When [Yahweh] saw Moses coming to take a closer look, [Elohim] called to him from the middle of the bush, “Moses! Moses!”
“Here I am!” Moses replied.Exodus 3:4 (NLT, names of God added from OJB and other sources)
Yahweh: I Am, self-existent One
This is The Name. In the Orthodox Jewish Bible, it is now written as Hashem, “The Name.” This is the one name of God that His chosen nation dare not utter with unworthy lips. It is that holy; it is that His. I have already written some about this name from Genesis.
What does it mean that God declares Himself “I Am”? How can that be someone’s name? When I first heard that God called Himself “I Am,” I didn’t understand; “I Am” what? I thought someone had accidentally left off the ending! It took me many years to understand that “I Am” is a complete sentence, and a profound one.
This name, this one, profound, simple name tells us so many things about God, and leaves room for all the things it cannot say; for a God as complex as ours, only a wide name will do. Here are just a few of the many things the Name says about Him:
- God exists. Many are the souls who have decided what they do not see does not exist; this name clears that debate up in a hurry. Oh yes, God is real. Of all the things in this entire universe, He is the most real; only He is noncreated, indestructible, and enduring through all time.
- God exists in the present tense. He’s not a relic of an ancient world, passed away like the crumbling buildings and ancient roads we can sometimes find left behind. He’s not some distant future waiting in heaven to punish us for all the wrong we’ve done on earth, like a parent waiting at home for a report card from school. No, He’s here. He’s always here, right here, with us, present. ❤
- Since God is real and since He is present, His existence and presence are of utmost importance in our own lives. We run no chance of avoiding Him, and so He must be related to in some way. Our method of relating is up to us, but God must be faced.
And when did He choose to tell Moses all those things? When Moses had given up. When Moses had lost belief in anything, everything, and his things most of all. Moses had tried to help the Jews (wasn’t that his purpose?) – and failed. Failed beyond failure, run away, fled in utter terror into hiding in the desert, and settled into exile. He, the prince of Egypt, was out tending his father-in-law’s sheep – a lower-than-low profession in the eyes of many people of his time – while he bided his time until he could go home to his wife and live his simple, mundane, humble life.
Until this moment, when the God who is real – the God who is present – showed up suddenly and said, “Face me.” Face me, because Yahweh; I AM. And Moses, who had avoided the gaze of God for so long, had to look Him in the face and not ignore Him anymore.
Moses is not the only one who tried to keep God at arm’s length – who knew of Him without knowing Him. It is easier to talk about God than to talk to Him sometimes. He asks us to do some scary things, like go back to the people we’ve sinned against (Pharaoh, the Egyptians, and the Jews, if you will) and tell them about Him. But however scary, there will come a point where we must look Him in the face. It is unavoidable; it is Who He is, Yahweh.
Thought seed: Have I been avoiding God, and if so, why and how? What scary thing do I think He will ask me to do that I cannot do? What is it that’s scaring me away?