Sermon #25 Exodus Series
Title: Do you know His Name?
Text: Exodus 3:13-15
Subject: The Name of Our God and Savior
Date: Tuesday Evening October 3, 2006
Tape # Exodus #25
Readings: Darvin Pruitt and Rex Bartley
Anytime one man presumes to tell another that which he must do, it is likely that he will be asked, “Who sent you to me? By what authority do you speak? Who gave you the right to tell me what I must do?” And such a response is as reasonable as it is likely. When the Lord Jesus sent Moses to deliver Israel out of Egypt, he anticipated that the children of Israel would ask him, by what authority he came to them. Though God sent him to Pharaoh (v. 10), and he was to command Pharaoh to let Israel go in the name of the Lord, he was not concerned about Pharaoh’s response. But he was concerned about how to speak to the children of Israel. How could he assure them that God would, indeed, deliver them? By what authority could he speak, that they might believe his message and trust God to save them? That is the question he raised in Exodus 3:13, and the question God answered in verses 14-15.
(Exodus 3:13-15) “And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? (14) And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. (15) And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.”
Proposition: All who call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. But none can call upon his name who do not know his name. Do you know his name?
(Exodus 3:13) “And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them?”
Many see something evil and unbelieving in this question, and reproach Moses for asking it; but the Lord to whom he spoke did not reprove him or, in any way, indicate disapproval. Knowing his own insufficiency for the work to which God had sent him, Moses said, “Who am I? I can’t do that” (v. 10). And the Lord said, “I am not sending you to do it. The work is mine. You are merely the instrument through which I have chosen to do the work.”
Remember the mission upon which Moses was about to embark. Any man sent upon such a mission, must (if he is wise) be personally assured that he goes in the name of God.
· The Lord promised, “I will be with thee,” but he would have no visible God or representation of God to accompany him.
· In so far as others could tell, Moses would go to the enslaved Israelites and to Pharaoh alone, yet claiming to be a divinely sent deliverer.
· He was to tell them that the God of their fathers had promised to set them free.
· The people to whom he was sent had, for the most part, embraced the idolatries of the Egyptians.
Moses knew that they would want to know, “Who is this God you speak of ? What is his name? What is he like?” In those days and in that land, as in all the nations of the Gentiles, there were many gods, each having a name that indicated the particular power ascribed to him. So Moses asked the Lord God to tell him his name. Add to that the fact that Moses, no doubt, remembered what happened forty years earlier when he had come to deliver Israel in his own name. “Who made thee a ruler and a judge over us?” (Acts 7:27, 35).
So it is with God’s servants today and in every age. We are sent to proclaim redemption and grace in the name of our God to a people who have never known him. With Paul, every faithful gospel preacher cries from his inmost soul, “Who is sufficient for these things?” And by the Spirit of God he is made to know that our sufficiency is not of ourselves, “but our sufficiency is of God, Who also hath made us able ministers of the new covenant” (2 Cor. 2:16; 3:4-5; 5:17-21).
(2 Corinthians 5:17-21) “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (18) And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; (19) To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. (20) Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. (21) For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”
Let us never go forth in the service of our Savior until we have, like Moses gone to the throne of grace (Ezek. 2:1-2, 6-7).
(Ezekiel 2:1-2) “And he said unto me, Son of man, stand upon thy feet, and I will speak unto thee. (2) And the spirit entered into me when he spake unto me, and set me upon my feet, that I heard him that spake unto me.”
(Ezekiel 2:6-7) “And thou, son of man, be not afraid of them, neither be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns be with thee, and thou dost dwell among scorpions: be not afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks, though they be a rebellious house. (7) And thou shalt speak my words unto them, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear: for they are most rebellious.”
Now, look at verse 14. Here we see our Lord’s answer to Moses’ question. Here the Lord God our Savior reveals himself in his great redemptive character.
(Exodus 3:14) “And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.”
