“I am who I am.” There are no more important words than these spoken by God. All other words in the Bible are only important because these words are true.
In Exodus 3, God manifested Himself to Moses in a burning bush, so He could manifest Himself through Moses as a deliverer for His people. Because Moses’ authority was wrapped up in the God who commissioned him, he asked for His name to capture the essence of God’s character and being. In reply, God said,
“‘I am who I am.’ And he said, ‘Say this to the people of Israel: “I am has sent me to you.”’ God also said to Moses, ‘Say this to the people of Israel: “The Lord, the God of your fathers … has sent me to you.”’ This is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations” (Exodus 3:14-15, ESV).
“I am” (Yahweh, Jehovah) is written in English translations as “Lord.” It is God’s personal, self-identifying name. It speaks of Him as self-existent, unlimited, unchanging, and ever-living.
Note these distinguishing characteristics of God’s name:
God is. The name “I am” makes the most important statement about God: He exists. It is a revelation of God’s complete self-sufficiency. No one brought God into existence or shaped His identity. There is no reality outside Him that did not come from Him. There is no force or influence upon His character except what comes from Him and is controlled by Him. Nothing is more foundational to the Bible than God is. This is the basis of our faith and obedience.
God is powerful. When Moses felt the burden of leadership weighing heavily on him, he instinctively focused on who he was: “Who am I?” (Exodus 3:11). God ignored the question and instead made a statement about Himself: “I will certainly be with you” (verse 12). In other words, who I am is more important than who you are. The promise of God’s presence connected Moses to an inexhaustible source of power.
God is faithful. “The Lord God of your fathers” (verse 15) is a covenant-keeping God. He is “the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). Nothing surprises Him or forces Him to act out of character or compromise His integrity. He cannot fail. He is steadfastly faithful. His name is the rock-solid foundation of our confidence in His ongoing faithfulness.
God is eternal. As the “I am,” God exists eternally. “This is my name forever” (Exodus 3:15) is a guarantee that God’s promises are certain, and our future is secure. On this assurance, we can commit our life and base our ministry and service. God-obsessed people are an irrepressible people. We have eternity in our hearts and a passion to spread the absolute truth of who God is!
Making it Personal
- What characteristics of “I AM” resonate with you personally?
- What other names of God can you list?
- God’s name is “to be remembered throughout all generations” (Exodus 3:15, ESV). How can you apply this to your family?
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