Whenever I am so generously and graciously given opportunity and the privilege to open the Word from this pulpit, I have a singular aspiration, singular goal, and that is to exalt God, to open the Word in such a way that the Word would work on our minds to make us more fixated upon him, to have a deeper and more awesome comprehension and impression of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the lofty perception of him; for us to walk away from here with greater conviction, greater certainty that there is no one like our God, and he is worthy to be worshiped, and we must trust in him, and he is the only one to be trusted. That is the goal. And this is all the more necessary to continue to renew our minds at this time, not only given the times, and the dark times that we are in, but given the fact that society bombards us with a degraded picture of God.
In our world, society twists God and demotes God. In our world society at best thinks of God as a genie, as a cosmic Santa Claus, or as your butler. You just ask him for things and he gives them to you. And when God doesn't give you what you ask for, people then get very upset, and they get very philosophical. They start talking about things like “the problem of evil,” and then they proclaim, “I don't believe in God anymore.” Now if you stop and think about it, that is a completely irrational set of reasoning. Parents tell their kids “no” all the time, and when parents tell their kids “no,” their kids may retort to them in many different ways. But what never comes out of their mouth is, “Mom and Dad, you said no to me, therefore I don't even believe you exist anymore.” They may say many things, but that is not one of them. But that tells you where our society thinks about God. Sometimes our society doesn't even think of God as a genie, they just think of him as a concept. He's just a philosophical construct that we can dissect and analyze. Sometimes they just think of him as an impersonal force. He's someone who can be channeled and manipulated to make you feel very religious and spiritual.
Sometimes our society views God as their excuse. God is the justification for anything—For a political policy or action: “God would do this.” Or perhaps a personal aspiration. People say “God showed me,” “God told me to do this.” Or for some kind of moral aberrancy, people say this: “Well, God made me that way.” God is just society's excuse to do whatever they want to do. God can also be to society their therapist, their life-coach. You can rant to him, and he can inspire and improve your life, and he can coddle all your sins, so you can feel better about yourself. Society also views God as their crutch. You never talk to him unless you need him, and he's just there at your beck and call, at your convenience. And really, God, in society's mind, is thought of as nothing. Nothing. Because they barely ever think of him, and when they do, he’s still nothing, since, if God is just some genie pushover that you can command, or some concept that you can analyze, or some force you can manipulate, or just the validation for whatever you want, then God is your pawn. God is your pawn. And if he's your pawn, he's nothing. He's nothing.
And the danger is, is that what society has construed God to be sometimes influences our thinking more than scripture. That's a danger. Take, for example, this phrase, found throughout scripture: Two words: “Fear God.” “Fear God.” Now, sometimes when we hear that phrase as it comes up in the Bible, we have questions, and our questions primarily revolve around the first word of this two-worded phrase, “fear.” We wonder does fear really mean fear, does it mean to be scared, does it mean to have horror, does it mean to have terror, does it mean to have dread? That doesn’t make a lot of sense to us, this phrase puzzles us, so we say, “Oh, no no no no, fear just means a lot of reverence, a lot of respect and awe.” So brothers and sisters, I think this phrase puzzles us for a completely different reason. We are actually completely understanding of the first word, the word “fear.” That's not a problem. The very reason that we're asking the questions that we do assumes that we know what the word means. The reason this phrase puzzles us is not because of the first word... It is because of the second word, because of the word “God.” Because if God to you is just the genie, because if God to you is your cosmic butler, because if God to you just your excuse, or your crutch, or your pawn, of course it doesn’t make any sense to say fear God. You don't fear any of those things. And the reason then we struggle with the phrase “fear God” is not because we don't understand the word fear, it is because we do not understand God. It is precisely what Psalm 50 reminds us. In that Psalm God declares this: “You thought I was just like you.” We are all guilty of that.
Society sometimes has influenced our mind and thinking about God, as opposed to scripture, and we need a contrasting picture, a contrasting picture, to elevate us out of that direness, out of that dirt and grime that degrades God, into who he truly is. And Exodus chapter 3 provides us that picture. Turn with me there to Exodus chapter 3, verse 14. God says to Moses, “I am who I am,” and in those words we behold the absolute Majesty of God, what makes God, God. And in the context of even this phrase in chapter 3 verse 14, the context of Exodus 3, the immediate context, what we behold, is God bombarding us with the reality of his greatness. How do we know that? Well, it's his greatness reflected in his revelation to us, how he reveals himself. Notice, and we are very familiar with this, Moses himself says in Exodus 3:3, “I want to see this marvelous sight.” What is the sight? the sight is a bush that cannot burn. That's the kind of bush that we want in California. But you can't find one that is on fire, but yet is not consumed why? Because God reveals himself and shows, “I do what no one else and nothing else can do.” He is not contained by our natural limitations. He is unlimited. He reveals himself this way.
