Sunday, May 29, 2022

The Name of God (Exodus 3)

And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you’ ” (Ex. 3:14).

Polls indicate that about 95 percent of Americans believe in a nameless, impersonal god who demands nothing from them. Contrary to this belief stands the teaching of Christianity (Judaism, as well). God revealed Himself to Moses in Exodus 3:12–15. He declared that He had a name—Yahweh. By having a name, God has revealed that He is personal, that His creatures can have an intimate relationship with Him. God is not far off in the distance somewhere, uninvolved in the daily activities of His creatures. He is personally involved in everything that happens.

Though we are made for a personal relationship with God, in our fallen and unredeemed state we are estranged from God. Our relationship with Him is not one of glorious communion, but of hostility and enmity. Only through Jesus Christ can that relationship be healed. Only through Him can we experience the true intimacy and love that comes with divine communion.

When God revealed His name to Moses, He became known by that name from generation to generation. The more we understand about His name, the more we know about God. Yahweh has been given a variety of interpretations. Harvey Cox, the author of The Secular City, said it means, “I will do what I will do,” emphasizing God as activist who calls for liberation in society. Process theology interprets God’s name to mean “I will be what I will be,” implying that God is changing. This, of course, is contrary to Scripture, which says that God is unchangeable in His nature.

Classical Christianity asserts that God’s name means “I am who I am” (Ex. 6:2, 3). This carries many weighty implications. First, God is self-existent. He is dependent on no one. If we approach God in worship thinking He needs us, we are worshiping an idol, not the God of Scripture who has declared Himself to be independent of all things outside of Himself. Second, only God has the power of being within Himself. This means that we are completely dependent on God for everything. To approach God in worship thinking we are not dependent upon Him brings reproach on His name. Our worship must reflect the true essentials of God’s nature and not fabrications of our own imaginations.

Today write down as many attributes of God as you can. Use a concordance or cross references to help. Think about how these various qualities of God cause you to praise and worship Him. Take this list to worship and during the time of preparation mediate on God’s character and praise Him for who He is.