God’s Name

The bumper sticker said, “God is too big to fit into just one religion.”  Hmmmm…  If they meant that Jews and Christians worship the same God, okay, I agree with that.  But if they meant that all religions share the same God, then we got a problem – sloppy, illogical thinking.  If one person’s God says He has chosen a small tribe of people and will use them to extend blessing to the world, and another guy’s “god” says that that same tribe of people must be eradicated from the earth before his blessing can come, then those two guys are not hearing from the same God.

Because we humans cannot fully perceive or understand God, we have a tendency to define Him according to what we think He should be like.  We say things like, “If there is a God, then why do people starve?”  Questions like that presume that we have the capacity and the right to define God’s character.  We give God a make-over, according to our own preferences.  And we wind up with many different gods.

News flash: We are not in charge of Who God is.  He is.  When He called Moses to rescue the Israelites from slavery, Moses asked Him for some ID:

Moses said to God, “Suppose 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?’ Then what shall I tell them?” God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’  ”God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The Lord, 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, the name by which I am to be remembered from generation to generation.  (Exodus 3:13-15)

What a perfect name: “I Am Who I Am; deal with it!”  Throughout the Bible, humans try to redefine the character of God and pretend that He is the way they want Him to be.  Tragic things ensue.  But God doesn’t change; He says, “My name (the essence of Who I am) is I AM WHO I AM.”

An acquaintance,  who is in recovery, talked about how, in AA meetings, everybody seems to have a personal “Higher Power,” each of them with different personalities.   Then he said, “But I am the lump of clay; I am the one who needs to be molded and changed, not God.”   My friend may have done some dumb things in the past, but he has discovered the beginning point for wisdom.  He knows Who God is: He is Who He Is.

You turn things upside down,
as if the potter were thought to be like the clay!
Shall what is formed say to him who formed it,
“He did not make me”?
Can the pot say of the potter,
“He knows nothing”? (Is 29:16)
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”  (Proverbs 9:10)

When Jesus taught His disciples to pray, He said they should start out by praying that the Name of their Heavenly Father would be held in high reverence.  Once you know God’s Name is I AM WHO I AM, everything else can fall into place.

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