Saturday, May 13, 2017

blessed, accepted, adopted, chosen, redeemed, forgiven, loved

artwork by Tamara Peterson
This delightfully beautiful work of art by Tamara Peterson illustrates so well the joyous, loving, and encouraging Truth from God’s Word contained in the first chapter of Ephesians.

When I was recently asked to speak to a ladies Bible study group, I shared this Truth that encourages me on a daily basis. Because I have been so encouraged by the study of Ephesians Chapter One, I wrote a series of 12 word studies on that chapter here.

These Truths from God’s Word encourage me, and I pray they will be an encouragement to you, too!

You are who God says you are…

In Christ, you are...

BLESSED with every spiritual blessing, 
         ACCEPTED in the Beloved Son of God, 
                 ADOPTED as a child of the King, 
                         CHOSEN before the foundation of the world, 
                                 REDEEMED by His Blood, 
                                          FORGIVEN by His Grace, 
                                                   LOVED with an everlasting love, and
                                                   underneath are the everlasting arms.

When you feel betrayed, God says: You are BLESSED
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” (Ephesians 1:3)

When you feel ignored, God says: You are ACCEPTED
"According to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved. (Ephesians 1:5-6)

When you feel abandoned, God says: You are ADOPTED
“Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will. (Ephesians 1:4-5)

When you feel inadequate, God says: You are CHOSEN
“Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.” (Ephesians 1:4)

When you feel rejected, God says: You are REDEEMED
“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that He lavished on us.” (Ephesians 1:7-8)

When you feel condemned, God says: You are FORGIVEN
“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that He lavished on us.” (Ephesians 1:7-8)

When you feel forgotten, God says: You are LOVED
“Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.” (Ephesians 1:4“The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” (Jeremiah 31:3)
“The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.” (Deuteronomy 33:27)


Lord Jesus, Thank You for this encouraging Truth from Your Word, that in Christ, we are who You say we are. Thank You for the free gift of salvation, that we are justified on the basis of Your finished work on the Cross. Thank You that, right now, we are under the completely sufficient imputed righteousness of Christ. Because we have placed our trust in the finished work of Jesus Christ, we are redeemed by Your precious blood. The threat of failure, judgment, and condemnation has been removed. Knowing that God’s love for us and approval of us will never be determined by our performance is the most encouraging promise to which we cling—what great things You have done! We love You, Lord. In Jesus' name we pray, amen.

Look Up—meditate on Ephesians 1 …pray to see what it reveals about the character of God.

Look In—as you meditate on Ephesians 1 …pray to see how you might apply it to your life. Be propelled to ask galvanizing questions about your discoveries: "Because God is_________, I will_____________."

Look Out—as you meditate on Ephesians 1…pray to see how you might apply it to your relationships with others. Let the nature of God impact on every relationship, for your good, and for His glory.


* If you liked this post, you’ll love this book – 
Name Above All Names Devotional: Focusing on 26 Alphabetical Names of Christ


Weekly LinkUps…

Friday, May 5, 2017

history...destiny...redemption

artwork by Tamara Peterson
Tamara Peterson’s beautiful work of art really illustrates so well the sovereignty of God. When I was asked to speak to a ladies Bible study recently, I learned they had been studying the Book of Esther. Immediately, the Scripture verse Esther 4:14 sprang to my heart, “And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” As I pondered this awesome Truth, I remembered this quote from the Bible Study on Esther by Beth Moore, which really resonated with me:
 
“You cannot amputate your history from your destiny, because that is redemption.”--Beth Moore 
 

As I meditated on this quote, I was thinking about how many times we wished our past, our history, our background was different; yet if we believe that God is all powerful and all knowing, we have to believe that He knows our past and our future, and His providence allows our past to be part of our destiny.

There are parts of our past that we prefer to stay hidden; but God wants to use all of it in His plan to bring restoration and healing to others. We can allow God’s redemption, forgiveness, and grace to give us a future and a hope, because He has amazing plans for us.

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”


No matter what our past holds, we can’t change it, but God can and will use it. Our history is what God uses to create our destiny. Our history—the good and the bad—was and is in the hands of a Sovereign God who loves us and has a wonderful plan, hope, and future for each of us.


