your name” (vs. 10), really signify? To the ancient Hebrews, the name of God represented all that he was and all that he stood for. To know Yahweh’s name was to understand and unreservedly embrace what that name represented, that he is the eternal, unchanging, covenant-keeping God who is judge over all the earth and the protector of those who trust in him.
King Solomon wrote, “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run into it and are safe” (Prov. 18:10). This vivid picture of seeking refuge in a place of protection in the time of danger effectively communicates the sense of absolute confidence which those who know Yahweh can have as they face whatever trials and difficulties come their way. Knowing that the name of the Lord serves as a fortress into which we can flee for refuge at any moment whenever the need arises should anchor our lives every day.