Scripture is filled with names for God such as Father and Creator. Scripture tells us that his name “is above every name” (Philippians 2:9, NKJV). God demands that we respect his name because it is sacred (Exodus 20:7). God was serious about his name being treated reverently. He says, “whoever blasphemes the name of the Lord shall surely be put to death” (Leviticus 24:16).
In the New Testament we do not have such a warning, but we must still revere and respect his name. Yet people toss the name of God around like rubbage with no thought for their irreverence.
God calls Moses from a burning bush in Exodus 3. Moses is told that he will lead God’s people out of bondage. He asks God what name he should give to the Egyptians when they ask who sent him. God says, “I AM WHO I AM” (Exodus 3:14). The “I AM” is an astounding name that has most often been translated as Yahweh or Jehovah.
Maimonides writes, “It is everywhere a proper name denoting the person of God, and Him only. The Hebrews may say the Elohim, the true God, in opposition to all false gods; but he never says the Jehovah, for Jehovah is the name of the true God only. He says again and again, my God or my Elohim, but never my Jehovah. He speaks of the God (Elohim) of Israel but never of the Jehovah of Israel, for there is no other Jehovah. He speaks of the living God, but never of the living Jehovah, because he cannot conceive of Jehovah as other than living.”/1
John Piper writes, “Yahweh is used three times as often as the simple words for ‘God.’ What this shows is that God aims to be known not as a generic deity, but as a specific Person with a name that carries his unique character and mission.”/2
When we are told that God’s name is “I AM,” we are given some lessons to consider.
First, God is eternal in existence. The “I AM” is always in the present. No matter the place, time, age, or circumstance, he is the “I AM.” He exceeds our feeble human minds. He never changes and exists solely outside of time (James 1:17; 2 Peter 3:8). All of our so-called wisdom is frivolous compared to Jehovah.
Second, God transcends empathy. He is one of a kind and exceeds the greatest human minds and imagination (Psalm 139:7-12). Empathy means “the identification and understanding of another’s situation.” Specifically, God is above our understanding. We can never empathize with God because we can never understand him. We are told that “God’s ways are not man’s ways” (Isaiah 55:8).
Third, God is inexhaustible in energy. He is the source of everything and all plug into him. Jesus is our path to God and our resource of salvation and life that will never fail. God is accessible only through Christ (John 14:6).
The name of God is beyond our understanding, but God is still before us as a loving, personal, and giving Father. God used his son to reach down to us if we will only extend our hand and heart to him, we will find the glorious blessings of our Lord (John 3:16; Revelation 3:20; Philippians 4:7).
Reverence the Name of God