We see how God took Esther, a young girl who had suffered the loss of both parents, and brought forth her glorious destiny. Such a tragic story, yet God used her past to make her into what He wanted her to be. He used her past to bring about the purpose He had for her life.


In Beth Moore’s Bible study on Esther, she refers to 1 Corinthians 1:26-31: “Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things – and the things that are not – to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God – that is our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: let him who boasts boast in the Lord.”


God does not comfort us to make us comfortable. He comforts us to make us comforters. We can take whatever difficult things that have happened to us and use them to help someone else who may be going through the same thing. Our experiences and difficult times can either make us bitter or better. How much more abundant our lives will be if we allow them to make us better.

Genesis 50:20 proclaims, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”

Romans 8:28, the Genesis 50:20 of the New Testament, declares, “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose.”
As Beth Moore stated, “Like Esther, we’re overshadowed, underrated, overwrought, under qualified, under attack, overanxious, and over responsible! Our trust in God reverses the detours of adversity into the highways of destiny.”

Author Tim Challies writes: “Have you ever compared the front and back of a tapestry? The front of a tapestry is art. In the hands of a skilled weaver it displays incredible artistry and fine detail. The world’s best art museums collect the world’s best tapestries and display them there as examples of a rare but beautiful form of art.
The back of a tapestry is a mess. A tapestry is made by weaving together different-colored threads, and the images and designs are created by the interplay between the different colors and textures. What is clear on the front is opaque on the back. The back shows something of the image, but it looks more like a child’s attempt than a master’s: it lacks nuance and clarity and detail. Where the front is smooth, the back is covered in knots and loose ends. We are meant to see and admire the front of the tapestry, not the back, and this has often served as an illustration of the truths of Romans 8:28; That God promises to use every single event in our lives to bring about good.
Though I have often heard Joni Eareckson Tada use the illustration, most sources believe it originated with Corrie ten Boom and her poem, “The Master Weaver’s Plan.” “Oft’ times He weaveth sorrow; / And I in foolish pride / Forget He sees the upper / And I the underside.” It serves as an effective illustration for the truth that for now we get to see only the underside of all God is weaving together in this world, while clinging to the promise that someday we will see the upper side and marvel at what He has been doing.

But it illustrates something else equally well—good deeds—not the good deeds people do to try to earn the favor of God, but the good deeds people do when they already know that Christ has earned them the favor of God. Titus 2 calls us to be people that are zealous for good works; in Matthew 5 Jesus tells us to let our light shine before others by doing good works; Ephesians 2:10 tells us that God’s very purpose in saving us was enabling us to glorify him by the good works we do for others. As Christians, we are to be known for our good works—those things done for the glory of God and the good of other people.

 

And so we go through life doing these good works, and far more often than not, these are small and seemingly inconsequential deeds. We rarely talk a person out of recklessly taking his own life; we rarely write a check that utterly transforms a life or ministry; we rarely save a drowning child or defuse a ticking time bomb. Instead, we interact with people for moments at a time and attempt to say something—anything—that may be encouraging; we write small checks and place them in the offering plate; we have brief conversations with children, and we share just a shred of the Good News with someone who crosses our path. Most of our good deeds go unnoticed and unmarked by others. Even we, ourselves, fail to notice or remember the majority of the good deeds we do. But not God. God sees them all, knows them all, remembers them all, and uses them all.

Just as someday, we will see the beautiful tapestry God has been weaving through our suffering, through the events we never would have chosen, in the same way we will see the tapestry this Master Weaver has been creating through those good deeds. We will see how a kind word resonated in a person’s heart even days and weeks later; we will see how that small amount of money was used to accomplish something amazing; we will see how that little shred of the gospel was the pebble in the shoe of the person who had hardened himself against God.


Someday, God will show us His tapestry, we will see how God has woven each of these little deeds together for our good, and His own glory, and we will rejoice.”

Pastor Warren W. Wiersbe writes in his book, The Knowledge of the Holy: “God will accomplish His sovereign purposes even if His servants refuse to obey His will!”

