A Name Like No Other
God has made Himself known to us by making His name known to us. When we think of God’s name, we ought to think of His nature—His essence, His character, and His attributes. His name sets Him apart from everyone and everything else, representing all of who He is.
God’s encounter with Moses at the burning bush, recorded for us in Exodus 3, underscores the relationship between God’s name and His character. As Moses approached the bush, God instructed him to take off the shoes from his feet, as he was standing on holy ground. In the ensuing dialogue, after being commanded to go to Pharaoh and demand the Israelites’ release, Moses understandably asked, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” God’s answer? “I am who I am” (Exodus 3:13-14).
God uses the verb to be—“I am” to convey His name. By using this verb, He distinguishes between Himself and all false gods, which ought to call themselves “I’m not.” Idols are made by human hands—or, in our day, often within our hearts. Craftsmen fashion them out of wood, stone, or ivory and fasten them on pedestals. Nevertheless, they inevitably topple over and need to be righted again. An idol demands our service, but it cannot save. It never delivers what it has promised.
But for the Creator of the ends of the earth, it is justifiable and right that He should be known as I am, for He is like no one else. He was not created. He is completely self-existent. He is completely self-fulfilled. He is in need of no one and nothing. That which He has always possessed, He still possesses. He knows neither beginning nor end. He fulfills all of His promises. He is the God of limitless life and power.
We are to exalt His name, and His name alone, for this is what we were made for. All of us struggle not to bow down before idols—those created things that we worship and make sacrifices for because we think they will bring us life. But if we would worship Him as we ought to, our idols must fall before Him. He is the only Creator, the only I am—the only one who rules earth and heaven.
3“Listen to me, O house of Jacob,
all the remnant of the house of Israel,
who have been borne by me from before your birth,
carried from the womb;
4even to your old age I am he,
and to gray hairs I will carry you.
I have made, and I will bear;
I will carry and will save.
5“To whom will you liken me and make me equal,
and compare me, that we may be alike?
6Those who lavish gold from the purse,
and weigh out silver in the scales,
hire a goldsmith, and he makes it into a god;
then they fall down and worship!
7They lift it to their shoulders, they carry it,
they set it in its place, and it stands there;
it cannot move from its place.
If one cries to it, it does not answer
or save him from his trouble.
8“Remember this and stand firm,
recall it to mind, you transgressors,
9remember the former things of old;
for I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like me,
10declaring the end from the beginning
and from ancient times things not yet done,
saying, ‘My counsel shall stand,
and I will accomplish all my purpose,’
11calling a bird of prey from the east,
the man of my counsel from a far country.
I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass;
I have purposed, and I will do it.
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