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  • Chad Werkhoven

Exodus 3:11-15 - God IS

Understanding God's simplicity is the key to understanding this complex world.



Exodus 3:11–15 (NIV)

CONTEXT: Moses came to investigate a burning bush, but as he approaches he's told that he's standing on holy ground. God speaks out of the bush, introduces Himself to Moses, and commands Moses to go back to Egypt to free God's people from Pharaoh. 11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”

12 And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.”

13 Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”

14 God said to Moses, “I AM who I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ ”

15 God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.’

“This is my name forever,

the name you shall call me

from generation to generation.


Listen to passage & devotional:


 

Belgic Confession of Faith, Article 1


We all believe in our hearts

and confess with our mouths

that there is a single

and simple spiritual being,

whom we call God—


eternal,

incomprehensible,

invisible,

unchangeable,

infinite,

almighty;


completely wise,

just,

and good,

and the overflowing source of all good.

 

Summary

One of the first pieces of information we learn about a person we've just met is their name. It's likely that prior to this encounter at the burning bush, Moses had a vague concept of God, but he comes to know Him up close and personal here, and unsurprisingly, the first thing Moses wants to know is the name behind the mysterious voice.


You might expect God to have a long and complex name, similar to the official titles European kings sometimes have - names that sometimes take up a whole paragraph! But the LORD God Almighty, who is referred to by a number of names throughout scripture, refers to Himself with a name that is both surprisingly simple, yet massively profound. God instructs Moses to call Him:

I AM who I AM.

God continues, "This is my name forever, the name you should call me from generation to generation."


The simplicity of this name is quite apparent: two single syllable words, repeated twice. It's even simpler in Hebrew: YWHW. This name is often referred to by its simplicity. Theologians call it the Divine Tetragrammaton, meaning the four letter word.


But don't let the simplicity of this name fool you! The name God chooses to call Himself sets Him apart from from anything else in creation.



Dig Deeper


One of the first things our Confession says about God is that He's simple. Often in our culture, that's not a flattering description for a person, but it certainly is in theology, and God is the only one who can be described as such.


On the other hand, you are a complex creature. You are both physical and spiritual. You have days when you're pleasant, and other days when you're cranky. Since you're made in God's image, you, like Him, have thoughts, emotions and a will, but most of the time it's hard for us to keep all three of those things aligned. So we feel differently from what we know is right, and do things that don't really match the way we think or feel.


In His simplicity, God exists as the fullness of His attributes, all at once. God is merciful all of the time, but at the same time His mercy never restricts His justice. His thoughts, emotions, and will are never in conflict.


Another way of expressing God's name of I AM is to say that God Is. He defines Himself. He's not just a good God, He is good; He defines the very concept of goodness itself, as well as all of His other attributes.


God is the real, the true being, the fullness of being, the sum total of all reality and perfection, the totality of being, from which all other being owes its existence.


Simple, right?



  • ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: The LORD, the God of your fathers and the only one who simply exists in Himself;

  • ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that you will be able to give God the reverence and respect that His simple holiness demands;

  • ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED:

 

    Read the New Testament in a year! Today: Mark 2    

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