Dr. A. W. Tozer compared God’s sovereign purposes to an ocean liner, leaving New York City, bound for Liverpool, England. The people on board the ship are free to do as they please, but they aren’t free to change the course of the ship. “The mighty liner of God’s sovereign design keeps its steady course over the sea of history,” wrote Dr. Tozer. “God moves undisturbed and unhindered toward the fulfillment of those eternal purposes which He purposed in Christ Jesus before the world began”

Pastor John MacArthur writes: “The invisible hand of God is evident everywhere in the book of Esther. The absence of God’s name here is intentional. It is an ingenious strategy by the writer to draw the reader to think deeply about how life’s circumstances are ordered to the divine purpose. These are no coincidences—there are too many. This is not random. There is a designer. There is a coordinator. There is a power behind all of this. God literally thunders through the book of Esther. There are no miracles in the book of Esther, but the whole thing is a miracle of divine providence. People, places, time, action—it’s more than miraculous. Not Haman, not Satan using Haman, could destroy the people of God, could put an end to the promises for the preservation of the nation for the coming of Messiah, and the ultimate salvation of Israel. No one, no matter how they attempt to destroy the people of God and the purpose of God, can succeed because God’s covenant love for Israel will be fulfilled.
While you’re going through life and trying to make sure you fix all the little pieces of your life, understand this: that there is over and in, above and below your life a divine architect ordering every detail. And if you belong to Him and are in the covenant of His love, He is accomplishing His perfect will. And you can rest in that, you can rest in that.
The Lord is still on the throne. These are challenging times, challenging days to live in. You can become distressed about the way things are going in the world—chaotic, disconcerting, troubling, disturbing, distressing, in some ways, frightening. Not so in the Kingdom. The divine architect is ordering our lives, those of us who belong to Him and are in covenant love with Him. He is ordering our lives to His eternal glory, every part. How wonderful to live in that confidence!
Heavenly Father, we are so encouraged by the amazing story of Esther. We are so thankful that You are the same God today that You were then. That all things are being worked together by Your power for our good and Your eternal glory for those who love You and are called according to Your purpose. We thank You that we don’t live in a world of random events, but that our steps are ordered by the Lord. That You have a plan that is working out for us in every single detail that fits into Your sovereign purpose. How wonderful to know that and it is inevitably leading us to glory, to heaven. Thank You for this great revelation that takes all the fear and doubt and questioning out of life, and we live and rest in peace in Your sovereign providence. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.”

Look Up—meditate on Ephesians 2:10 …pray to see what it reveals about the character of God.

Look In
—as you meditate on Ephesians 2:10 …pray to see how you might apply it to your life. Be propelled to ask galvanizing questions about your discoveries: "Because God is_________, I will_____________."

Look Out—as you meditate on Ephesians 2:10 …pray to see how you might apply it to your relationships with others. Let the nature of God impact on every relationship, for your good, and for His glory.


* If you liked this post, you’ll love this book – Name Above All Names Devotional: Focusing on 26 Alphabetical Names of Christ

Friday, April 21, 2017

the Lord looks on the heart...


As I pondered this
 beautiful work of art by Krista Hamrick and her heart-felt prayer..."Lord, when You look inside my heart, I hope all You see is YOU!"…I felt led to do a word study of the word heart from 
1 Samuel 16:7

Amplified: ... "for the Lord sees not as a man sees, man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

The word heart, kardia, does not refer to the physical organ, but is always used figuratively in Scripture to refer to the seat and center of human life. The heart is the center of the personality, and it controls the intellect, emotions, and will.

Kardia gives us medical terms such as cardiac, cardiovascular, etc. Just as the integrity of our physical heart is vital to our physical life, in a similar and even more important way the integrity of our spiritual heart is vital to our spiritual life, for our spiritual life impacts not just our enjoyment of time, but of eternity.

