LENT 2020 - Jesus Said: I AM, Part II
Wednesday, April 1 2020
If you haven't done so yet, I encourage you to read
LENT 2020 - JESUS SAID: I AM, PART I
Parts II and III of the LENT 2020 - JESUS SAID: I AM reflection, I have taken almost entirely from John Piper’s September 1984 sermon entitled “I AM WHO I AM”.
The most important text in all the Bible for understanding the meaning of the name Yahweh [YHWH] is Exodus 3:13-15. God has just commanded Moses to go to Egypt and to bring His people Israel out of captivity. Moses says to God,
“If I come to the people of Israel and say to them,
‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’
and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’
what shall I say to them?”
God said to Moses,
“I AM WHO I AM.”
And He said, “Say this to the people of Israel,
‘I AM has sent me to you.’”
God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel,
‘The LORD [that is, Yahweh!],
the God of your fathers,
the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob,
has sent me to you.’
This is my name forever,
and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations.”
Now notice that God gives three answers to the question, “What shall I tell them your name is?”
1) In verse 14, God says, “I AM WHO I AM.”
2) In verse 14, God says, “I AM has sent me to you.”
3) In verse 15, God says, “Yahweh… has sent me to you. This is my name forever.”
It seems that this text provides an interpretation of the name Yahweh. First of all, the name Yahweh and the name I AM are built out of the same Hebrew word hayah, which means “to be”. Interestingly, ehyeh is the first person form of hayah, and owing to the peculiarities of Hebrew grammar means both "I am", "I was", and "I will be”. Secondly, Yahweh seems to be used here interchangeably with I AM: in verse 14 God says, “I AM has sent me to you.” - and in verse 15 He says, “Yahweh… has sent me to you.”
So… what does it mean when you ask your God, “Who are you?” and He answers, “I AM WHO I AM”?… These words are [extremely important]. There aren’t any words more important than these. Any words that you think might be, are important only because these words are true.
John Piper then continues with:
SEVEN IMPLICATIONS OF THE DIVINE NAME “I AM WHO I AM”
1) GOD EXISTS:
It is obvious and it is basic, but the reason we should mention it is that most people live as if it were not true, or as if it were a truth that makes no difference in life… Oh, how easy it is going to be for God to condemn the world at the judgment!… The defendants will be utterly speechless because of the manifest inconsistency of their lives. The portfolio of the prosecuting attorney will not have to be opened beyond page 1 where it says, “Defendant affirmed that God exists; personal life lived as though God made no difference.”
Contained in the name Yahweh is the first and most important truth about God: He exists.
2) GOD’S PERSONALITY AND POWER ARE OWING SOLELY TO HIMSELF AND TO NO OTHER:
When we ask God how He got to be who He is, He answers, “I AM WHO I AM”. In other words, nobody gave Him a set of genes. Nobody and no power brought Him into existence or shaped His personality. He had no beginning. There is no reality outside Him that did not come from Him. And so there is no force or influence upon His character and power except what comes from Him and is controlled by Him. He is utterly absolute. Behind Him, there is no reality…
Why is He the way He is? The utterly self-determined character of an everlasting God is the endpoint of all our questions. There comes a point when you stand face to face with absolute reality and realize that He simply is who He is.
3) GOD DOES NOT CHANGE:
In Malachai 3:6 God says, “I Yahweh do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed.”
Within the name Yahweh is the affirmation “I AM WHO I AM”. But if who God is, is not determined by any forces outside Himself, then He is not subject to the changes we are.
He is who He is, and therefore, as James says, “With Him there is no variation or shadow due to change.” (James 1:17) He “is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8) His Absolute Name is the granite foundation of our confidence in His ongoing faithfulness.
4) GOD IS AN INEXHAUSTIBLE SOURCE OF ENERGY:
Isaiah 40:28 says, “Yahweh is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary.” If God is the everlasting Absolute Reality, then He is the Creator of the ends of the earth and of the universe. And if He is the Creator of everything, then all energy — all motion and combustion and fusion and fission — originate in Him. Somehow all the energy in the universe must get started. And since God is the first and absolute reality, it all starts in Him. He is an inexhaustible reservoir of power.
This truth must mean that he is energy. He is power. His personality is radiant with infinite energy. He never needs recharging. He never needs a backup system. There is nothing for Him to plug into. Everything in the universe plugs into Him. If He ever shut down, there would be absolute nothingness. “In Him we live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:28)
Check in again here in Reflections For Living on Friday April 3 for LENT 2020 - JESUS SAID: I AM, PART III.
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