Let them praise the name of the Lord, for his name alone is exalted; his majesty is above earth and heaven. Psalm 148:13
God has made Himself known to us by making His name known to us. When we think of God’s name, we ought to think of His nature—His essence, His character, and His attributes. His name sets Him apart from everyone and everything else, representing all of who He is.
God’s encounter with Moses at the burning bush, recorded for us in Exodus 3, underscores the relationship between God’s name and His character. As Moses approached the bush, God instructed him to take off the shoes from his feet, as he was standing on holy ground. In the ensuing dialogue, after being commanded to go to Pharaoh and demand the Israelites’ release, Moses understandably asked, “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’s answer? “I am who I am” (Exodus 3:13-14).
God uses the verb to be—“I am” to convey His name. By using this verb, He distinguishes between Himself and all false gods, which ought to call themselves “I’m not.” Idols are made by human hands—or, in our day, often within our hearts. Craftsmen fashion them out of wood, stone, or ivory and fasten them on pedestals. Nevertheless, they inevitably topple over and need to be righted again. An idol demands our service, but it cannot save. It never delivers what it has promised.
But for the Creator of the ends of the earth, it is justifiable and right that He should be known as I am, for He is like no one else. He was not created. He is completely self-existent. He is completely self-fulfilled. He is in need of no one and nothing. That which He has always possessed, He still possesses. He knows neither beginning nor end. He fulfills all of His promises. He is the God of limitless life and power.
We are to exalt His name, and His name alone, for this is what we were made for. All of us struggle not to bow down before idols—those created things that we worship and make sacrifices for because we think they will bring us life. But if we would worship Him as we ought to, our idols must fall before Him. He is the only Creator, the only I am—the only one who rules earth and heaven.
Devotional material is taken from the Truth For Life daily devotional by Alistair Begg, published by The Good Book Company. Used by Truth For Life with permission. Copyright © 2021, The Good Book Company.