He's great, and he reveals himself as great, not only by the revelation of himself, but by the demanded response to him. We know this. He says to Moses, verse 5, “Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is Holy ground.” Is Holy ground. The demanded response. How dare we casually approach deity. I don't want to get into worship wars or modes or styles, but there is a heart issue to be addressed here. when people say well worship should cater to my style, my interest it should make me feel lift up my emotions. Here's the question... Who are you worshiping at that point? Hint, it's not God, because he hasn’t factored into your explanation at all. And here in this response, God reminds Moses, “I'm the Holy One, I'm the perfect one, I'm the object of worship. It's not about you. You approach me, not the other way around. Let's get the relationship right.” God demonstrates his greatness by the response demanded. But it's not just by the response demanded, or the revelation of himself, it is by Moses's reaction. Look at verse 6. “Then Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.” What you have with Moses, he is so overwhelmed, he is paralyzed, he is frozen, he is terrified. And that tells you everything you need to know about the overwhelming overcoming majestic nature of the glory of God. God is great.
God is great, he's great, in his revelation of himself. He is great in the demanded response to himself. He is great as seen in the reaction of people who encounter even a glimpse of him. Here's the question then, what makes God so great? What makes God, God? What is all that is in God? And this is not just the question we might have, this is the very question that Moses has in chapter 3 verse 13. “They will say to me,” he says speaking of Israel, “what is his name?” We need to understand that phrase very carefully to understand what we're about to get into. “What is his name” is not a question of God, how do you pronounce your name again? It's not that. It's not, “God, can you explain to me and remind me if Yahweh has two “H's” or one?” It isn't, “Oh, you have one name. Do you have a last name?” That is not what is being asked here. It is not, “What is God's title?” Everyone knows God's title. Everyone knows what the name expresses in the sense of, how do you say it. The question, though, in Hebrew, both in what the word “name” means, as well as the Hebrew construction denotes this, “what makes you, you?” “What is your essence?” That's what name means. What is your substance? Who are you? What makes God, God? What is all that is you? What does it mean to be God?
Now that is a profound question. That is a profound question, and the answer to that question is, “I am who I am.” This is not just how to spell, pronounce, or what is the title for God. It is about, and all about, the very essence, the very core, the very substance of God, what makes God, God, all that is in God. This is a loaded phrase. In fact, one time I was reading in a resource and it said there are approximately 97 views on this phrase. Now, given the amount of time that we have, don't worry, we're only going to go through 96. Just kidding! But this is a loaded and rich phrase. It's dense, it's deep, and we need to go through it. We need to go through it because we want to know our God. We want to view him as God, not just the promoted human or some figment of our imagination we want to know him for who he actually is. So bear with me as we go through this very dense and powerful revelation, “I am who I am.” I want to offer us three observations about the Divine Name, so we renew our minds again about the greatness, the supremacy, the preeminence of our God, and we treat God as God.
A.) Three observations about this Divine Name. And here is the first one of those observations. It is this: He transcends everything.
He transcends everything. Look at the first part of “I am who I am.” Namely, the words, “I am.” At this moment what we have to understand is the words “I am” are not just some introduction to a description. Sometimes we say, “I'm a nice guy,” or, “I'm a Christian,” or, “I'm a member of Grace community Church.” “I am,” there, refers to linking us with a following adjective, with a following description, with the following characteristic. But “I am” here is not about that. It's for that very reason in Genesis 26:13 and Genesis 31:3 God says this to his people: “I am with you.” That's not about linking a description. That's all about saying this:
“All that I am, my entire presence, my entire being, it's with you, it's alongside of you, it's there to help you.” “I am” denotes all that God is. Tt isn't just a link to a description, it is the description. That's what we have to understand. It is the description. It's for that very reason that, later on in the same verse, chapter 3 verse 14, Yahweh says, “I am has sent me to you.” He can just use the words “I am” because it is the description of God. It is for this very reason, later on in John chapter 8, you know the phrase, what does our Lord Jesus Christ say? “Before Abraham was, I am.” And no one says, “Uhhh, Lord? ‘I am’ what?? I don't... did you not finish the sentence there?” No one says that! Because everyone understands “I am” is not just a bridge to a description, it is the description. So here's the question: What's in this description? What is contained here? And there is a lot contained therein, and one of the best ways to bring it out is by virtue of contrast:
1.) And there are three kind of “I’s” that we can give, three characteristics, attributes, that start with “I” that I am brings forth, and here's the first one: God is Infinite.
