Naming has great importance in the Bible. In the garden of Eden, the giving of names demonstrates lordship over the creation (Gen. 1:26–27; Gen.2:19, 23; Gen. 3:20) and can often relate to hopes (Gen. 4:1), memories (Gen. 35:18), or prophecies (Isa. 7:14; Matt. 1:21). In naming, one’s character is revealed.
Moses’ question is therefore supremely important: what is the name, the character, of this God of whom I will speak? God’s response seems enigmatic. But notice how the revelation of God’s name builds: “I am who I am” (Ex. 3:14a); “Say this . . . , ‘I am has sent me to you’” (Ex. 3:14b); “Say this . . . , ‘The Lord [I am], the God of your fathers’” (Ex. 3:15, 16). In other words, this living, personal God who revealed himself to Abraham and made covenant with him is the God who is moving to deliver his people now.
All of this makes Jesus’ own use of this divine name significant as well, not only in the seven “I am” statements in the Gospel of John (John 6:35; John 8:12; John 10:9, 11; John 11:25; John 14:6; John 15:1), but especially his declaration to the Pharisees that “before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:58). In saying this, Jesus was claiming to be the same living, personal God who made covenant with Abraham, the same God who revealed himself to Moses, and the one who was now moving to deliver his people.
This series of posts pairs a brief passage of Scripture with associated study notes drawn from the Gospel Transformation Bible.