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God's Name is a Verb

“Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they say to me, ‘What is His name?’ what shall I say to them”

It’s one of the greatest encounters in Scripture: God, appearing as a burning bush, conversing back and forth with Moses about the role he would play in the exodus, but Moses replied with objection after objection. Moses kept throwing “what if” scenarios at God as excuses for why he didn’t want to go, the second of which was “What if they ask your name?”

Up until now, the Israelites have known their Creator only as the God of their fathers, but if He was to be their God too, Moses wanted His name. And God did not hesitate, telling him, “I AM WHO I AM. Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” (Exodus 3:14)

Exodus is a book of names. Another Hebrew title for the book is actually “Shemot” which means “names.” Whenever you see a name in Exodus, it’s safe to say the name is not accidental. The midwives were named Shiphrah and Puah, even though we never learn Pharaoh’s name, reminding us that Pharaoh wasn’t the center of that story. In the next chapter, Moses is named and his name reminds us that he was drawn out of the river. And now, when God names Himself, we can trust that His name has significance too!

God names Himself Yahweh, which translates to “I AM.” The name He chooses is a verb.

It tells us that He exists; He always has and always will.

It points to His self-sufficiency, that He depends on nothing to exist, but everything else depends on Him.

And it demonstrates His unchanging nature. Malachi 3:6 says, “I Yahweh do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed.”

God is “I am,” yesterday, today, and tomorrow. This is the name of God and Psalm 9:10 says “Those who know your name put their trust in you.”

God told His people His name; now it was their time to put their trust in Him.


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