A Message About God’s Name
Encouraged By His Name
God is not hidden from us. He reveals himself to us. It’s important to know that.
There is no obligation for God to do that. He is so above us in power and intelligence He could totally hide all around us if He wanted.
But that is not who he is. He desires to be known. And he makes Himself known – so that you can reach out for the love that he offers you.
And so he reveals himself through creation – through the design, symmetry, color, beauty and order in the universe. Everything beautiful screams at the top of its lungs, “there is a Creator.” It has happened to me more than once on a wintry summit in Colorado. The snow caps, the cascade of trees, the sun’s light filtering beautiful shades, glistening off the snow. And suddenly I know, experientially, there is a Creator.
In Our Conscience
He reveals himself through our conscience. Every human soul intuitively recognizes that God is there. Even without anyone telling you that he is there. And long before others tell you that he is not there.
When Helen Keller was 19 months old, she contracted either scarlet fever or meningitis, which blinded her and took away her hearing. As a toddler her world became total darkness and total silence. Consequently, she became a wild and untamed being.
But there was a dramatic breakthrough when she was 8 years old. Anne Sullivan was brought into her life to try to break into her silent darkness. And she did break through–in a long, frustrating process of showing Helen there was such a thing as language; that everything had a name.
Later, when Helen was 10, her father connected her with Phillips Brooks, the most famous pastor in America in their generation. The hope was that he could give her some spiritual training. In an early letter – young Helen wrote to Brooks that even in her dark, silent world she had always known about God. Even before she had any words. Even before she could call God anything, she knew God was there.
She didn’t know what He was. She had no name for Him. She had no concept of a name. But even in her isolation, she knew she was not alone. She felt God’s presence. He was already revealing Himself in her own conscience and soul.
This is true for every soul. We intuitively know we are created and that our Creator knows us.
By His Name
And he reveals himself through his word, the Word of God. And he does this in the most personal way in Exodus 3, when God speaks to Moses at a burning bush.
Exodus 3:13–14 (ESV)
Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people … 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.’ ”
This is God speaking his own name. This is honestly life-changing for Moses and for us. God has a name, it reveals his identity, it expresses his character, and it makes all his promises.
God Has A Name
We know nothing more about God than he reveals. So, he has chosen to reveal Himself through His name. In the Old Testament a name was so much more than a label – a simple identifier. A name communicated the essence and nature of the one named.
So, God offered us his name to show us his character and essence. At the burning bush in Exodus 3 he revealed his deepest self. He said, “My name is ‘Yahweh’ – ‘I am that I am.’”
What Does That Name Mean?
It means “I actually exist.” His name is a contrast. His name says “I’m a living God, as opposed to all those dead idols that you constantly go after to be the center of your lives.” This means that you can have a relationship with a God who is eternally alive and who keeps every promise to bring meaning, security, significance and love into your life.
It means he is self-existent. Nobody created him. He is eternal. He was neither born from someone else – nor will he ever grow sick and die. He has the ability to give you a life full of abundance that will never end when you embrace Christ as the leader of your life.
It means he is utterly sufficient – the name means “I will be that I will be” – it is a promise of sufficiency for whatever we face or need in the future. The future is unknown and unsure to us. It is not unknown or unsure to him. It means you will never face anything in the future that he can’t handle.
His name is the essence of who he is – and it means he is all we need.