The next name of God in our series! Thank you, Noah, for the amazing post!
Being a military kid, I get to move around a lot. Because of that, I meet a lot of new people. Meeting someone new almost always goes the same way. First, the person comes up, shakes my hand and asks me for my name. I reply with my name, then ask them for theirs. Next, we go on to what we do, whether that be sports, hobbies, jobs, etc. I’ll identify myself here as a Christian, a friend, a son, and a football player, to name a few. When I do this-this I’m saying “this is my identity, this is who I am.” In Exodus 3, Moses asks a similar question to God; lets take a look.
13 Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” 14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am.”[a] And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘I am has sent me to you.’” 15 God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘The Lord,[b] the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations.
Most people, non-Christian and Christian alike know this story–The story of Moses and the burning bush. I’d encourage you to read the entire chapter 3 before continuing, but we will go over it briefly. Prior to this God appeared to Moses in a flame engulfing a bush, but not consuming it. He tells Moses to take his sandals off because he stands on holy ground. God then begins to explain how he sees his people, the Israelites, in their affliction and suffering. He tells Moses that He is going to use him to set his people free from their slavery in Egypt, and this is where we pick up in verse 13.
Moses asks, “who am I to say sent me, if they ask?” God’s response is simply “I AM WHO I AM. Tell them I AM has sent you.” More literally from the Hebrew this means, I BE WHO I BE. We need to just slow down and take a moment to just feel this. John Piper helps here by saying, “God absolutely is. This is the most basic fact and the most ultimate fact, period. Of the billions of facts that there are, this one is at the bottom and at the top. It is the foundation of all others and the consummation of all others. Nothing is more basic and nothing is more ultimate than the fact that God is.”
God shows us here how we should see him. Before he ascribes a name to himself, He first lays the foundation of His BEING. So when in verse 15 when he calls himself LORD, which is often translated from the Hebrew Yahweh, it is built upon that statement that God IS. For many of us it’s easy to see Jesus as our homie, the theological term for that would be immanent. What I think God is doing here though is showing that yes he is immanent, but He is also above and over all, or transcendent. By establishing himself in this way, every time we see God name himself as Yahweh, He is bringing us back into the fact that GOD IS. He is both immanent and transcendent; He is in all and over all.
Lord God I pray that we always see you through the lens of I AM. In every area of life help us to always see you as infinitely incomprehensible yet know you intimately as our Heavenly Father. We love Lord Jesus, but help us love you more.