Why God's Name Is A Verb

What is a verb anyway? A verb is a word that “denotes an action, an occurrence or a state of being.”  Of course God is all of this and more. However, when Moses is confronted by the burning bush and God commands him to go to Egypt to free his people, Moses asks….“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?” (Exodus 3:13).

In Hebrew God tells Moses His name….”ehyeh-asher-ehyeh.”  In the present tense this means….”I AM”…. but also in the future tense is translated, “I will be.”  In fact, the three Hebrew words could be translated in a variety of ways; “I am who I am;” “I will be who I will be;” or “I cause to be what I cause to be.” These variations preserve the mysterious nature of God. This means that God’s name is not only a noun such as “Father” but also a verb.

So when Moses receives an answer to his question …. it really is no answer at all! Is God toying with Moses, teasing him?  Or does “I will be who I will be” indicate annoyance, even anger on part of God toward Moses who dares to ask such a question? No! The mystery of God cannot be captured in a name. For Moses and for us, that knowledge is a good beginning for relating to God.

So now the name that is not a name also reveals God’s sovereignty. God is maintaining ..... the manner of my being is as I will it, not to be caught in one image or only in one name.  But I will be present now, I was present in the past, and I will be in your future.

Therefore, God promises His presence at all times. So God’s name remains a mystery.  Really beyond our understanding. God’s name should always be held in reverence. Do you sometimes take His name in vain such as “OMG”?  I cringe whenever I hear well-meaning people use that expression without understanding (Deuteronomy 5:11).

Always remember …. God knows your name …. Do you honor His? —Barbara Hyland, guest writer

Mike Riley, Gospel Snippets