Most of us are familiar with this Name of God, Jehovah, but did you know that it is really a ‘made-up’ name?
In Exodus 3:11-15 we read,
But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”
And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.”
Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”
God said to Moses, “I am who I am. [or I will be what I will be] This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ ”
God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘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,
the name you shall call me
from generation to generation.
The Name “I am who I am” consists of four Hebrew letters, YHWH –Yud, Hay, Vav and Hay. These are all consonants, the Hebrew text does not contain vowels. Because God’s second commandment is to not take the Lord’s Name in vain, the Jews stopped saying the Name altogether. Instead, they used the name Adonai, which means Lord. By the third century, only the high priest could utter the Name, and only once a year. Eventually the pronunciation was lost. Hundreds of years later, a group of Jewish scholars, called the Masoretes, wanted to restore the pronunciation. They took the vowel sounds – a, o, ai – and added them to YHWH and resulting in the pronunciation “Yehowah.” This eventually turned into Jehovah. Now, most Biblical scholars believe that it was probably pronounced as “Yah-weh.” I don’t think God really cares which name you use. Both mean the same thing. He is the God Who was, and Who is, and Who is to come. He is in our past (even before we knew Him), our present, and our future.
That’s some history, but what does all that really mean to us?
God was introducing Himself as the always existing God. No one made Him or birthed Him. He always was, and always will be. That whole concept can be really hard to wrap our brains around. God has always been. No one or no thing did not have it’s beginning in God. Satan cannot create anything! He can attempt to copy, but he cannot create.
When I first read the story of Moses and the burning bush, and God saying His Name is I Am, my first thought was “You are what?” Let’s explore that a bit.
Isaiah 9:6 reads,
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
This tells us that God – in the Person of Holy Spirit – is our Counselor. He guides us and teaches us. God is Mighty, strong and unbeatable. He is our Everlasting Father – He has always loved us, always will, and He cares for us and teaches us and holds us, just like a loving Papa. And He is proud of us. We are His kids! Jesus is our Prince of Peace. He has given us His peace, which is nothing like what we find in the world. We can have His peace no matter what is going on around us.
Jesus made many I AM statements. In John 6:35 we read,
Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
When we hunger for more of Him, He will always give us more of Himself. His Word feeds us and His Spirit satisfies our thirst. In the natural, we can survive weeks without food, depending on our weight, but only a few days without water. And anyone who has dieted or fasted knows that our bodies don’t like to do without. Our spiritual lives also need food and water. Many of us have “spiritual anorexia.” Starvation is not having enough food to survive. Anorexia is having food available but not eating. With Jesus, our Bread of Life, we need not suffer with either. His Word, the bible, feeds our spirit being.
John 8:12 reads,
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
This world is a dark place. And sometimes our world is dark. Maybe we need direction, or hope, or joy. He is the Light of the World. He will guide and direct. He gives hope for the future.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5:14-16, Jesus makes a startling statement,
You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
That’s us. We are to be filled up with Jesus and be a light to show others the way. It like we are lanterns, carrying His light.
And finally, Jesus said in John 14:6,
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.“
One of the main reasons Jesus came to earth was to make a way for us to get to Father God. He’d already given us the ten commandments, and a thousand more rules and regulations would not have opened that door. Jesus needed to die to save us from sin and eternity in hell. No one else did that – or even could have! We could not get to Him so He came to us and made it possible for us to spend eternity with Father God in heaven.
Is there really only one way? There are many ways to Jesus. Some come easily learning to know God’s love at a young age. Some of us come after “doing our own thing” for years, and finding out it doesn’t work, before finally surrendering to His Love and His lordship. No matter. But, to get to the Father, each individual path MUST go through Jesus, at the foot of His cross, washed in His Blood. That is where the New Life in Jesus starts.
Hebrew is very different from English. First, it is read from right to left – backwards from English. It is a pictoral language, with each letter not only a sound, but a picture of something. Each also has a numerical value. Let’s look at the individual letters.
The Heh also means “Behold” and was originally pictured as a man with outstretched arms. Can you see the picture? Behold, the nail. Behold the hand. It can also be interpreted as “Revelation through the hand with nails.”
Hmmm. Can we say JESUS? Yes!