Listen to the suggested worship songs listed on the bottom of this page while you are reading!
“Then Moses said to God, “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 said to Moses, “I am who I am.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘I am has sent me to you.’” God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations.”
Why Learn About “Yahweh”?
The name of Yahweh is probably one of the most well-known names of God that came out of the Old Testament. While other names and titles have been given to God throughout history, the name of Yahweh was the name God gave to Himself. A name so sacred and so holy, the people of God refused to speak it out loud in fear of dishonoring God and speaking the name in vain. Therefore the people of God usually substituted the name of God with other names such as Adonai (my Lord), and if the people of God were to use the name, they usually wrote it down instead of speaking it. John Piper states that the name of Yahweh “occurs 6,828 times in the Old Testament. That’s more than three times as often as the simple word for “God” (Elohim — 2,600; El — 238). What this fact shows is that God aims to be known not as a generic deity, but as a specific Person with a name that carries his unique character and mission.” 1 This is why we are learning about the name of Yahweh.
Basics of Definition
God reveals His proper name to Moses in the desert in Exodus 3:13-15. In the Hebrew, the name of God would have been pronounced, “Yahweh (YHWH),” but in English, this name translates to “I AM.” Take a minute to just ponder upon the name “I AM.” There is so much power in that name that it is hard to completely wrap your head around it. The name of Yahweh is used to refer to the one true God.
I quickly want to revert to an illustration Pastor Steven Furtick used in his book, “(Un)qualified.” In this book, Furtick points out how often we introduce/identify ourselves as “I AM ______.” Whatever word is filled on the simple blank line can hold so much power in regards to our identity and self perception. In regards to God’s conversation with Moses, Furtick wrote, “Think about those two words: I AM, such a tiny, underwhelming phrase….Yet it is the most potent, revolutionary statement ever made. Within it is a power that can peel off the past, pilot the present, and frame the future.” 2
Basic Understandings of What Yahweh Means:
I AM - Your Savior
I AM - Your Salvation
I AM - Your Closest Friend
I AM - LORD
I AM - Before All
I AM - Above All
I AM - The Beginning and the End
I AM - The Messiah
And the list could go on and on…
There is power in the name of Yahweh! The name of Yahweh signifies and confirms the existence and everlasting presence of God. 3 In the entire Scripture story, we see God’s character and intentional devotion to redeem His people in order to have a relationship with them.
Jesus Claims to be Yahweh!
“Perhaps the strongest claim Jesus made to be Yahweh is in John 8:58, where He says, “Before Abraham was born, I Am!” This statement claims not only existence before Abraham, but equality with the “I AM” of Exodus 3:14. The Jews around Him clearly understood His meaning and picked up stones to kill Him for blaspheming. The same claim is made in Mark 14:62 and John 18:5-6.” 4
Jesus reveals His true identity in all of John 8, but in verse 58, Jesus declares, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” While Jesus defines His unique identity, power, and authority throughout Scripture, He associates not only to God, but as one with, and equal to Yahweh (I AM).
Yahweh In Modern Worship
The name of Yahweh should be held as high in reverence today as it was in ancient times. Yahweh is to be praised. Whether we speak, sing, or write out His holy name, Yahweh should always be lifted high and worshipped.
Quite honestly, this discussion post barely scratches the surface of this given topic. But if there is anything I want you to walk away with, it is the power and significance of the personal name of God. So engage with Yahweh - the GREAT I AM! He is the Lord Jesus, and He desires an intimate relationship with you. My challenge is for you to cry out to Yahweh. He is there waiting.
The day is coming when every knee will bow and every tongue confess with us that Jesus Christ is YAHWEH to the glory of God the Father! 5
Here are two song suggestions for the week from this given topic:
- Piper, John. ""I Am Who I Am"" Desiring God. N.p., 16 Sept. 1984. Web. 16 Sept. 2016.
- Furtick, Steven. (Un)qualified: How God Uses Broken People to Do Big Things. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print.
- Baugher, Corey. "The Meaning of Yahweh." Knowing the Bible. Knowing The Bible, 11 Jan. 2007. Web. 15 Sept. 2016.
- Geisler, Norman L. Systematic Theology. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House, 2002. Print.
- Bloom, Jon. "Jesus Christ Is YAHWEH." Desiring God. N.p., 16 Apr. 2011. Web. 15 Sept. 2016.