While kardia does represent the inner person, the seat of motives and attitudes, the center of personality, in Scripture it represents much more than emotion, feelings. It also includes the thinking process and particularly the will. For example, in Proverbs we are told, “As (a man) thinks in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7). Jesus asked a group of scribes, “Why are you thinking evil in your hearts?” (Matthew 9:4). The heart is the control center of mind and will, as well as emotion.

The Scottish writer John Eadie writes, “The “heart” belongs to the “inner man,” is the organ of perception as well as of emotion; the centre of spiritual as it is physically of animal life.”

Biblical scholar W.E. Vine writes that kardia “came to denote man’s entire mental and moral activities, and to stand figuratively for the hidden springs of the personal life, and so here signifies the seat of thought and feeling.”

Pastor John MacArthur commenting on kardia writes, “While we often relate heart to the emotions (e.g., “He has a broken heart”), the Bible relates it primarily to the intellect (e.g., “Out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders,” Matt 15:19). That’s why you must “watch over your heart with all diligence”  (Proverbs 4:23). In a secondary way, however, heart relates to the will and emotions because they are influenced by the intellect. If you are committed to something, it will affect your will, which in turn will affect your emotions.”

Pastor Marvin R. Vincent writes, “Kardia is the central seat and organ of the personal life of man regarded in and by himself, Hence it is commonly accompanied with the possessive pronouns, my, his, thy, etc.”

Pastor Robert Haldane states, “Christian obedience is obedience from the heart in opposition to an obedience which is by constraint. Any attempt at obedience by an unconverted man, is an obedience produced by some motive of fear, self–interest, or constraint, and not from the heart. Nothing can be more convincing evidence of the truth of the Gospel than the change which it produces on the mind of the believer. Nothing but almighty power could at once transform a man from the love of sin to the love of holiness.”

Heavenly Father, I am so grateful that when You look at me, You see my heart covered by the blood of Jesus...Thank You for giving me a heart which yearns for Your Presence, a yearning for You that draws me over and over into Your Presence, a yearning that makes only a few days without time in prayer and Your Word seem like an eternity. Thank You for giving me a heart which is motivated first and foremost by a desire for You, not for what You can do for me, but a yearning for Your Presence. Thank You for giving me a heart that wants You more than anything else You could give, to love You and know You more than anything in life. Thank You for giving me a heart that takes what You have made known to me and makes You re-known to everyone else, a heart that makes Your name and renown the desire of my heart. Thank You for giving me a heart to feel Your Holy Spirit woo me once again to the place where I meet You. In the simplicity of my prayer time, thank You for giving me a heart to be suddenly confronted by the majesty of my Redeemer—the One Who is responsible for any good in me. Lord, each morning, thank You for giving me a heart that welcomes Your fresh mercies which fall like manna from Heaven, and once again move my heart. I gratefully surrender all. Morning after morning. In Jesus' name I pray, amen.

Look Up—meditate on 1 Samuel 16:7

Look In—as you meditate on 1 Samuel 16:7 ....pray to see how you might apply it to your life. Be propelled to ask galvanizing questions about your discoveries: "Because God is_________, I will_____________."

Look Out—as you meditate on 1 Samuel 16:7 ...pray to see how you might apply it to your relationships with others. Let the nature of God impact on every relationship, for your good, and for His glory.


 * If you liked this post, you’ll love this book – Name Above All Names Devotional: Focusing on 26 Alphabetical Names of Christ

Friday, December 23, 2016

26 Devotions Focusing on Christ in the Nativity Alphabet--Zion

Nativity Alphabet by Krista Hamrick

Krista Hamrick’s beautiful original art print, Nativity Alphabet, has so inspired me. Each of the 26 words in the Nativity Alphabet are so intricately painted, almost like stained glass windows. My heart has been drawn to write 26 Devotions Focusing on Christ in the Nativity Alphabet.





While pondering the word, “Zion,” I was inspired by Hillsong United’s anointed Zion Acoustic Sessions while studying Psalm 9:11


ERV: Sing praises to the Lord, who sits as King in Zion. Tell the nations about the great things he has done.

Expanded: Sing praises to the Lord who is king on Mount [dwells on] Zion [the location of the Temple]. Tell the nations [among the peoples] what he has done.

