Posts tagged “The Great I Am

The Names of God – Yahweh

Continuing our ‘Names of God’ study, today we look at the promised name of God.  The name, according to Orthodox Jewish tradition is so full of majesty and considered so ‘other’ and too holy to even utter, that when reading from the scriptures the name is verbally replaced with HaShem (Hebrew for ‘THE Name’).  His name is Yahweh.  In the original Hebrew text (O.T.) it is YHWH, (the vowels added later for pronunciation sake).  YHWH is referred to as the ‘Tetragrammaton’ (Greek for the ‘4 letters’) this is indicated in the Bible when we see LORD, (used over 6,500 times) all caps distinguishing it as the covenantal name, Yahweh.

LORD (Yahweh) is built on what God revealed to Moses in Exodus 3; Moses is on the far side of the desert attending his father-in-law’s flock when he sees a bush on fire.  This was no ordinary bushfire; there was no ravishing destruction of the bush.  I adore the direct and clarifying Word of God, verse 4 states, “When the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush…”  Moses turned aside, he stopped everything, going and giving his full attention…  THAT is when God spoke. May we take note; there are times God waits for us to stop and give full attention before He speaks.  God tells Moses to go to Egypt and demand His people be set free from slavery, Moses basically asks “Whom shall I say is sending me?”   God answers, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: “I AM has sent me.” (v.14)

‘I AM’ conveys ‘to be’ the root word signifying existence.  God’s all-pervading, ever-present nature, His character, all-that-He-is, is our here and now, simply put, He is. The Pastor of Hebrews wrote: “But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” (11:6, emphasis mine)    God states, “I am the LORD, that is My name, I will not give My glory to another, nor My praise to graven images.” (Isaiah 42:8)   “I AM.”

Jesus, God in the flesh – boldly stated in John 8:58 “I tell you the truth before Abraham was born, I am!” The Jews were so irate; how dare he say THAT!  They picked up stones to kill Him.  Later in the olive grove (John 18) when Judas, on the night of betrayal, approached with the soldiers, they said they were looking for Jesus of Nazareth, Jesus answers, (in the original language) “I am.”  The narrative says the soldiers drew back and fell to the ground, struck no doubt by the MAJESTY of not only His words but the essence of Who He was.

Each time we read ‘LORD’ let us take pause, look at the context, insert “The Great I AM, the One Who is…” – He is everything.  Like David wrote, “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14) “O, LORD…the Great I AM! The One Who is and ever will be, the One Who comes to me with all that He is… my strength and my Redeemer!”

Yahweh, the promised name of God, “I AM.”

By the way for you Scrabble players, ‘Tetragrammaton’ … BOOM!  67 points!

In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love & good deeds.” Hebrews 10:24)

 

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YHWH, The Great I AM

i-am

The Needle. My sister and I used to love to pore through the magazine, ‘Country.’ It was full of beautiful colored photos of landscapes, old barns and wheelbarrows filled with flowers. Amongst the photos and handed down recipes, they hid a small ‘needle’ somewhere in the issue. I became obsessed with finding that needle. Once found, it was SO apparent where it was, I was amazed I had missed it.

Unlike the needle, God’s word is not hidden to us. In the Old Testament God’s country-magazinename is almost always translated LORD in the English Bible, appearing some 6500+ times. THAT is a lot of name dropping! LORD as in all caps. And no, it was not the authors attempt to yell Gods name or a typo on the publisher’s part. This is referred to as the ‘Tetragrammaton’ (Greek for ‘consisting of 4 letters’) In the original text, it is YHWH, (Yahweh, or some translations use Jehovah) and occurs in every OT book except Ecclesiastes and Esther. The all caps distinguish it from other Hebrew names for God. (i.e. ‘Lord’ which is Adonai, meaning ‘Master’) LORD is built on what God revealed to Moses in Exodus 3, after God tells him to go to Egypt and demand His people are set free, Moses asks what His name is. He isn’t necessarily asking ‘What shall I call You?” Rather he is asking “WHO are You?” According to Jewish thought and tradition, a name is not a random word, but the name of the person conveys their nature, character and essence. God answers him as such: “I AM WHO I AM, This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.”

I AM.

Although He had been known as El Shaddai (God Almighty) the covenant keeping God to the patriarchs, (Abe, Isaac & Jacob) now He wanted His people to know Him, experience Him also as Deliverer, in their now and continue to be known. “Therefore, say to the Israelites: ‘I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. I will take you as My own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the LORD your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians.” (Exodus 6:6-7)

monkimageLooking to the scholars, most are in agreement, ‘I AM’ conveys ‘to be.’ The root word signifies existence. One might say, “I am present is what I am” God’s all-pervading, ever-present nature, character and essence in our here and now. He is the “I AM THAT I AM” -the One Who was, Who is and is to come. (Revelation 1:8).

Jesus bolding stated in John 8:58 “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was born, I am!” The Jews were so irate; they picked up stones to kill Him, such an awesome-fearful thing for Him to say. (Go God!) In the olive grove (John 18) when Judas approached with the soldiers, they said they were looking for Jesus of Nazareth, Jesus answers, “I am He.” (Literally, “I am.”) The narrative says the soldiers drew back and fell to the ground, struck no doubt by the MAJESTY of His words.

Just like the needle, the LORD wants us to see Him, (um …6500+ repetitive use of His name assures that) He wants us to know Him, may He be so ever apparent. Each time we read ‘LORD’ let us take pause, look at the context, insert “The Great I AM, the One Who is…” Like David wrote, “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14) “O, LORD…the Great I AM! The One Who is and ever will be… my strength and my redeemer!”

May the written word flow and bleed into our everyday lives, that not only on the parchment may we see and seek after Him, the LORD, but LOOK for Him in our everyday, the Great I AM.

The author of Hebrews wrote: “But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6, emphasis mine)

God says, “I AM.” We say, “He is.”

And for you Scrabble players, ‘Tetragrammaton’ … BOOM!  67 points!

In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love & good deeds.” – Hebrews 10:24)

Side Note: The most devout of Judaism, will to this day not pronounce His 9b22fdf917a2440404afbe7df15767caname aloud. It is known as the Unutterable Name, the “Ineffable Name” (too great or extreme to be expressed or described in words.) Even when reading the scriptures when they see LORD, they will replace with Adonai, or Ha-Shem (The Name) So honoring.