What’s in a Name?

Daily Devotional with Dr. Charles Stanley @ InTouch.org

Friday, December 23, 2011

What’s in a Name?

Read | Exodus 3:13-15

Today, most people choose names for children based on their preferences, but in ancient times, a name characterized the person. When God identified Himself to Moses, He said, “I AM WHO I AM.” This may seem like a strange name to us, but in reality, it’s the most effective way to describe someone who is completely self-existent. In essence, He’s saying, “From eternity past through the present and into eternity future, I AM.” We know this rendering of God’s name as Jehovah or Yahweh. In most versions of the Bible, it is usually translated as “Lord” in capital letters.

Throughout Jewish history, God’s name was associated with His presence. When He led the children of Israel through the wilderness, He went with them as a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night (Ex. 13:21). After they built the tabernacle, He met with Moses above the mercy seat of the Ark of the Covenant (25:22). God gave the Israelites visible, physical symbols to remind them of His everlasting presence with them.

When Joshua finally led the people into the Promised Land, the Lord gave him two promises: “I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you” and “The Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Josh. 1:5, 9).

What a great assurance to know that God will never leave His children, and nothing touches a believer without first touching Him. Our Father goes ahead of you and me to prepare the way and walks with us through every situation. Strive to be aware of His presence, and you will know peace.

Exodus 3

Moses at the Burning Bush

1 Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian. And he led the flock to the back of the desert, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2 And the Angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed. 3 Then Moses said, “I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn.” 4 So when the LORD saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!”    And he said, “Here I am.”    5 Then He said, “Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.” 6 Moreover He said, “I am the God of your father—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon God.    7 And the LORD said: “I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows. 8 So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites. 9 Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel has come to Me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them. 10 Come now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.”    11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?”    12 So He said, “I will certainly be with you. And this shall be a sign to you that I have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.”    13 Then Moses said to God, “Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they say to me, ‘What is His name?’ what shall I say to them?”    14 And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” 15 Moreover God said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel: ‘The LORD 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 this is My memorial to all generations.’ 16 Go and gather the elders of Israel together, and say to them, ‘The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, appeared to me, saying, “I have surely visited you and seen what is done to you in Egypt; 17 and I have said I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt to the land of the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, to a land flowing with milk and honey.”’ 18 Then they will heed your voice; and you shall come, you and the elders of Israel, to the king of Egypt; and you shall say to him, ‘The LORD God of the Hebrews has met with us; and now, please, let us go three days’ journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the LORD our God.’ 19 But I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go, no, not even by a mighty hand. 20 So I will stretch out My hand and strike Egypt with all My wonders which I will do in its midst; and after that he will let you go. 21 And I will give this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians; and it shall be, when you go, that you shall not go empty-handed. 22 But every woman shall ask of her neighbor, namely, of her who dwells near her house, articles of silver, articles of gold, and clothing; and you shall put them on your sons and on your daughters. So you shall plunder the Egyptians.”

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