NCV: Sing praises to the Lord who is king on Mount Zion. Tell the nations what he has done.

Benson Commentary: "As the special residence of his glory is in heaven, so the special residence of his grace is in his church, of which Zion was a type: there he meets his people with his promises and graces, and there he expects they should meet him with their praises and services. Declare among the people his doings—Not only among the Israelites, but to the heathen nations, that they may also be brought to the knowledge and worship of the true God. Sing praises to the Lord—As the result of these views of his character, and at the remembrance of his doings. The heart of the psalmist is full of exultation and joy at the remembrance of the divine interposition, and he naturally breaks out into these strong expressions, calling on others to rejoice also. Which dwelleth in Zion—As Zion was the place where at this time the tabernacle was set up, and the worship of God was celebrated, it is spoken of as his dwelling-place. Declare among the people his doings—Make general and wide proclamation of what he has done; that is, make him known abroad, in his true character, that others may be brought also to put their trust in him, and to Praise him."

Pastor John Gill writes: “The psalmist having determined in the strength of grace to praise the Lord himself, and show forth all his marvelous works, and given his reasons for it, both with respect to himself in particular, and with respect to the people of God in general, here calls upon others to engage in the same work; the Lord is not only to be praised, which may be done by celebrating the perfections of his nature, and the works of his hands; by giving him thanks for mercies temporal and spiritual, and by living to his glory; but his praises are to be sung by a modulation of the voice in musical notes, as the word used signifies; where the same word is used of the singing of birds; and this is to be done by the saints jointly, in concert together, as Paul and Silas in prison sang the praises of God; and there is great reason why they should join together in this work, since they share the blessings of divine grace in common together. Jehovah, to whom praises are to be sung, is described as the inhabitant of Zion, the ark and tabernacle being there before the temple was built, which were symbols of the divine Presence. God by his essence and power is everywhere, he fills heaven and earth, and cannot be contained in either; his glorious presence is in heaven; his gracious presence is in his church and among his people; where they dwell he dwells, and where he dwells they dwell: hence the church is called by the same name as the Lord is here, the inhabitant of Zion; and this description of him points out the place where his praises are to be sung, in Zion; who are to sing them, the members of the church; and the reason why, because the Lord dwells in Zion; and is there a refuge for his people, and protects them.” 



What does it mean to trust the Lord, the King of Zion? It means looking to Him as the source of our security and putting our faith in the grace, love, power, and protection of God when the inevitable pressures of life come. It means knowing as the psalmist did that as the mountains surround and protect Zion, the city of Jerusalem, God himself surrounds and shields His people. When we trust the Lord, we don’t have to focus on the wicked and what they are doing or might do to us. We don’t have to rehash our own woes. Even though there are problems the size of mountains facing us, we can cry out to the Lord who created the mountains and is able to move them. As we sing praises to Him, and focus on Him and His truth, He will encourage our hearts and help us to tell the nations about the great things He has done!

Lord Jesus, King of Zion, I put my trust in You today. You are my security and protection, my shield, my fortress, and my hiding place, and I sing praises to You. When enemies surround me and troubles multiply, help me to remember that You are ever faithful and that You surround and protect me, both now and forever. Thank You for the free gift of salvation, that we are justified on the basis of Your finished work on the Cross. Thank You that, right now, we are under the completely sufficient imputed righteousness of Christ. Because we have placed our trust in the finished work of Jesus Christ, we are redeemed by Your precious blood. The threat of failure, judgment, and condemnation has been removed. Knowing that God’s love for us and approval of us will never be determined by our performance is the most encouraging promise to which we cling—what great things You have done! In Jesus' name we pray, amen.


Look Up—meditate on Psalm 9:11 …pray to see what it reveals about the character of God.

Look In
—as you meditate on Psalm 9:11 …pray to see how you might apply it to your life. Be propelled to ask galvanizing questions about your discoveries: "Because God is_________, I will_____________."

Look Out—as you meditate on Psalm 9:11…pray to see how you might apply it to your relationships with others. Let the nature of God impact on every relationship, for your good, and for His glory.


