Baal is a Canaanite-Phoenician word that means “master” or “lord”. (Harper’s Bible Dictionary, Miller) There were many baalim (plural of baal) or lords with different names in the Scriptures. Baal worship was worship in high places where people brought taxes to the pagan deities. Baal-gad is pronounced “Ba’al Gawd” which means the lord of fortune and should be recognized as similar to “lord god”. (Josh. 11:17) Baal-hamon means the lord of riches. (Song of Solomon 8:11) Other references can be found in II Samuel 13:23, I Chronicles 5:23, Joshua 15:9, II Samuel 5:20, II Kings 4:42-44, Judges 20:33, and Numbers 33:7. One of the most mentioned baalim is baal-peor which means lord of opening which was probably Chemosh, a Moabite deity. (Number 25:3, 5; Deuteronomy 4:3; Psalm 106:28; Hosea 9:10)
The reason that I refrain from using “lord” when referencing the Creator is because it is used in place of the heavenly Father’s name Yahweh in many translations of the scriptures. Additionally, the spoken word “lord” does not sound different when referring to the uppercase lord and the lowercase lord. The use of lord in place of Yahweh doesn’t allow for any distinction of who is being worshipped. Baal and lord refer to a number of different deities in Scripture and throughout history. It is troubling that baal is pronounced the same in all languages while Yahweh was replaced with lord. Lord and baal are interchangeable in meaning. Yahweh is not replaceable! There are a few prophecies that refer to the replacement that has happened. Let’s look at Jeremiah 23:
How long shall this be in the heart of the prophets that prophesy lies? yes, they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart; Which think to cause my people to forget my name by their dreams which they tell every man to his neighbor, as their fathers have forgotten my name for Baal. (Jeremiah 23:26-27)
Yahweh does not sanction the replacement of His name with a title. In the commandments we find that we are to have no other Mighty Ones before or in replacement of Yahweh. (Exodus 20:3) Yahweh says not to make graven images of anything in heaven above of in the earth beneath. (Exodus 20:4) The prohibition of idols is to keep us from worshipping tangible objects but as mentioned baal was often represented and worshipped through idols. Idol worship draws us away from Yahweh and toward something that we can control. Yahweh says that we are not to take his name in vain. (Exodus 20:7) Vain means to bring it to nothing. We bring Yahweh’s name to nothing by replacing it and by not giving Yahweh the respect that He deserves. Yahweh commands to be called by His name. Using baal or lord to replace a name that was shared at Sinai breaks the greatest commandment. The greatest commandment is that we love of Yahweh with all our heart and all our strength.
And in that day shall you say, Praise Yahweh, call upon his name, declare his doings among the people, make mention that his name is exalted. Sing unto Yahweh; for he has done excellent things: this is known in all the earth. Cry out and shout, you inhabitant of Zion: for great is the Holy One of Israel in the middle of you. (Isaiah 12:4-6)