This Week's Focus Passage


Focus Passage: Exodus 3:14


When God would send Moses back to Egypt to bring His people out of that bondage which had caused them to cry into His ears, Moses’ first response was to ask, ‘when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, the God of your fathers has sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, what is his name? what shall I say unto them? We are reminded of one of those fathers, Jacob, after he had wrestled with the angel, Genesis 32:22ff, he desired to know his name, ‘and Jacob asked him, and said, tell me, I pray thee, thy name,’ the angel evidently told the patriarch his name, or gave him some intimation of who he was, for we read immediately following that Jacob called the name of the place, Peniel, that is, the face of God, ‘for, said he, I have seen God face to face.’ Would not our own reaction be similar? When we receive a phone call and the party calling, ‘is this Mr. Jones?’ is it not our response to say, yes, and who is calling, please?’ Moses was confronted with the same sort of situation. He was being sent by God to this people, and he expected that when he said, ‘God sent me,’ they would then inquire, ‘what is the name of this God whom you claim to represent?’ God said, ‘my name is I AM THAT I AM; thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.’ It is this God only that may say, I AM BECAUSE I AM,’ or, ‘I WILL BECAUSE I WILL BE.’ There is no other beside Him; He is the Originator, the Creator, of all else. Before Him there was nothing! There is a word to describe this fact about God. The word aseity is no longer fashionable, but it means, ‘underived or independent existence.’ When our God informs us that He is the I AM THAT I AM, He is declaring His absolute independence from all else; He has need of nothing. ‘Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth,’ He asks of Job. And His existence is underived; absolutely nothing else is underived, but all things were derived from Him. ‘In the beginning God.’

What a wonderful God! Indeed the answer given Manoah, the father of Israel’s great deliverer, Samson, when he inquired of the Angel of the Covenant, ‘what is thy name?’ was, ‘wherefore asketh thou after my name, seeing it is wonderful?’ And is this not the very name ascribed to the Christ by the prophet? ‘his name shall be called Wonderful’? Yes, Jesus’ name is Wonderful as He is also the great I AM without beginning or end, the Alpha and the Omega. Because the second Person of the Trinity humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, we may be disinclined to ascribe aseity unto Him, yet He is perfectly underived and independent, even though in the fullness of time He took upon Himself our nature, being born of a woman, born under the law, He came in the Person of Jesus, the Son of God, to redeem His people. He is Jehovah (I AM) Jesus!

The apostle, John, brings this out, perhaps more than any other. At the very outset of his gospel, John insists that the object of his narrative, Jesus, is the Word who was in the beginning with God, and the Word was God. It is this apostle whose two favorite titles for the Word are ‘the Lamb of God,’ and, ‘I AM.’ John makes use of the I AM so frequently that we are led to believe that the I AM of John’s report is the very same I AM who met with Moses and declared both His name as well as His purpose to send His servant unto Pharaoh. Thus, He who has provided satisfaction with the Father through His own blood is He that received from the patriarch such an appellation as Jehovah-jireh, that is, God will provide, after that a ram was caught in the thicket to provide a substitute for Isaac upon the alter. Jesus Christ, being the only offering worthy to atone for the sins of His people, may well say then, ‘I AM the (the only) way, the truth, and the life.’

David, in the twenty-third psalm ascribes, most famously, the name, Jehovah-Rohi, to his God. Jehovah-Rohi means Jehovah my shepherd, and is, more often than not, rendered, ‘The LORD is my Shepherd.’ Who is faithful to lead His people into green pastures beside Him who is God over all, Jehovah, I AM THAT I AM? Who is infinitely wise enough, and strong enough, to conduct His sheep beside still (peaceful) waters but He who is the omniscient, omnipotent Jehovah who WILL BE THAT HE WILL BE? There are no still waters of peace except a man have peace with God. There is none that can lead any to these green pastures and still waters but Jehovah-Jesus; He who declared, ‘I AM the Good Shepherd…I lay down my life for the sheep,’ that they may be justified by faith and have peace with God through Him. Jesus is the I AM that has provided, and is providing this peace for His sheep, ‘My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish,’ John 10:27.

Jeremiah has been led by the Holy Spirit to discover yet another name for our God. He speaks in chapter twenty-three of the raising of a ‘righteous Branch’ whose name shall be called Jehovah-tsidkenu, Jehovah our righteousness. The Lord will provide (Jehovah-jireh) for His people, deliverance through the guidance of the Good Shepherd (Jehovah-rohi) by imputing His own righteousness to them (Jehovah-tsidkenu). The great, Triune God has provided, has accomplished, and is applying redemption to His own, and we must be ever thankful to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit for our salvation. Yet it is the Son, our Man in glory, who receives the pre-eminence, for He is our Champion. He is our Provider! He is our Good Shepherd! He is our Peace! He is our Righteousness! He is our great I AM! When we ought justly to have been apprehended, bound, and led to the tribunal to answer the charge of sin; to be beaten beyond recognition, and crucified as malefactors, it was He who said to those sent to arrest Him, ‘Whom seek ye?’, to which they responded, ‘Jesus of Nazareth,’ and because, ‘it was expedient that one man die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not,’ Jesus said, ‘I AM! Our Jehovah-Jesus said further, ‘I told you that I AM he, if therefore ye seek me, let these go their way: that the word might be fulfilled which he spake, Of those whom thou hast given me I lost not one.’ I AM the Champion of My people.

David Farmer, elder

Fellowship Bible Church


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