Our Great “I Am”
September 11, 2023
“God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.” Exodus 3:14
Many of us go by multiple names without realizing it. Teachers at work may go by Ms., Mrs., or Mr. But, at home are referred to as mom, dad or just simply their own name. Some names we pick, some are given to us and others we introduce ourselves as. Personally I can think of 4-5 names that I go by on a weekly basis. Each one is used specifically for a certain context or person.
Which name we introduce ourselves with, has weight and the same is true with God. Exodus 3 tells the story of Moses and the burning bush and in it we read about God revealing his name to Moses. Moses has just been instructed to speak with Pharaoh on God’s behalf and ask him to let the Israelites go. He is understandably overwhelmed by the call. So he asks, “who should I say has sent me?” God responds by revealing his name. Exodus 3:14-15, says “God said to Moses, “I am who I am This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you…. This is my name forever, the name you shall call me, from generation to generation.”
“I am who I am”, reminds me of when kids ask why they have to do something and are told “because I am your mom”. While the comparison is trivial the idea is similar. In this statement God is telling Moses that he is God. He doesn’t come from someone or something. He just is. Moses only needs to tell the people that “I am” has sent him because that name is important.
To fully understand the significance of this name, it helps to understand the Hebrew. In Hebrew this phrase “I am” can be written as “Hayah”. This is a different form of the root for a familiar name of God, “Yahweh”. Scholars say that this name of God was actually written as “YHWH” and was considered so sacred that it was only breathed, not spoken. Even scribes were careful not to fully spell the word. So, they added other vowels, to make it “Yahowah”, which has often been translated to Jehovah. In English translations both Yahweh and Jehovah are translated as LORD with all capital letters to reveal the significance of the name.
Whether translated as Yahweh or Jehovah, this name reveals the greatness of God. It is used more than any other name for God and appears in the Bible over 6,000 times. It speaks of God’s utter holiness, and complete otherness. It reveals that he is unlike us. He alone has existed for all time. Yahweh demonstrates God’s all-encompassing power, divinity, and sovereignty. He is truly the name that is above all other names.
God revealed himself to Moses and to us as Yahweh, our holy God who is above all else. He exists outside our human limitations. He is more than our minds can imagine. He is greater than our circumstances and goes beyond any box we may try to construct for him. Our Heavenly Father, who knows us each personally, is Jehovah. His holiness is a humble reminder and an invitation.As you go throughout your week, remember the complete majesty and holiness of your sovereign Lord. As you do, let his holiness bring you to your knees in both humility and worship.
Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth. You alone are above all things and you alone are holy. We thank you for the reminder today of who you have revealed yourself to be. May the truth of your eternal power and existence prompt us to worship. Because we know that you alone are worthy of our praise. We pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Spiritual Care Coordinator
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