Summary: The secret that lies behind God`s Name
"I AM"! What a strange name for a God! Surely there`s a better name for God than that. Look at the Who`s Who of the gods, Ashteroth, Baal, Chemosh, Dagon, those are names you can get your teeth into. But "I AM"? (Yahweh in the Hebrew). That comes pretty low in the pecking order - only Zeus comes after Him.
Fancy going to Pharaoh, the Egyptian King, who has been making your life hell, and saying to him "My God commands you to set my people free", which wouldn`t be so bad if you were a person of towering personality. But you are Moses and you have a stammer and you`ve been chased out of your country for murdering an Egyptian, but now you`re here telling the King he`s got to let the Israelites go, when they are his work force!
And how would you feel if, having delivered your message, Pharoah replies "And who IS your God", and all you can say is "I AM"..... how far do you think THAT would get you?
But, having confronted Pharoah, does he respond by crumbling at the power of your message or the power of the Name behind it? Not on your life! He makes life more hellish for the people of Israel. So, what does "I AM" do next? Blood, Frogs, Gnats, Flies, Boils, Hail, Disease, Locusts, Darkness.......... and then this God, the New Testament God of LOVE, kills all the first born sons of the Egyptians - powerful it may be, but loving it is NOT! What kind of a God is this God "I AM"?
The people of Israel must have been asking themselves this question when "I AM" finally set them free to leave slavery in Egypt and go out into the wilderness. But, when they get there what do they find? The Promised Land? No! The Red Sea in front and the Egyptian Army behind, for Pharoah has changed his mind. Not even his son`s death has convinced him that he would be better off without the boil of this nation on his back-side, so he changes his mind and sends his armies after them to bring them back to slavery in Egypt (or to kill them).
Now, when the people of Israel look back and see the army coming they say to Moses, "WHY?"..... "Why did you lead us into this trap? We`d have been better off back in Egypt. At least there was more food there than in this barren wasteland". But Moses faith has grown with each miraculous intervention, and so has his understanding of the Name "I AM". Moses now knows that the Hebrew God was speaking in Hebrew concepts when He gave His Name to Moses, speaking in terms that Moses ought to have understood straight away, but didn`t.
You see, a NAME to the Hebrews meant far more than a name means to us. When we give our children names we don`t often think, "Does this name have any meaning?". Ann means "beloved", Catherine means "pure", David means "a man after God`s own heart" - these are the names Jill and I gave to our children and the hopes we placed in them.
But a NAME for the Hebrews went much deeper than HOPE, it spoke about REALITY, about the essential inner quality of that person. So "Abram" (father of height) was given a new name "Abraham" (father of a multitude) after he placed his life in God`s hands. It was a new "CHRISTIAN" name, you could say. It said what he WAS, and what GOD PROMISED HE WOULD BE!
Jacob, because he was the second son of Isaac, was named "following after", or "supplanter" because he cheated his elder brother out of his birthright. But God gave him the name "ISRAEL" (which means `ruling with God) after God had changed his personality.
So, when Moses asked God "Who shall I say sent me", and God replied "Tell them I AM has sent you", He was revealing something deep and personal about Himself, (You could call it THE INNER SECRET OF GOD), and it was at the Red Sea, with the impassible barrier in front, and the impossible situation behind that God revealed this inner secret to Moses, and Moses to the Israelites.
"The situation we face is impossible, but there is nothing impossible to God. The barrier we face is impassible, but, when God tests us He also sends us His EXODUS, a way of escape that no-ne can see except with the eyes of faith. So look now to see it. Ask `Where is GOD in this impossible, impassible situation where there is no hope and everything seems dark, and when you look you will find that GOD IS HERE".
Yes, God`s Name is "I AM". It is a Name which reveals His essential quality. It is a Name which tells us that God is with us NOW, whatever that NOW contains.