Below is a copy of a Post Sunday Follow-Up message. Each week on Monday or Tuesday we pick one point of the previous Sunday’s message and we try to dive a little further into it. In this Post Sunday Follow-Up we look at the name of God and why it is so important and why it should be treated with such reverence. If you would like to receive this each week or for more information on the teaching ministries of Westlake Baptist Church please e-mail us at email@example.com Hope you enjoy!
This past Sunday we started talking about learning to pray like Jesus prayed. We studied Luke 11:1-4 with our focus on verses 1 and 2. Lord willing, we will look at verses 3 and 4 this Sunday. The main point of this past Sunday was that when we pray, we need to come into God’s presence and not just give Him a laundry list of needs and/or wants, but rather we need to take time to worship Him for who He is. Who exactly is this God that we are praying to and trusting to answer our prayers? That is the focus of this e-mail.
In the story of the burning bush we see the name of God. In English Exodus 3:14 says, “And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.” I AM in the Hebrew is “yehweh” which is where we get Yahweh. You have have even seen it has Jehovah. In English you will see it written as LORD (all capital letters). Yahweh, Jehovah, or LORD all refer to the personal name of God. It is important to remember that names in the Bible have important meanings. “Yehweh” means “He is” and as you can see in the verse it says “I AM.” This speaks to the fact that God is self-existent. He needs nothing or no one for Him to exists, He exists because it is His nature to exist. Not only is God self-existent, but He is also eternal. I AM is another way of saying, I have been ,I am, and I always will be. There has never been a time nor will there ever be a time in which God doesn’t exist. His name also shows that all things have their existence in and from God. We see this further in Scripture in John 1:1-4, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made. In Him was life; and the life was the light of men.” John 1:1-4 are so theologically rich, but I will resist the temptation to break it all the way down. What we should notice is this, the Word (John’s reference to Jesus) was with God from the beginning. In verse 3 we see that God is the Creator of all things. In verse 4 we see that God is life. Therefore, without God not only would there have been no creation, but life would not exist without God. So by calling Himself, I AM, He is pointing to the fact that He is the Creator and Sustainer of all life. But Yahweh reveals even more about God in Exodus 3:15, ” And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, the LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is My name forever, and this is My memorial unto all generations.” By referring to Himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, He is revealing to Moses, Israel, and to us that He is a covenant God. To help that make sense we need to understand why God revealed Himself to Moses here in Exodus 3. Israel had been in slavery to the Egyptians for 400 years (prophesied in Gen. 15:13-16). God promised in Genesis 15:13-16 that He would deliver Israel from their slavery. God in Exodus 3 says in verse 7 that He has seen their affliction and heard their cry. God is coming to Moses for two reasons. First, it is to fulfill the prophecy in Genesis 15 about delivering Israel from their slavery after four generations. The second reason deals with the first in that God had to deliver Israel from their slavery so that He could lead them to the Promised Land He told Abraham that his seed would have. God made a covenant with Abraham in Genesis 15 that they would have a land of their own, they would be a great nation, and the world would be blessed through Abraham’s seed. So in Exodus 3, God tells Moses to tell the nation of Israel, the very God who created everything, is the same God who made the covenant with Abraham, and is the same God who is now going to deliver them from slavery and lead them to the Promised Land. God wants Israel and us to know that the promises He makes, He will fulfill at the right time. So this one name shows us that God is the Creator, the Redeemer (Israel from slavery in Egypt, us from sin through the cross), and He is the covenant maker and fulfiller.
Notice in Exodus 3:15 the last phrase, “this is My name for ever, and this is My memorial unto all generations.” The world will know who God is by His name, I AM (Yahweh, Jehovah, LORD). It is a unique name, no one else is Creator, Sustainer, Redeemer, or Covenant Maker and Fulfiller. That is why when we get to the 10 Commandments in Exodus 20 we see God protecting His name. Exodus 20:2 says, “I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.” There we see LORD (all capitals) again to remind them of who is doing this. Verse 3 of Exodus 20 says, “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.” God is saying you can’t have anyone before Me, because there is no one like Me. That goes back to telling Moses to tell Israel that “I AM” sent him. Who else is like God? Who can you compare Him to? The answer is that no one is like Him and no one can compare to Him. Don’t put anything that was created in front of the One that Created everything. We see that again in verse 4 about not making any graven images. Then in the Third Commandment we see that we are not to take His name in vain. We aren’t to use God’s name flippantly or lightly, because His name is a reminder for Israel and the world of who He is and what He has done. When we use God’s name lightly or without regard we are devaluing who God is and what He has done. We are essentially saying there is nothing special about God, that we could have done any of the things that He did if we wanted to. When we speak the name of God we are remembering His work in creation and in redemption. We see those two themes in heaven that the angels and saints of all time praise God for in Revelation 4 and 5. Let us therefore remember when we speak His name or when we go to Him in prayer, that the same God we are praying to and asking for help, is worthy of our praise because of His work in creation and in redemption. So let us come into His presence to worship Him, to focus on Him first, then may we remember that this same God created everything in the right order, He sustains all things, and so as we ask in prayer, may we know if He could create something out of nothing, He can surely change and work in my situation no matter what it is. This same God gave His Son when we had nothing to offer Him in return that we might be forgiven and given eternal life. There is nothing too hard for my God!