from the devotional book, PICTURES OF GOD
Exodus 3:13-15; 20:7; Leviticus 22:32-33
In Exodus 3, God is calling Moses to a huge task, and Moses is hesitant. He asks, “If the Israelites ask me the name of the God who sent me, what should I say?” Moses would be coming to them making an immense, unbelievable promise: to free an entire race of powerless slaves from one of the most powerful, most ruthless rulers on earth. So what Moses wants to know is, “What God can make such an outlandish promise and actually fulfill it? What name will make them believe me?”
God’s immediate response: “I AM WHO I AM…Tell them ‘I AM’ sent you.”
Names are significant in the Bible. A name is more than just a verbal handle. Names represent who the person truly is – their nature, their character, and their destiny. In God’s case, He is incomprehensible, far above anything we could discover on our own. But each of His many names reveals something about Him. Here, “I AM WHO I AM”, or simply “I AM”, are versions of the name God chose for Himself: Yahweh (sometimes rendered “Jehovah”).
So what does this name – I AM WHO I AM, I AM, or Yahweh – suggest about God? How do they reveal an Almighty God who can deliver on any promise He makes, no matter how outlandish it seems?
- “I AM” says that God is self-existent. All existence, all being, flows from Him.
- All other names are derivative: “Light,” “Healing,” “Wisdom,” “Sun,” or whatever. They all take their meaning from some object or some human context.
- God is not derivative. He does not derive from or depend on anything or anyone else. He is before all things. He conceived and created all that is. Everything is less than Him and derives from Him, not the reverse.
God is holy…separate…transcendent. Therefore His name, His identity, is holy as well.