Tag Archive | Moses

I AM WHO I AM

“And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the sons of Israel and say unto them, The God of your fathers has sent me unto you, and if they say to me, What is his name? What shall I say unto them? And God answered unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM. And he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the sons of Israel: I AM (YHWH) has sent me unto you.” Exodus‬ ‭3:13-14‬ ‭JUB‬‬

Today, we are looking at the name that God Himself said is His name, what has been referred to as His memorial or covenant name, I AM. This is the most frequently used name of God used in the Old Testament. First, let’s look at the context in which this name was given.

During a seven-year famine, many of the Israelites had gone to Egypt for food. We know that Joseph’s large family had stayed in Egypt, and it’s probable that many other Israelite families had done the same. Joseph and all his family had died. This is where the book of Exodus begins.

“But the people of Israel were fruitful and increased greatly; they multiplied and grew exceedingly strong, so that the land was filled with them.” Exodus‬ ‭1:7‬ (all verses in ‭ESV unless otherwise indicated)

By this time, a new king was ruling over Egypt, a king who did not know Joseph. He became fearful of the Israelites and enslaved them to build storehouse cities for Pharaoh.

“Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. And he said to his people, “Behold, the people of Israel are too many and too mighty for us. Come, let us deal shrewdly with them, lest they multiply, and, if war breaks out, they join our enemies and fight against us and escape from the land.” Therefore they set taskmasters over them to afflict them with heavy burdens. They built for Pharaoh store cities, Pithom and Raamses.” Exodus‬ ‭1:8-11‬ ‭

“During those many days the king of Egypt died, and the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help. Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God. And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.” Exodus‬ ‭2:23-24‬ ‭

God appeared to Moses in a burning bush, and called him to go to Egypt and deliver His people who groaned under the hand of Egypt.

“And now, behold, the cry of the people of Israel has come to me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them. Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.” Exodus‬ ‭3:9-10‬ ‭

Moses was reluctant to accept this call from God, and this was the motivation for the question he asked God. And the name God gave him to take to the people of Israel has been called the memorial name of God, His name to be remembered throughout all generations.

“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?” 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.’” 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.” Exodus‬ ‭3:13-15‬ ‭

In the original Hebrew of the Old Testament, I AM is written as four consonants, YHWH, known as the tetragrammaton (meaning “four letters”). YHWH was believed by the Jews to be too sacred to be uttered by sinful men, therefore it was written without vowels. In our English Bibles, it is usually translated LORD, in all capital letters to differentiate it from Adonai, Lord.

Some older Bible versions use Jehovah for this proper name of God. A group of Jewish scholars called the Masoretas used the vowels from Adonai, between the initials YHVH, opening the way to a wrong literal translation. The most likely choice for how the tetragrammaton was to be pronounced is “YAH-way,” “YAH-weh,” or something similar. The modern spelling as “Yahweh” includes vowels to assist in pronunciation.

In the Old Testament, YHWH was used most often in passages about God’s dealings with His Chosen people, the Jews. It was a reminder to them of God’s nearness and accessibility. It’s meaning is the self-existent One, YHWH has also been translated I will become whatsoever I will become. God was reminding Moses and the people he was to lead that He would be whatever they needed – the potential was as unlimited!

Kay Arthur wrote about this name of God in her book As Silver Refined.

“When you feel discouraged, when you lack courage, when you think you can’t do it … can’t handle it … can’t survive it … then remember that “with God nothing is impossible.” Remember that “I AM” is our Lord’s memorial name to all generations, including yours and mine! He is everything and anything you will ever need. You can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens you; therefore discouragement never comes from God.”

John Piper wrote, “Everything that is not God depends totally on God.Yahweh is a name that reminds us of our dependance upon God. Piper continues, “God does whatever he pleases and it is always right and always beautiful and always in accord with truth… God is the most important and most valuable reality and person in the universe.

YAHWEH

Over the next few weeks, we will be looking at some of the names that expand on Who YAHWEH is and what He can do. You may be more familiar with the pairing of these descriptive terms with Jehovah, but I’ll be using YAHWEH since it is the most likely translation of the Hebrew word. We will be looking at some names of God that combine YAHWEH with descriptive terms that tell us more about our amazing God. But let’s start today by joining Chris Tomlin and Elevation Worship in worshiping YAHWEH, the self-existent God who is above all other gods.

Never Alone: God’s Presence & His Rest

Early in July, on the day before I was scheduled to go in for an MRI on my left knee, I heard the still, small voice of God speak a very clear message to my heart. Since the pain in that knee had gone from very mild to extremely severe overnight over a month before, I was ready for some answers. But what I heard wasn’t exactly what I was asking for in prayer. Instead, the Lord clearly spoke two verses of Scripture to my heart, with the strong impression that I was going to need to hold onto these to make it through the following months in victory. I immediately opened the Bible Memory app I use as a part of my daily quiet time, entered these two verses, and began memorizing them.

