Often one of the first things that we examine when we try to understand who God is, is the many names of God. There are many, Adonai, Elohim, Yahweh, El Roi, El Shaddai and many others. Each name has to do with what God has done or with attributes of his character. But one of those names basically includes what all of his names mean and more. That name is the I AM.
Popeye the Sailor Man says “I am what I am and that’s all that I am.” He was saying, I am who I am. Maybe another way to say it is what you see is who I am. French philosopher Rene Descartes (1596-1650) said this; “I think therefore I am.” He is often quoted or his quote is altered for given situations; “I eat therefore I am,” etc. He was saying because I have consciousness, I must be alive, I apparently exist.
On a tall mountain one hot day in the desert, about 3500 years ago or so, Moses saw a bush on fire but not burning up and went up on that mountain to see what in the world was going on. It was a curious thing, and got even more bizarre because of what he encountered, or rather, who he encountered and how when he got to where the bush was (Exodus 3 & 4).
In 3:6 God introduced himself to Moses this way, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Issac, and the God of Jacob” At this Moses hid his face. He knew he was in the very presence of God, YHWH. A ways into their conversation, after God told Moses that he was sending him to lead the Children of Israel out of slavery to the Egyptians, Moses, trying to offer objections, said, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?” (3:13). Here’s what God said;“I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites,: I AM has sent me to you.’ God also said to Moses, ‘Say to the Israelites,’ ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers-the God of Abraham, the God of Issac, and the God of Jacob-has sent me to you. This is my name forever the name by which I am to be remembered from generation to generation'” (3:14-15).
The I AM. That’s who God is. The meaning goes something like this, “I Am the Being.” “I Am the self-sufficient, self-existing One.”
Another way to realize who God is is to look at a couple of verses in Revelation. “‘I Am the Alpha and Omega,’ says the Lord God, ‘who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty'” (Rev. 1:8) and the worship of the four living creatures who, Revelation says never stop saying, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come” (Rev. 4:8).
He who exists outside of time and space, who lives according to his own life, is involved with us. He was involved with the Patriarchs, Adam, Enoch, Noah, Abraham. He was involved with Israel. He is involved currently with the church. These all honored and worshiped him, but he is involved in all of creation. He created the world and everything in it (Gen. 1, 2 & 3). He sustains this world, keeping it functioning and living (Heb. 1:3). He reaches into our lives to bring us into relationship with him through Jesus (Hebrews 1:1-4).
Names have meaning. Names have significance. Learn the meaning of names in the Bible and you’ll gain understanding into that person or about the event or meaning of what is being revealed. Abram meant “great father.” God changed his name to Abraham with means, “father of a multitude.” My first name means “God’s Peace” or “Peace of God,” and my last name means “descending one.” Therefore, my name means “The Peace of God Descending.” I like that. In fact, that’s what seems to happen to people around me, they experience God’s peace through my faith, my hope, my joy, my encouragement, etc.
God’s name tells us he is the God of Wonders. Wonderful in love and compassion, wonderful in care and help, wonderful in hope and provision, wonderful to forgive and save. Wonderful you are O Lord.
He is identified by his name and his name reveals who he is.
All Scripture passages from the New International Version of the Bible.