* If you liked this post, you’ll love this book – 
Name Above All Names Devotional: Focusing on 26 Alphabetical Names of Christ


Weekly LinkUps…

Thursday, December 22, 2016

26 Devotions Focusing on Christ in the Nativity Alphabet--Yawn

Nativity Alphabet by Krista Hamrick



Krista Hamrick's beautiful original art print, Nativity Alphabet, has so inspired me. Each of the 26 words in the Nativity Alphabet are so intricately painted, almost like stained glass windows. My heart has been drawn to write 26 Devotions Focusing on Christ in the Nativity Alphabet.





While pondering the word, “Yawn,” I imagined that precious Face of the infant Christ, Yahweh, the Son of God, yawning just prior to dozing off to sleep on that first Christmas night. I was inspired by listening to Phil Wickham’s anointed hymn, At Your Name (Yahweh Yahweh) while studying Exodus 3:13,15


HCSB: Then Moses asked God, “If I go to the Israelites and say to them: The God of your fathers has sent me to you, and they ask me, ‘What is His name?’ what should I tell them?” God also said to Moses, “Say this to the Israelites: Yahweh, 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; this is how I am to be remembered in every generation.”

LEB:  But Moses said to God, “Look, if I go to the Israelites and I say to them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,’ and they say to me, ‘What is his name?’ then what shall I say to them?” And God said again to Moses, “So you must say to the Israelites, ‘Yahweh, the God of your ancestors, 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 remembrance from generation to generation.’”

NOG: Then Moses replied to Elohim, “Suppose I go to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The Elohim of your ancestors has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ What should I tell them?” Again Elohim said to Moses, “This is what you must say to the people of Israel: Yahweh Elohim of your ancestors, the Elohim of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, has sent me to you. This is my name forever. This is my title throughout every generation.”

WEB:
Moses said to God, “Behold, when I come to the children of Israel, and tell them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you;’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ What should I tell them?” God said moreover to Moses, “You shall tell the children of Israel this, ‘Yahweh, 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 this is my memorial to all generations.”

Pastor Ken Hemphill writes: “Most Bible scholars would agree that the name Yahweh, or Jehovah, as it is sometimes translated, would be the proper name of God. The other names, including the compound names, provide further revelation of His character and His activity. JEHOVAH (YHWH…or JHVH) Note that the 4 letters (tetra means 4) of YHWH are often referred to as the Tetragrammaton. Vowels were added to the Tetragrammaton (literally "four lettered name"…Prior to 6th century Hebrew has no vowels—added to text AD 600-700) yielding the Name...YAHWEH ... which is most commonly transliterated (transcribed from one alphabet into corresponding letters of another alphabet) as...JEHOVAH. Various scholars have suggested different translations of the name of God used in this passage. The name is from the imperfect stem of the Hebrew verb "to be." The imperfect tense denotes an action that started in the past, continues in the present, but is not yet complete. Many Bible scholars follow the simple translation that we have in our text, "I am who I am." One of our Old Testament scholars at Southwestern translates it this way: "I AM who I have always been." I like this translation because it affirms that the God who spoke from the burning bush is the same God who worked through the lives of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It also implies His ability and desire to work through Moses in the present and the future. However we translate this name, we can be assured that it affirms God's self-existence and His eternality.”

Pastor Alexander Maclaren writes in his Expositions of Holy Scripture: “The fire that burns and does not burn out, which has no tendency to destruction in its very energy, and is not consumed by its own activity, is surely a symbol of the One Being, whose being derives its law and its source from itself, who only can say—“I AM THAT I AM”—the law of His nature, the foundation of His being, the only conditions of His existence being, as it were, enclosed within the limits of His own nature. He says, “I AM THAT I AM.” All other creatures are links; this is the staple from which they all hang. All other being is derived, and therefore limited and changeful; this being is underived, absolute, self-dependent, and therefore unalterable forevermore. Because we live, we die. In living, the process is going on of which death is the end. But God lives forevermore, a flame that does not burn out; therefore His resources are inexhaustible, His power unwearied. He needs no rest for recuperation of wasted energy. His gifts diminish not the store which He has to bestow. He gives and is none the poorer. He works and is never weary. He operates unspent; He loves and He loves forever. And through the ages, the fire burns on, unconsumed and undecayed.”