Those words by which God reveals himself here “I Am that I am,” contain all three tenses the verb “to be.” They might be translated, “I was, I am, and I shall always continue to be.” God’s name represents his character. When we call upon the name of the Lord, we worship him as he really is. When we pray in Christ’s name, we pray upon the basis of all that he is and all that he has done. When we gather to worship in his name, we gather to worship trust him in all his character as our God and Savior.
When the Lord God here declares “I AM THAT I AM,” he is revealing himself as God, the only eternal, self-existent, self-sufficient, unchanging, immutable, constant, faithful One. He is saying, “I am now what I have always been and what I shall forever be. ‘I am the Lord, I change not.’”
Remember, the One speaking to Moses is our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ the Lord, the unchangeable Jehovah, “the same yesterday, and today, and forever,” the only wise and eternal God (Heb. 13:8; John 8:58; Rev. 1:8, 17-18).
(John 8:58) “Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.”
(Revelation 1:8) “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.”
(Revelation 1:17-18) “And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: (18) I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.”
Our Lord Jesus Christ made this claim no less than fourteen times in John’s gospel. Fourteen times he publicly took to himself this title which belongs to none but God “I AM” (4:6; 6:20; 8:24,28,58; 13:19; 18:5). He said “I AM…
· “The Bread of Life.” (6:35)
(John 6:35) “And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.”
(John 6:50-51) “This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. (51) I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”
(John 6:53-58) “Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. (54) Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. (55) For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. (56) He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. (57) As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. (58) This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.”
· “The Light of the World.” (8:12; 9:5)
(John 8:12) “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”
(John 9:5) “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
(John 1:4) “In him was life; and the life was the light of men.”
(John 1:9) “That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.”
· “The Door.” (10:7,9)
(John 10:7-9) “Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. (8) All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. (9) I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
(Revelation 4:1) “After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will show thee things which must be hereafter.”
· “The Good Shepherd.” (10:11, 14)
(John 10:11) “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.”
(John 10:14-15) “I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. (15) As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.”
· “The Resurrection and the Life.” (11:25)
(John 11:25-26) “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: (26) And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?”
· “The Way, the Truth, and the Life.” (14:6)
(John 14:5-6) “Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? (6) Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
· “The Vine.” (15:1,5)
(John 15:5) “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”
· “I am He” (John 4:26).
This name “I AM” is our Savior’s declaration that he is God come to save! He makes himself known to chosen sinners as that One of whom the Scriptures speak (John 4:22-26).
(John 4:22-26) “Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. (23) But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. (24) God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. (25) The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. (26) Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.”
I make no attempt to prove that he is. He cannot be known by human reason, or made known by the words of man’s wisdom. Our business is simply to proclaim him as he has revealed himself in all his glorious character. The “I AM” of the burning bush is the God-man Mediator, our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, “the same, yesterday, and today, and forever.” From everlasting to everlasting he is God. We declare, with Paul, “By the grace of God I am what I am.” But he simply declares, “I AM THAT I AM!” Well may he challenge all the earth, saying, “To whom will ye like me? “
(Isaiah 46:3-5) “Hearken unto me, O house of Jacob, and all the remnant of the house of Israel, which are borne by me from the belly, which are carried from the womb: (4) And even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you. (5) To whom will ye liken me, and make me equal, and compare me, that we may be like?”
(Isaiah 46:9-10) “Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, (10) Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:”
(Isaiah 45:5) “I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me:”
(Isaiah 45:7) “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.”
(Isaiah 45:11) “Thus saith the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me.”
(Isaiah 45:20-25) “Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, ye that are escaped of the nations: they have no knowledge that set up the wood of their graven image, and pray unto a god that cannot save. (21) Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me. (22) Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. (23) I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. (24) Surely, shall one say, in the LORD have I righteousness and strength: even to him shall men come; and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed. (25) In the LORD shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.”
(Isaiah 40:25-31) “To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One. (26) Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth. (27) Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel, My way is hid from the LORD, and my judgment is passed over from my God? (28) Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. (29) He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. (30) Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: (31) But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”
(Isaiah 25:9) “And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the LORD; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”
Now, look at verse 15. Here our great God and Savior gives us one of his great “moreover” words. In verse 14 he tells us what he is in himself. Here he tells us what he is to his people.
