Craig Fisher recounts the time Paul uttered the words that Jesus was nearly stoned for saying:
God, perhaps himself irritated at Moses’ desire for a more useful name, says “I AM WHO I AM.” (אֶֽהְיֶ֖ה אֲשֶׁ֣ר אֶֽהְיֶ֑ה) To understand this statement, it helps to understand how others have used it in scripture. Paul, after explaining his own unworthiness, uses the same words in Greek to explain to the Corinthians his apostleship:
1Co 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am
Paul is saying he knows that he is not worthy of this apostleship. In his checkered past, he has persecuted Christians, but God transformed him into an apostle, preaching the good news to all who would receive him. When Paul says “I am who I am”, he means “what you see is what you get”, nothing more or less. Paul is not claiming to be an immutable, simple and incorruptible god, a claim made by leading Calvinists.
For context, click here.
I believe God is wanting us to realize this truth. Coincidentally, God, during my depression in November-December, had brought up the stories of Joseph and Moses to me on Christian talk radio during my breaks and lunch at work. I ended up watching the Prince of Egypt for old times’ sake, and skimmed through Exodus. And now, my church is going through Exodus Wednesday nights. Here’s the clincher as to why I believe God wants us to know this name: He has reminded me of it time and time again. Not just Holy Spirit, not just Jesus, not just Messiah, not even just Father as amazing as He is a Father to us.. but my church came upon the burning bush scene in the Bible as we read from Exodus 3 last night. And God told Moses to go to Egypt and let His people go. Moses denied, his focus on himself “who am I?” Moses said.
God said “tell them I AM WHO I AM”, or “I will be, who I will be”. The name of our God is not just a noun, but a verb, “to be”. When Jesus answered the question of who his ancestral line was, his “father”, the Jews saying “Abraham is our father, whose yours?”. Jesus said, “before Abraham was, I AM”. They then were about to stone Him, realizing His claim to the title of God, and He wasn’t speaking of the kingdom they had in mind, that we pagans/gentiles even have in mind. God is our I AM, whatever we need Him to be, whatever He needs to be for His people. That’s the difference between our God, and false idols. Idols may give pleasures, distract us, etc.. but they don’t speak. They don’t hear. They don’t sympathize, empathize, or intervene. I AM does.
That name, YHWH, I AM that IAM, is the name of our precious God, that we can take hold of, we can claim, because He is truth. Don’t see God only as I AM, but all of His name. I AM provider, Jehovah Jireh. Father to the child, lover to the loveless, friend to the lonely, Jesus the messiah to the ensnared, etc.
Good post :)