I overheard a bit of a conversation this week. One woman was explaining to another the names of God. “God has many names,” she said, “but what does He call Himself?” The two drifted away and I never heard her response.
In my own mind I was drawn to the conversation between Moses and God in Exodus 3. God was just explaining to Moses that He had a very important task for Moses to accomplish. The task was to go to the Pharaoh of Egypt and demand the immediate release of the people of Israel who had been in captivity, living as slaves among the Egyptians. What a task! I sympathize entirely with Moses as he was shaking in his sandals.
Moses tried his very best to get out of the situation but failed in every attempt. You see, when God has a plan for us, every other plan we can think of, just isn’t good enough. There is no better plan for your life or for mine than what God Almighty has designed. His perfect plan doesn’t mean it won’t be scary along the way, but it means it will also be filled with God’s own peace and joy and courage and guidance. How do we know that? Because of God’s name.
Look at Exodus 3:13. Moses says to God, “‘If I go to the people of Israel and tell them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,’ they will ask me, ‘What is His name?’ Then what should I tell them?'”
Now look at God’s response in the next verse. God says to Moses, “I Am who I Am. Say this to the people of Israel: I Am has sent me to you.”
That is an amazing statement! Why exactly? To better understand, let’s take note of what God doesn’t say. He doesn’t say, I Was. Nor does He say, I Will Be. He says, “I Am.” Why is that so encouraging to us today?
Like Moses, you and I get nervous at some of the things God asks us to do. Perhaps, like Moses, we point out to God how someone else would be better suited for the task. Maybe we even argue with God. It’s possible we even hint to Him that He got it wrong this time. Of course, God never gets it wrong, and we know that in our heart of hearts. Therefore, God reminds us of His name for our great encouragement.
You see, when God says, “I Am,” He is saying: If you need comfort today, then I am comfort. If you need courage today, then I am courage. If you need guidance today, then I am guidance. If you need wisdom today, then I am wisdom. If you need joy today, then I am joy.
Do you see the beauty of His name? If His name were, I Was, then all hope of what we need for today would have already passed us by. If His name were, I Will Be, then all hope of what we need for today would be just a painful wish. How delightfully perfect that His name is indeed, “I Am.”