Focal Passages: Exodus 6:2-8; 15:1-3, 11-13
Growing up I was taught that a person’s name was more than a title given at birth. It represented a particular heritage and an expectation for the future. It was also how people identified me as a person, which included my character.
The idea that a person’s name can reveal something about one’s character and attributes is not new to us. We find in scripture that God makes Himself known to us by His name. In Exodus 6:2, God spoke to Moses and said to him, “I am the LORD.” The word for LORD in Hebrew is Yahweh, which describes God’s sovereign covenantal nature. This was not the first time God revealed His name to Moses. Earlier, in Exodus 3:14, God tells Moses that His name is “I AM WHO I AM,” which is the same word, Yahweh in Hebrew. In both passages (3:14; 6:2), God is defining who He is by the revealing of His name.
A member of our church recently retired as a first sergeant from the Marine Corps. Before his retirement, we were on base and I noticed the other Marines treated him with a great deal of dignity and respect. Because of his rank they identified him as a man with a significant amount of power and authority. In a similar way, God has revealed His “rank” to us by the giving of His name. He tells us that He is Yahweh, the one true God who keeps His promises with His covenant people and that there is no other God besides Him.
What is our appropriate response to Yahweh? The answer is found in Exodus 15:1-21. After safely crossing the Red Sea, the Israelites began to sing praises to Yahweh, the One who had delivered them from death and was true to His promises.
It should not go unnoticed that Jesus also identifies Himself as “I am” in John 8:58. The implication of Jesus’ words is staggering. The One who delivers us from our sin is the same One who appeared to Moses and delivered Israel from slavery. He truly is a sovereign all-powerful God.