Pastor John Piper writes: “The most common and the most important name for God in the Old Testament is a name that in our English versions never even gets translated. Whenever you see the word LORD in all capital letters, you know that this name is behind it. In Hebrew the name had four letters — YHWH — and may have been pronounced something like Yahweh. The Jews came to regard this word with such reverence that they would never take it upon their lips, lest they inadvertently take the name in vain. So whenever they came to this name in their reading, they pronounced the word “adonai” which means “my lord.” The English versions have basically followed the same pattern. They translate the proper name Yahweh with the word LORD in all caps. This approach is not a very satisfactory thing to do, because the English word LORD does not communicate to our ears a proper name like John or Michael or Noël. But Yahweh is God’s proper name in Hebrew. The importance of it can be seen in the sheer frequency of its use. It 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. (Note: The word “Jehovah” originated from an attempt to pronounce the consonants YHWH with the vowels from the word adonai. In the oldest Hebrew texts there are no vowels. So it is easy to see how this would happen since whenever YHWH occurred in the text, the word adonai was pronounced by the reverent Jew.) The most important text in all the Bible for understanding the meaning of the name Yahweh is Exodus 3:13,15. God has just commanded Moses to go to Egypt and to bring his people Israel out of captivity. Moses says 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 (that is, Yahweh!), the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.” This is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations.’” Two facts persuade me that this text provides an interpretation of the name Yahweh. One is that the name Yahweh and the name I AM are built out of the same Hebrew word (hayah). The other is that Yahweh seems to be used here interchangeably with I AM. “I AM has sent me to you” (v. 14). “Yahweh . . . has sent me to you” (v. 15). I think it would be safe to say that God’s purpose in this meeting with Moses is to reveal, as he never had before (Exodus 6:2), the meaning of his personal name, Yahweh. The key is in the phrase, I AM, and especially in the phrase, I AM WHO I AM. So here is where we ought to spend a lot of time meditating. What does it mean when you ask your God, Who are you? and he answers, I AM WHO I AM? I hope you can begin to feel how important these words are. There aren’t any words more important than these. Any words that you think might be are important only because these words are true. The more you ponder them, the more awesome they become.”


Our world has seen more change from 1900 to the present than in all history recorded before 1900, and things continue to accelerate rapidly. As time speeds by, measured not just in minutes or seconds but in nanoseconds (billionths of a second), everything changes. Technology changes so fast in our twenty-first-century world that we can barely keep up with the upgrades on our computers. Our bodies undergo the inevitable aging process, and we witness constant upheaval in the nations of the world. Material things change and deteriorate. The changes in the world do not change God one bit or thwart His plans. He’s the same yesterday, today, and forever, and His love extends to the next generation and the next. Our security can’t be found in any of the things in this ever-changing world. Instead, our security is in God and His promises.


Unchanging Lord Jesus, Yahweh, I praise You and worship You for Your love and faithfulness that extend from one generation to the next. Thank You that although our circumstances may change and the things around us pass away, You remain the same forever. Help me to find my security in Your eternal sameness. Through all generations, even before You made the earth, You have been our dwelling place. You are God, without beginning or end. I am thankful that wherever I go, I don’t have to feel insecure or anxious because You are there! Thank You for Your faithfulness and loving-kindness that follows me all the days of my life. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.


Look Up—meditate on Exodus 3:13,15…pray to see what it reveals about the character of God.

Look In
—as you meditate on Exodus 3:13,15 …pray to see how you might apply it to your life. Be propelled to ask galvanizing questions about your discoveries: "Because God is_________, I will_____________."

Look Out—as you meditate on Exodus 3:13,15…pray to see how you might apply it to your relationships with others. Let the nature of God impact on every relationship, for your good, and for His glory.


* If you liked this post, you’ll love this book – 
Name Above All Names Devotional: Focusing on 26 Alphabetical Names of Christ


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