“Before Abraham was, I Am”(John 8:58). One of my favorite sermon series my husband Erik has preached is on the “I Am” statements of Christ in the book of John. These statements are not just found in John, but throughout the whole Bible. It all began in Exodus 3:14 at the burning bush when “God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM’; and He said, ‘Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you” (NASB). As you read through chapter 3 of We Would See Jesus, you will begin to realize just how important this name really is. Roy explains the meaning of Jehovah as I Am, the ever-present, eternal God.
Roy says, “The special revelation which this name gives is that of the grace of God. ‘I Am’ is an unfinished sentence. It has no object. I am – what? Great is our wonder when we discover, as we continue with our Bibles, that He is saying, ‘I Am whatever My people need,’ and that the sentence is purposely left blank so that man may bring his many and various needs, as they arise, to complete it! Apart from human need, this great name of God goes round and round in a closed circle, ‘I Am that I Am’ – which means that God is incomprehensible. But the moment human need and misery present themselves, He becomes just what that person needs.”
I want to challenge you this week to meditate on what the name Jehovah means in your life. Imagine a blank check made out to you from the Bank of Heaven, and it is up to you to fill in the blank with whatever it is that you need. Do you need peace? God says, “I AM your peace.” Do you need wisdom? “I AM your wisdom.” Do you need hope? “I AM your hope,” and we could go on and on from there. I am not talking about the temporal needs and wants we all have. I am talking about the eternal needs in our heart of hearts that only God can supply. What an amazing discovery when we realize that in Jesus Christ is found all that we need!
Throughout the Old Testament, God begins to fill in the blank with other names such as Jehovah Jireh (I Am your Provider), Jehovah Shalom (I Am your Peace), Jehovah Nissi (I Am your Banner), Jehovah Tsidkenu (I Am your Righteousness). In the New Testament, we see Jesus as the fulfillment of all that God is. We looked at this last week, that in Jesus Christ, “all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form” Colossians 2:9. When you begin to realize the truth of this, it is truly life changing. God’s heart for His people in the Old Testament was expressed through the person of Jesus Christ in the New Testament. But Jesus didn’t just come on the scene at his birth in the gospels! He has always existed because He is God.
Matthew 1:21 says, “She will bear a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins” (NASB). Don’t miss the connection of the name Jesus with the name Jehovah. Roy points out that “this might be written Je-sus, and, it seems, is but a contraction of Jehovah-Sus, which simply means, ‘I Am thy Salvation.’ ” Joshua is another form of that word (Jehovah is Salvation).
I will close with this quote from the end of the chapter. ” ‘We would see Jesus’ is our theme. Seeing Him is not merely attaining an objective knowledge of Him; it is something subjective and experiential. It is seeing Him by faith to be just what I need as a sinner, as a failure, as a poverty-stricken weakling, and allowing Him to be just that to me in this hour.” Friend, we don’t just come to Jesus as sinners in the hour of salvation, but we must come to Him as such every hour of every day. When we present ourselves to Him daily as the empty, weak, needy persons that we are, He is able to fill us up. John 4:14 says, “but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life” (NASB).
Here are some things to meditate on throughout this week. This is a little more than normal, but I think you will be blessed!
- Day 1: Read Exodus 17 and write out everything you learn about God being our banner (Jehovah-Nissi). What did it mean to Israel? What does it mean to us? How does 1 Corinthians 15:57 show that Christ is our banner? Now read Judges 6:11-24 and write out how God responded to Gideon’s fear (hint: v 24 Jehovah-Shalom). What does Ephesians 2:14 say about Jesus and how does that relate to Jehovah-Shalom?
- Day 2: Read Jeremiah 23:5-6. This passage is a prophecy of Christ! Note that Jehovah God refers to Him as “The LORD our righteousness” (Jehovah-Tsidkenu). What does this mean to you? Now read Genesis 22:1-19. How does God reveal Himself to Abraham as Jehovah-Jireh (v 14)? How does John 3:16 compare to Genesis 22?
- Day 3: Read Exodus 15:22-27. How does God reveal Himself as the God who heals? (Jehovah-Rapha). Now read Isaiah 53:5. How is our spiritual healing seen through Christ?
- Day 4: Read Genesis 16. What did Hagar call God in verse 13? (El-Roi). He is the God who sees! Now read Psalm 23. The word for shepherd in verse 1 in the Hebrew is “ra-ah.” He is our shepherd, the God who sees. Write down everything you learn about God in these two passages. Now read John 10:11 and write down how this name of God is expressed in Jesus Christ (Jehovah Ra-ah).
- Day 5: Read Ezekiel 48:30-35. This passage is describing the “New Jerusalem” city gates. What is the name of the city called in verse 35? (Jehovah-Shammah). Now read Matthew 1:23 and write down how Jesus’ name Immanuel expresses the idea of God being “there” or present with us.
As you reflect on God’s Word this week, prayerfully answer the following questions.
- How does seeing God as Jehovah change how you view your current circumstance?
- What are some ways that Jesus expresses the names of God?