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Exodus 3:13-15

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.” 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, 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.

I AM Who I AM

If we believe who God says He is in His name, it will make us trust Him

Moses encounters God. God had revealed Himself to Moses through the burning bush and He had announced to Moses that He was going to make him His spokesman to Pharaoh and to make him His leader for Israel. It is tempting to read this very familiar passage and focus solely on God’s servant Moses: humble, willing, unqualified (yet, qualified by God) to fulfill an extraordinary mission. But the passage is not so much about Moses: it is about God – who He is, and what He will do for His people.

Exodus 3:13  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?”

Note that Moses was not asking who God is, they know who God is. Moses was asking about God’s character, His qualities, His essence.

Exodus 3:14  God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”

“Before I give you my name, understand my being.” God was saying, “I absolutely am.” God is who He is. He stands apart from Creation as the One who created it. He is self-existent, and not only that – He is ETERNAL. Are we stunned by God’s self-existence and eternality? Don’t presume anything upon God – He is the Creator and Sustainer of everything, and so, we need to have a much humbler view of our finite, dependent selves. This is the first, foundational, truth to grasp and is of infinite importance.

Exodus. 3:14b  And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I Am has sent me to you.’” 

Notice that God still has not given Moses a name. He’s building a bridge between his being and his name. God puts the statement of His being in the place of his name. What should you say to the people of Israel? Say, “I Am has sent me to you.” The one who is — who absolutely is (self-sustaining and eternal) — He sent me to you.

Exodus 3:15 God also said to Moses, ‘Say this to the people of Israel, The LORD, 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 [Y-hw-h], and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations.”

Now God moves from being to naming – now we’re talking WHO not WHAT. God gives His name and it’s almost always translated “LORD” (in all caps) in our Bible. In Hebrew, pronounced something like “Yahweh,” and is built on the word for “I Am.” Every time we see “LORD” in our Bible we should be reminded that this is a person’s name, which is built out of the word for “I Am.”

Grasping the fullness of God’s name should affect our daily living because People who know God’s name trust Him. Four  truths emerge from our passage…

GOD IS

“I AM” speaks to God’s eternality and self-existence, AND nothing is more basic, and nothing is more incredible than the fact that God is. Most people live as if this were not true – even those who profess Christ; He’s “out there” for people, but His power, sovereignty, and Lordship is largely ignored. Christians cannot live this way. “I AM WHO I AM.” God is who He is! Nothing is more foundational to our life or our marriage or our job or our health than that God is. Nothing is more foundational to our universe than that God is.

GOD IS…ETERNAL

He was not created; He has always existed, and He always will; no other being possesses this attribute. He is therefore set apart from Creation. Eternal God will judge sinners one day. Are you living according to this humbling reality of “I AM?”

GOD IS…UNCHANGING

If God is “I AM WHO I AM” then that implies constant existence without change. This is, in theological terms, the doctrine of immutability. Are you encouraged by His IMMUTABILITY?  We can be confident in His faithfulness.

GOD IS…WITH US (John 8:56-58)

In these verses Jesus affirmed His eternality and co-existence in the Godhead. He was there at Creation and yet, God the Son came down and dwelt with us. In Christ we can know the God who exists, who is ETERNAL, and UNCHANGING.  In Christ we know Jehovah – “I AM WHO I AM.”

When people say things like, “I like to think about God like…,” or “I think God is…” or “I don’t think God would…” – they may not realize it, but they’re defining God. Finite, dependent man cannot define infinite, eternal, self-existent God.

God said to Moses (Ex. 3:13-15), “Don’t come with your preconceptions of what I’m like. I AM who I AM. And I’m about to reveal just how awesome I am to you. But you’re going to have to watch and learn. Stand still and see the revelation of the Lord.”

  • He IS…ETERNAL, IMMUTABLE, WITH US (Emmanuel – God with Us)
  • He IS – SELF-EXISTENT, INDEPENDENT, SOVEREIGN.
  • He is the L-O-R-D; J-E-H-O-V-A-H.
  • He is “I AM WHO I AM”

(Mark 12:17)  God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘The LORD, 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.

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