Friday, 4/24/20 – Question: Why does God call Himself by such a Strange Name?

Why does God call Himself by such a Strange Name?

background burn burnt close up

We first learn of this Name back in Exodus 3. Moses is out tending the flocks of His father-in-law Jethro when his attention is drawn aside by a strange sight. A bush wildly ablaze yet seems undamaged by the flames! He ventures closer for a look.

The image was all God’s way of catching Moses’ attention. God had a new job for Moses: to set free his captive fellow-Hebrews.

At first Moses protested, but eventually he relents, and he asks, “Who should I tell them has sent me?” God replies, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’” (v. 14).

What an odd Name indeed!

red and orange fire

Well, I could go into the Tetragrammaton – a big word that means Tetra (Four) and Gramma (letter) and ton, what… maybe because the word weighs a ton! 😃 But it means the four-letter inscription YHWH or JHVH from which we get Yahweh or Jehovah. Many Bibles use the capitalized LORD whenever the word appears – some 6,000 times in scripture!

OK, but I’m NOT planning to get into that.

I suppose if we were to give the Almighty God a Name ourselves we might come up with something that describes His Grace to us… His Power in Creation… His Vastness in space.

green grasshopper

But that would be rather self-serving. How so? Well, not all of God’s manifestation or creation has to do with these things. Neither angels nor demons know anything of God’s Grace. A fish knows little of God’s Power. Only mankind has awed at the Vastness of space. These thoughts are far from grasshoppers. And what of God before Creation? — How are we to describe Him then? When you think of it, to describe Him in terms of His Eternal Self-Existence is indeed the one great reality that may define Him to all: eternal past, present, and eternal future.

He is
אֶהְיֶה אֲשֶׁר אֶהְיֶה.
I AM WHO I AM

Throughout human history we have given God many additional names describing his interactions with us. Here is just a very partial starter list…

El Shaddai (Lord God Almighty)
El Elyon (The Most High God)
Adonai (Lord, Master)
Yahweh (Lord, Jehovah)
Jehovah Nissi (The Lord My Banner)
Jehovah Raah (The Lord My Shepherd)
Jehovah Rapha (The Lord That Heals)
Jehovah Shammah (The Lord Is There)
Jehovah Tsidkenu (The Lord Our Righteousness)
Jehovah Mekoddishkem (The Lord Who Sanctifies You)
El Olam (The Everlasting God)
Elohim (God)
Qanna (Jealous)
Jehovah Jireh (The Lord Will Provide)
Jehovah Shalom (The Lord Is Peace)
Jehovah Sabaoth (The Lord of Hosts

Thinking on these Great Names of God in addition to His Eternal pre-existing and unchanging Nature can bring us hope and peace as we face the trials of this life.

“[They] exclaimed, “…Who do you think you are?”
”Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” (John 8:52, 58).

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Heb. 13:8).

Press on…

Got a question? Use the Contact page and send It to me. We’ll search the Word for God’s answer.

One thought on “Friday, 4/24/20 – Question: Why does God call Himself by such a Strange Name?

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