By Alan Wright — December 13, 2019
In contrast to Nike’s famous slogan, the biblical invitation begins with “Just ‘Be’ It.” God is, first and fundamentally, the One who IS and thus we are invited to BE.
We almost can’t help but define people by what they do. We say, “This is Sam, he’s a carpenter.” Or, “Meet Susie, she’s a doctor.” Or, “Let me introduce you to Phil, he’s an accountant.” We write letters and, at the bottom of the page under our signatures, we list what we do.
On the one hand, it’s understandable because, whether raising kids or running a company, we spend so much time in our vocations. But aren’t you more than what you do? If you stopped doing what you do vocationally, you would still be a person, right?
In an attempt to avoid God’s call, Moses complained, “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?” (Exodus 3:13, ESV). God’s famous answer is mystifying in its ramifications: “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’” (Exodus 3:14, ESV).
The most important name for God in the Old Testament is never translated literally in the Bible. The name, transliterated from Hebrew, is YHWH. It may have been pronounced “Yahweh.” Those four letters are considered so holy by the Jewish people that they dared not utter it aloud and so, for fear of inadvertently speaking the name in vain, pronounced the Hebrew name, “Adonai,” (“My Lord”) instead. Jehovah is a blend of the consonants YHWH and the vowel sounds of Adonai. Brought into Latin, it became “Jehovah.” When you see “LORD” (in all caps) in English translations, it is referencing YHWH.
God’s covenantal name, Yahweh, essentially means “Being.” Yahweh means literally, “I am being.” In revealing His personal name, God essentially told Moses, The most important thing that you need to know about me is that I AM.
You are made in the image of God and, by design, you are defined not by what you do, but by who you are. You are a human being, not a human doing. The most important thing you can know about God is that He really exists and that He is infinitely valuable and worthy of your praise whether He does anything for you or not. Likewise, you, made in His image, are infinitely valuable whether you do anything or not. And that’s the Gospel.