(Exodus 3:15) “And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.”
It is as though the Lord said, “I have told you all that I am, the only eternal, self-existent, self-sufficient, unchanging, immutable, constant, faithful One. I am now what I have always been and what I shall forever be. ‘I am the Lord, I change not.’ And, ‘moreover,’ all that I am is yours. I am your God. I have made myself your God, bound to you by my own covenant.”
· I am the sovereign God who chose Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in sovereign mercy.
· I am the God who has pledged himself to the salvation of my people by an unconditional promise of unconditional grace.
The Triune God
Notice here a threefold declaration of covenant grace from the three persons of the Holy Trinity. The Lord God does not say, “I am the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” He says, “I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” He did not say that just to fill up space. There is much more here than is commonly observed.
· We worship one God in three Persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit (1 John 5:7).
· The Lord Jesus Christ is himself God, the only God our Savior.
· All the fulness of the Triune God dwells in the God-man, our Savior.
· Yet, all three Persons in the Godhead are engaged in the salvation of our souls (Eph. 1:3-14). And the work of one is just as essential and just as glorious as the work of the others.
· The triune God is revealed and known, worshipped and adored, only in the Person and work of our blessed Savior (John 1:18).
· And all that God is, as well as all he does for us in and by Christ, is ours because of a covenant made before the world was, an everlasting covenant full of divinely glorious, sweet “moreovers” (Ezek. 37:26-28; Rom. 5:1-21; 8:28-32).
(Romans 5:8-9) “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (9) Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.”
(Romans 5:10) “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”
(Romans 5:14-15) “Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. (15) But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.”
(Romans 5:17) “For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)”
(Romans 5:19-21) “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. (20) Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: (21) That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.”
(Romans 8:28-32) “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (29) For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. (30) Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. (31) What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? (32) He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?”
Moses asked the Lord to show him his name; and the Lord Jesus said “I AM THAT I AM” the covenant God of Israel. We have an fuller declaration in Matthew 1:21.
(Matthew 1:21) “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.”
(Acts 4:11-12) “This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. (12) Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”
(Psalms 9:10) “And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.”
He whose name is I AM THAT I AM, JEHOVAH-JESUS, is able to save. He declares, “Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?” (Jer. 32:27). “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them”; Heb. 7:25). And he will do it!
(Psalm 29:2) “Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.”
(Psalm 66:4) “All the earth shall worship thee, and shall sing unto thee; they shall sing to thy name. Selah.”
(Psalm 86:9) “All nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship before thee, O Lord; and shall glorify thy name.”
(Psalm 105:1) “O give thanks unto the LORD; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people.”
(Psalm 116:13) “I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the LORD.”
(Psalm 116:17) “I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the LORD.”
(Zephaniah 3:9) “For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the LORD, to serve him with one consent.”
(Romans 10:13) “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
I say to you who know him, let us publish the name of the Lord in all the earth.
· Jehovah-hoseenu “The Lord our Maker” (Psa. 95:6). He who is the Lord our Maker, not only made us, he has made us his people (1 Sam. 12:22).
· Jehovah-jireh “The Lord Will Provide” (Gen. 22:14).
· Jehovah-nissi The Lord our Banner (Exo. 17:15).
· Jehovah-rapha “The Lord that Healeth Thee” (Ex 15:26).
· Jehovah-shalom The Lord Our Peace (Joel 6:22-24).
· Jehovah-raah The Lord Our Shepherd (Psa. 23:1).
· Jehovah-tsidkenu “The Lord Our Righteousness” (Jer. 23:6).
· Jehovah-m’kaddesh “The Lord that doth sanctify you” (Exo. 31:13).
· Jehovah-shammah The Lord is there (Ezek. 48:35).
· Jehovah-Jesus The Lord our Savior (Matt 1:21).