“And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM…” – Exodus 3:14a (KJV)
I love nights like this. The house is calm. I’m in the office, music playing (tonight’s selections courtesy of Sara Groves), Bible open… just chilling and reading and pondering and thinking about the wondrous God we serve. As I thumb through Paul’s epistles, reading about God’s righteousness and might and grace and mercy, thoughts of God flood my mind. Notions about God. And it occurs to me: am I guilty of putting God in a theological box? How can I possibly contain God, who was, is and always will be, the Creator and Sustainer of all, the Definer of Truth?
René Descartes summed up the human approach to life thusly: Cogito ergo sum. “I think, therefore I am.” I am a thinking individual – we all are. But my abilities of cognition do nothing to prove my existence. The simple truth is that, “God exists, and He created and sustains me, therefore I am.”
God is described by many names throughout Scripture: Yahweh, Jehovah, Abba… But no one single term comes close to fully describing God, save for the one answer He gives Moses when asked, “What do I tell the Israelites your name is?”
Note the use of capitals.
I AM THAT I AM.
What is the Lord saying? God – the One and Only True God – is expressing His preeminence over all. He is telling us that He does not merely exist. God is existence. He defines reality. Nothing predates God. He has always been, always will be. He created time and space and thus is not contained by it. There is nothing of substance that does not exist without God having created it. God spoke, and it was. The world turns because God set it to spin. I breathe and think and live because God created me to breathe and think and live. I owe my life to Him. Not only because He created me and all that is around me, but because God made a way for my salvation, bringing me into right relation with Him and adopting me as His child.
I keep using the term “me” to emphasize not that I am special over and above any other human being (I am not), but that God is personal. I can have a relationship with the Great I AM. And that simply blows me away. God Who simply IS – is also love (1 John 4:16). The Lord doesn’t just love me – He is love, defines what love truly is! It is because of the reality of God’s immense love that I exist.
My Heavenly Father – your Heavenly Father – our abba (a shockingly personal Aramaic term that can be translated as “papa”), is the Great I AM THAT I AM, existence Himself, agapē realized… soak that in for a moment. The reality of our reality should cause radical change within us. If our worship isn’t deepened by the understanding that God defines reality, not our little ideas or plans or schemes or theories, then perhaps we need to seek a deeper revelation of God and Who He is. Understanding what it means that God is simply I AM, and seeing how Jesus Christ – God Incarnate, the Son – lived and showed us the Father should bring us great joy and hope and thankfulness!!
The next time you are praying, or worshipping, or studying God’s Word, keep this thought in mind: we are approaching the Great I AM. It is an awesome privilege and gift we have been given. Thank you Lord!