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I am the LORD

In Exodus 5:2, Pharaoh defiantly said to Moses, "Who is the LORD that I should obey His voice to let Israel go?  I do not know the LORD, and besides, I will not let Israel go."  Pharaoh would soon learn who the LORD is by the ten plagues that demonstrated God's awesome power and authority.  The world likewise has learned who the LORD is through the records of these and other similar events in the pages of Scripture.  Knowing this, all of the world should obey His voice.

Consider for a moment the name of the LORD.  The word displayed in many translations as "LORD" is actually the name Jehovah.  English translations (KJV, NKJV, NASB, NIV, ESB, etc.) often use the word "LORD" instead of the name Jehovah due to a Jewish tradition of substituting the word Adonai, which means "Lord," in place of the name Jehovah when reading the Scriptures aloud.  This was done for fear of violating the third commandment and taking God's name in vain.  However, God's name is not a word to be avoided, but rather it is a word to be respected and understood as an important revelation of who God is.  The name Jehovah (Heb. YHWH) is derived from the Hebrew verb hayah, which means to be, to exist, or to happen. By God's very name, we know that He is the Existing One and the great I AM.  This name expresses His eternal nature and His omnipresence, for at every time and in every place, God exists without exception.

In Exodus 3:13-15, declared His name to Moses and to His people in Israel.  This dialogue happened when God called Moses to return to Egypt and to deliver His people from Pharaoh.  Notice this passage:

13Then Moses said to God, "Behold, I am going to the sons of Israel, and I will say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you.' Now they may say to me, 'What is His name?' What shall I say to them?" 14God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM"; and He said, "Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you.'"  15God, furthermore, said to Moses, "Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, '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, and this is My memorial-name to all generations."

God identified Himself as the Existing One and the God of their fathers.  This was not the first time God had revealed His name to His people.  In Genesis 15:7, He said to Abraham, "I am the LORD (Jehovah) who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to possess it."  Again, in Genesis 28:13, He said to Jacob, "I am the LORD (Jehovah), the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac..."  To Moses, God revealed the true and deep meaning of His name, which is descriptive of Him and a memorial to Him forever.

In 161 verses of the Old Testament, God is quoted as saying, "I am the LORD."  The fact that God stated His name to His people so frequently indicates the importance of knowing who He is.  In the books of Moses' Law, time after time laws were given with the addendum "I am the LORD."  In this way, God was constantly reminding Israel that He had the authority to govern them and they had the obligation to abide by His word. In the same way that parents often assert their authority over their children by saying, "Because I said so," God also asserted His authority over Israel by the use of His name.  No explanation of any law was needed other than "I am the LORD."  In other books of the Old Testament, God frequently declared that His actions were taken so that men would know that "I am the LORD."  Many who defied God in the likeness of Pharaoh have been brought into submission by the workings of God when they learned that the LORD, Jehovah, is God.

The name Jehovah is not used in the New Testament, but its meaning is expressed in the words and person of our Lord Jesus Christ.  When the Jews scoffed that Jesus had said Abraham rejoiced to see His day, Jesus replied, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am" (John 8:56-59).  This was a clear reference to the name of Jehovah, which provoked the Jews to try to stone Jesus.  Many years later in the Revelation to John, Jesus identified Himself by saying, "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end" (Rev. 22:13; see also 1:8; 21:6).  In this, Jesus shows Himself to be the Existing One who is eternal.  Truly, our Lord Jesus is synonymous with Jehovah, for "in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form" (Col. 2:9).

For us, the words "I am the LORD" mean that we must know who God is so that we will obey His voice.  This is just as Hebrews 11:6 states, for "without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him."  Do you believe that He is the great I AM who exists eternally and that He rewards those who seek Him?  If so, then demonstrate your faith in His name by obeying His word.

Stacey E. Durham



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