#DailyDevotion Jesus Is “I Am” With US & For Us
Exodus 311“Who am I,” Moses asked God, “that I should go to Pharaoh and bring Israel out of Egypt?” 12“I am with you,” He said, “and this will be your proof that I sent you: When you bring the people out of Egypt, you will serve God on this mountain.” 13“When I go to Israel,” Moses answered God, “and I tell them, “The God of your fathers sends me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is His name? what should I answer them?” 14“I AM WHO I AM,” God answered Moses, and He added: “Tell Israel: ‘I AM sends me to you.’” 15Again God talked to Moses: “Tell Israel: “The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, sends me to you.’ This is My name forever, and this is My title for the people of all coming generations.
AHWH ASHR AHWH, tell them AHWH sends me to you. Then in verse 15 he says, “YHWH, the God of your fathers…sends me to you.” There seems to be some debate as to what AHWH and YHWH mean. It is certainly linked to the Hebrew word HYH, to be. But it is more than mere existence or even absolute existence. This is God’s, Elohim’s, personal name he gives to the Israelites. Prof. Raabe of Concordia St. Louis says it more like, “I am here for you.” Which makes sense when you look at verse12 where God literally tells Moses, “AHWH with you.”
You see the name of God here is Gospel, it is good news! It isn’t a magical name to invoke or make golems with. It is a name of presence and of promise. AHWH is God speaking in the first person (i.e. I, me, myself). However in verse 15 God switches to the third person which we’re all familiar with YHWH. So God calls himself AHWH and tells us to call him YHWH. We speak back to him what he speaks to us. He says, “I am”, we say back to him, “He is.”
Again though, this is a name of promise and presence. So it is I am with you and he is with us. That is what the Israelites were about to learn as the LORD (YHWH) was about to deliver them from the Egyptians with a powerful outstretched arm. He was going to be with them there, through the Red Sea, through the wilderness and into the Promised Land.
Later, the prophet Isaiah would see another fulfillment of this name as he prophesies the virgin will have a child and they will call him Immanuel, which means God with us. This name uses the generic name for God, El with the word for with in verse 12 Im and the first person plural U. This of course is Jesus whom the angel Gabriel says people would call Jesus and how appropriate as we approach Advent and Christmas.
Jesus is YHWH saves and he promises us he is with us even to the very end of the age. (Matt. 28) Whenever we gather in his name he is with us. (Matt 18). He promises he will never leave us or forsake us. (Hebrews. 13) Jesus is the very same AHWH and YHWH who spoke to Moses and led them from Egypt to the Promised Land. Jesus in similar fashion is leading us, his Church, to the New Heavens and New Earth where righteousness reigns.
Like the Israelites who did not deserve to be brought into the Promised Land but were taken there because of a promise Jesus made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, we, you, do not deserve to be taken to the New Jerusalem, the New Earth but for the sake of the promise Jesus swore by himself that all who believed on him he would raise from the dead on the Last Day and give them his kingdom. May we all remain faithful unto AHWH, YHWH, Jesus Christ of Nazareth the Lord unto he comes for us and takes us into his kingdom.
Merciful God and Father, you revealed the good news of your name to the Israelites and to us as a God who does not leave us for forsake us. Give us faith that we may always be faithful unto Jesus even as he is faithful unto us so we may enter his kingdom. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.