I AM NOT BUT I KNOW I AM
13 Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”
14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’” Exodus 3:13-14
What is in a name? It is amazing that we are all given a name and each name has particular value. Later in life, when God blesses us with children, we begin the process of determining a name. A name tells a story. A name gives prominence to the son or daughter that will soon arrive into our lives. There are many ways to determine names. One way is to search the internet or buy books that show the most popular names and tell what they mean. Another way is to carry on the family legacy by being called Jr or III or even for daughters and sons to carry the names of grandparents or even the mothers maiden name. I have also seen people who just like to do things on a whim and don't really plan at all but merge two things that have value together to form a name. We even go through the same process with our pets from fish, dogs, cats, birds, etc... we want to give them a name because a name holds value. Whatever way we go about determining a name, we take a lot of time to determine the right name to give because these names will follow them for the rest of their lives.
Our story is no different. When God finally blessed us with a child, we did not want to know what the gender of the child was going to be until we met them for the first time in the delivery room. I will tell you that this gave great angst to the soon to be grandparents and to others who wanted to begin providing clothing and gifts for the soon to be newest member of our family. We had picked a name for a boy and a girl and both names were going to be used to give glory back to God. If it was going to be a boy we would call him Landon Addison Wade and his initials would remind us that we are to continue to fulfill God's LAW in
our personal lives. If it was going to be a girl, her name would be Amelia Elise Wade and her monogram would continue to remind us that we stand in the AWE of God because we are receiving a blessing from God. As many of you know Amelia Elise Wade was born on February 12th, 2007 and yes we truly did stand in AWE of God that day. It was a day filled with excitement, tears, laughs and prayers. God had truly blessed us with an amazing gift and all we wanted to do was give her a name that would constantly remind us of this blessing. Four years later, God once again looked on our family with favor and Avery Eden Wade was born on August 8th, 2011. Once again we named her where her monogram spelled AWE because of the blessing we received from God and the daily reminder for us to continue to give her back to God.
So now that you have stepped into my story for a second, what about that story of YHWH or JEHOVAH. See today, we hear for the first time the name of GOD. We see Moses having a conversation with God through a burning bush and God is saying that there is power in the name. Moses knowing this asked a pretty good question. Paraphrasing, Moses said, Ok God, when I go to Egypt and talk to your people and the Egyptians and tell them you need to release God's people, who am I going to say sent me. They want a name. They are not going to release them to me, because I am already in trouble because of my past. God simply says, "Tell them I AM WHO I AM has sent you". I could only imagine what was going through Moses' mind. He was like that is not a name that is a statement. I need something that is filled with authority. I need something that is going to tell them that I am not crazy when I mention that I talked to the God of all creation through a burning bush. God feels his anxiety and tells him to say that the Father of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob has sent you and that my name shall be the same for all of time. Tell them that I AM sent you, and this time the power of the name God spoke released Moses' anxiety and we know the rest of the story.
I say this because I just wonder how much power the name of God has in our lives today. I wonder do we truly FEAR the name of God. Note fear in this sense it to show honor and reverence, or maybe for some of us we do literally fear the name of God. We are terrified because we don't really know where we stand. Do we stand in AWE of God or has His name truly lost the meaning that it had with Moses that was supposed to be honored throughout every generation forever? Today, I have to let you know that I borrowed the blog title from a
very powerful sermon and book written by Louie Giglio who is the pastor of Passion City Church in Atlanta. One night I was listening to him preach and he talked about the power of the name of God. That as we continue to stand in AWE of God we are constantly reminded who God is and who we are not. See, if we take the scripture literally than the name of God is I AM. Taking that one step further, we also know that we are not God, even though there are many times that we want to play that role. So if we know God's name and we know that we are NOT God then we can determine that I AM NOT GOD, but I know GOD, I AM. I am not in any way close to standing in the shoes of I AM and so understanding the power of the name of God and the name that we all have been given, simply our response when asked who we are and who sent us would be.... I AM NOT but I know I AM.
A couple of final things and we will done for today. I say all of this to help us all realize that even though we are not God, the God of ALL creation continues to be by our side. I AM is still walking with us and still knows each of us by name, which is not just I AM NOT... but our God given names. I think it is very powerful the days that we spend in baptism and confirmation. In both of those services we call out the names back to God as a symbol of God's presence in our lives and as a blessing to each of you. We hold dear the names that are given because of the power of God that lives in each person. As I mentioned at the beginning of today's blog, April and I did not want to know the gender of our children until they were born because we wanted it to truly be a blessing in our lives. It didn't really matter if it was going to be a boy or a girl. All that mattered was that God had chosen us to be a part of another life. So we were having a youth yard sale and there was a book that was 101 Christian names for Children. The 101st name that was in the book became the name of both of our children until we met them face to face. The name you might ask... Yehudie. A Hebrew name that meant "Praise the Lord". See even before either were born, their name and their gender did not matter. What mattered was that we were going to Praise the Lord for receiving such a blessing from God. Ask about your name and why it is so meaningful. There is always a story to tell and if you dig deep enough, you will find that God was already a part of your story before you even knew who you were. Who are we and who has sent us to go and proclaim the WORD out into the word? Simply, I AM NOT, but I know I AM.