Read Exodus 3:1-22
Have you ever used those words to identify yourself as you speak on the telephone? If you have, then you’ve operated under a basic assumption that the listener will recognize your voice and that there is, therefore, no need to give your name. I mean, let’s face it, “It’s me” is not really your name. “It’s me” wouldn’t help much if you were speaking to someone who didn’t know you.
Meanwhile, as Moses asked God for a name to use to identify Him before His fellow Israelites, God gave him what seems to be an incomplete, even mysterious, answer.
Part of me sees that as just the beginning of the answer. I use those words as I tell a stranger, “I am Steve.” But God put a period after “am” . . . not a name. Who, then, is this mysterious God? Who is this “I AM”?
He is the self-existent One, who is not dependent upon anyone or anything else for anything. He is not a has-been whose heyday of power, authority, or glory lie somewhere in days gone by. He is not a will-be who is still perfecting His character or skills like an up-and-coming athlete.
He is the I AM. The LORD. Yahweh. The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. That is His eternal name, a statement of His identity to be remembered throughout all generations.
Now fast-forward from that burning bush encounter between God and Moses to the hot-seat experience between Jesus and some Jews of His day. Jesus brought the discussion to a close with this statement of His own identity: “. . . before Abraham was born, I am!” (Jn. 8:58). At first glance, this is a claim acknowledging Christ’s preexistence . . . that His “being” predates not only His own birth, but also that of Abraham. But a closer look tells us that Christ was identifying Himself with the same I AM of the Old Testament. He is God!
The Jews understood that claim. Then they sought to stone Him! As you and I understand that claim, we ought to worship Him.