by Ken Rolheiser
Breath of God gives life

There was a moment when Moses had the nerve to ask God what his name is. God was gracious enough to answer, and the name he gave is recorded in the original Hebrew as YHWH. Over time we added an “a” and an “e” in there to get YaHWeH, a word we can say aloud. But scholars and Rabbi’s have noted that the letters YHWH represent breathing sounds, or aspirated consonants. When pronounced without intervening vowels, it actually sounds like breathing. YH (inhale): WH (exhale). 

A baby’s first cry, his first breath, speaks the name of God. A deep sigh calls His name – or a groan or gasp that is too heavy for mere words. Even an atheist would speak His name, unaware that their very breath is giving constant acknowledgement to God. Likewise, a person leaves this earth with their last breath, when God’s name is no longer filing their lungs. So when I can’t utter anything else, is my cry calling out His name?

Being alive means I speak His name constantly. Is it heard the loudest when I’m the quietest? In sadness, we breathe heavy sighs. In joy, our lungs feel almost like they will burst. In fear we hold our breath and have to be told to breathe slowly to help us calm down. 

When we’re about to do something hard, we take a deep breath to find our courage. 
When I think about it, breathing is giving God praise. Even in the hardest moments! 
This is so beautiful and fills me with emotion every time I grasp the thought. God chose to give himself a name that we can’t help but speak every moment we’re alive. All of us, always, everywhere. Waking, sleeping, breathing, with the name of God on our lips. - Unknown Author

“The breath of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life” (Job 33:4). You never have to wonder where God is. Breathe in God’s grace and breathe out his presence. “In God I move and breathe and have my being” (Acts 17:28).

When the prophet Elijah was looking for the Lord, there was a great wind. But God was not in the wind. After that an earthquake, then a fire, but God was not there. Finally, the sound of sheer silence. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. (1 Kings 19:11-13).

Elijah found God in the quiet of the breeze. God breathed life into us in creation. In God we move and breathe and have our being. (Acts 17:28.) Elijah is a great model of God’s life in us. When Elijah was born, his father Sabbas saw angels of God hovering around the child, wrapping the child in fire and feeding him flames. 

That was a foreshadowing of Elijah's fiery character and his God-given fiery power. Elijah displayed the power and authority of God. At his word, there was no rain for three years and six months. He called fire down from heaven to consume the sacrifice to God. He brought a widow’s son back to life and her jar of oil never ran dry.

Elijah is a model of God in us. His very name stems from the Hebrew “Jehovah is my God.” Elijah was present at the transfiguration along with Moses. Elijah left the earth in a fiery chariot drawn by fiery horses. 

Waking, sleeping, breathing, forever we have the name of God on our lips.

(593 words)