The first verse was Deuteronomy 31:8, which says (in NIV84, the version I frequently use when memorizing Scripture), “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

The second verse was today’s I Am Not Alone verse, Exodus 33:14. In the same version, it reads “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”

Since that day, though God has given me several other verses that have been helpful during this time of dealing with multiple health issues, these two verses have been the ones that I’ve returned to over and over and over again. So on Wednesday morning, when I looked on our list of verses for the I Am Not Alone Bible Reading Plan to find today’s verse, I didn’t need to stop first to look up the verse in my Bible.  After reviewing this verse nearly daily since July 8th, I immediately recognized the Exodus 33:14 reference. “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.

Now, let’s dig a little deeper into the meaning of today’s verse. It contains two promises from God, first to the children of Israel to whom it was originally addressed, but as we’ll see later, also promises God has given us.

First, it says, “My presence will go with you.”

The children of Israel were on a journey. God had delivered them from bondage and oppression in Egypt, He had gone with them through a wilderness experience characterized by disobedience, dangers and drought, and now it was time for the final stage of the journey to begin, actually entering Canaan, the land of milk and honey God had promised His people.

But as Exodus 33 begins, God is not exactly happy with His people. Read these words God spoke to Moses at the beginning of this chapter.

“The Lord said to Moses, ‘Depart; go up from here, you and the people whom you have brought up out of the land of Egypt, to the land of which I swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying, ‘To your offspring I will give it.’ I will send an angel before you, and I will drive out the Canaanites, the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. Go up to a land flowing with milk and honey; but I will not go up among you, lest I consume you on the way, for you are a stiff-necked people.” Exodus 33:1-3 ESV

‭‭So what happened between verse 3 and verse 14, today’s key verse? Moses interceded before God for the stiff-necked people he had been called to lead. A part of Moses’ prayer is recorded in verses 12-13.

“See, you say to me, ‘Bring up this people,’ but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. Yet you have said, ‘I know you by name, and you have also found favor in my sight.’ Now therefore, if I have found favor in your sight, please show me now your ways, that I may know you in order to find favor in your sight. Consider too that this nation is your people.”

Basically, Moses was apprehensive about taking on the responsibility of leading God’s people into the promised land without God’s help, and he appealed to the mercy of God. He told Almighty God, “If your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here.” And today’s verse is God’s response. Moses’ prayer of intercession changed God’s mind.

As God’s people under the New Covenant, He has made the same promise to us, as the verses we have been studying this month have confirmed over and over again.

‭‭The second promise of today’s verse: “And I will give you rest.”

First, what exactly does the word “rest” mean as it is used in the Bible. There are several words both in the Old and New Testament, but for today I’m going to stick to the three that most directly apply to us.

The Hebrew word used in the Exodus 33, “nawach,” means “to rest, settle down and remain; to repose, have rest, be quiet.”

When Christ taught on entering rest, He used the Greek word anapauō” which refers not to a “rest from work” but rather to a “rest in work.” Christ’s rest is not the rest of inactivity, but rather the inner rest of living in harmony with God.

But the word used in the Hebrews passage I’ll refer to later “katapausis” more closely parallels the Hebrew word used in Exodus 33 and includes the idea of “to cease, refresh, be quiet.”

God’s presence and His rest are inseparably joined in today’s verse. But there is also something required of us to enter God’s rest. Let’s look in the book of Hebrews for a clearer understanding of the process of entering God’s rest.

For the children of Israel, this was a promise of rest from the toils and dangers of the wilderness wanderings as they entered their promised land. Unfortunately, Hebrews 3:18-19 explains that they failed to enter His rest for two closely tied reasons, disobedience and unbelief.

The good news is that the account in Hebrews concerning entering God’s rest doesn’t end with these words. Hebrews 4 begins with a promise that the possibility of entering God’s rest still stands. These verses also include a warning for us, a reminder that entering God’s rest has the same two requirements for us that it had for Israel, faith which is demonstrated through obedience.

If it’s your desire to enter God’s rest in the midst of the sufferings and conflicts that are a part of life on this earth, take time today to open your Bible and read Hebrews 4:1-13. Remember, rest is found in God’s presence, but it also requires something from us.

As you read these verses, thank God for the gift of rest that He is offering you today, but also take some time to pray and ask God to show you if there is anything in your life that needs to be dealt with so that you can enter His rest. Any unbelief? Any disobedience to something He has clearly instructed you to do in His Word? God’s rest is one of the richest gifts He has offered His children. As Hebrews 4:11 (NLT) says, “So let us do our best to enter that rest.”

‭‭On this Thankful Thursday, let’s thank God for this gift of His rest and do our best to enter that rest.