God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” – Exodus 3:14
Several years ago, my family made Names of God ornaments. On each one, we wrote a name and a scripture source for it. They are simple–nothing elaborate or difficult, but they are one of my favorite decorations to adorn the mantle. (Hint: shatter-proof ornaments are best. We used to place them on the tree, but after several ornaments with names of God on them broke, I started feeling guilty.)
The ornament of today’s contemplation is I AM. At first glance, it seems such a strange name. It’s really more of a statement, isn’t it? That’s the thing though–God is a statement! In those two little words, God is present in all facets of time.
God is of the past:
“I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” – Exodus 3:6
Living and active in the times of these patriarchs of the Jewish people, God was their past, present, and future. He was there before each of them, and He was there before the earth. He created everything and everyone!
God is in the present:
The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites.” – Exodus 3:7-8
If speaking this awareness and concern of His people amidst a burning bush that was not consumed wasn’t enough, God gives Moses further proof in Exodus 4:4-8, when God turns a staff into a snake and back again, and makes Moses’ hand leprous then restores it to health. Throughout Old and New Testaments, the phrase, “I am with you” is used many times. He knows we need that reassurance.
God is of the future:
“I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.” – Exodus 3:12
This and many other examples came to pass as proof of God’s faithfulness. God made countless promises that, in our hindsight, became a past we learn from and can trust.
The idea of a God who is beyond time–who has been, is, and will be–is baffling and awesome for me. Being past, present, and future is a mystery that theologians cannot fully explain, and it further widens the chasm between our knowledge and His. That He is a God who loves me enough to send His Son to earth to teach, encourage, chastise, live perfectly, befriend, be betrayed, and die for me is nearly too wondrous to comprehend. However, I can try, and in doing so, know Him, the great I AM, better.
What are you contemplating about God this Advent season?