God is infinite. Notice the text does not say, “I came to be,” “I became,” “I happened,” or, “I was created.” If it said any of those things, we got a problem. We got a problem, because God, then, is made. He's a created being, and therefore he would not be God. But this text does not say that. It says, “I am.” God always is. He is always existent, he is self-existing, he is uncreated. He is infinite. He goes and stretches back to eternity past and eternity future. He is who He is, I am. And this is very profound to think about God's Infinity. You can think about it in a lot of different ways. You can think about going through all the history of all the world, and all the places of all the Galaxy, and you go through it all, and you extend back, and you even extend back to the point of time when God created this world, the sun, moon, and stars, light and darkness, land and sea, and the light. All throughout that, God is there, and God is even there before that. That's I am. Infinite. That's massive.
Here's another way to think about it. If you think about anything in this world, everything in this world, every single thing, it’s part of this creation, it's created. It is made. It is created. In fact, John 1 reminds us of this. It says this: everything that has come to be has come to be through Him. Everything you know about, everything you observe, it has come to be. We are things that come to be, but we come to be through Him, which means He, the “him” there, Jesus, and God himself of course, never came to be. Never. And that's right, because we come to be, but He is I am. That's the difference. And this should help us sharpen our understanding of God. everything in this world is one thing God is entirely “other.” Sometimes we want to think of God as as “one of many.” He's just really special, but He's just “one of many.” No, if you think of God that way, you have the wrong God. If sometimes we want to think of God as “one of a kind,” he’s just really, really above us and he's just exceptional that way, he’s just one of a kind, you’ve still got it wrong. Because you put him in our category. He is not that. You have the wrong God. What we have to understand is God is not “one of many” or, “one of a kind,” he is “one and only.” That is the nature of our God. He is transcended above and is transcendent above everything. He's God, I am who I am.
There's another way to think about the eternality, the infinity of God. Everything we know in life, everything we think about in life, everything we experience in life, it has a beginning, it
has a middle, it has an end. You begin, you have a birthday. After a lot of birthdays, you have a mid-life crisis, and after a lot of birthdays after that, you meet your maker. And if you know the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, and have your sins forgiven, you spend eternity with him. Beginning, middle, and end. We have a beginning, middle, and end. In schooling, we have a beginning, middle, and end. In vocation we have a beginning, middle, and end. In parenting. This sermon, hypothetically, may have a beginning, middle, and end. Everything we know about has a beginning, middle, and end, because we are bound by time. We are bound by the progression of chronology. But God does not respond that way. God is not that way. You say, “How do you know that?” Remember that phrase we just talked about? “Before Abraham was, I am.” Now, that is not how grammatically or philosophically we would express ourselves. If I was downstairs and I said, “Kids, come down,” they would not say, “I am there.” I'd say, “No, you're not, that's why I'm calling you down.” They said, “Well, I was there yesterday.” “Yes, you were there yesterday. I was there yesterday, but you are not there now, so come on down right now.”
We know how to talk, we know how we experience things, we know how this works, and if we were saying the phrase, “Before Abraham was I... was.” that's how we would say it, because that's how we experience things. Because that's what confines us, and defines us. But our Lord does not say it that way. He does not express the interaction the way we would. He says not, “I was,” but, “I am.” And that's not just because he's appealing to the divine name. Absolutely that is true, but he is bringing forth what the divine name means, and what He is saying is, yes, you experience time: “I was,” but I [God] am interacting with time differently: “I am.” And the question is, why does God express it differently? Because, unlike us, he is not bound by time. He is completely outside, exterior to it. He is completely different than us. And remember this, everything we think, everything we perceive, everything we act, everything we do, is bound by time. God is outside of everything you are. He is completely other. He transcends everything. He is infinite.
2.) But it's not just that he's infinite, he's immutable. This is a second aspect of “I am.” It's not just that he's infinite. It's that he's Immutable.
Notice the text does not say, “I was.” If the text said that, it would use words that we often use to denote change for ourselves. “I was not a nice guy. Now I am a nice guy.” “I was not a Christian before, now I am a Christian.” When we say the words “I was,” it implies change, and difference. God never changes. And we see that. The scripture affirms it. James 1:17 reminds us there's no shadow of turning in God. In Psalm 102 verse 27 as well as Hebrews 1:11, it reminds us the whole world may change, but God remains. He never changes.
Sometimes people wonder, “But doesn’t the Scripture talk about God regretting, doesn't it talk about him changing his mind?” I'm glad you asked. Turn with me to first Samuel 15. You need to know the scriptures response to all of this. First Samuel 15 and 1 Samuel 15:11. Yahweh says, “I regret that I have made Saul King,” and in verse 35 it says again “And Yahweh regretted that he had made Saul King over Israel.” And people might say, “See, Yahweh regretted,” but no. Look at verse 29: “Also, the eternal One of Israel will not lie or have regret, for he is not a man that he should have regret.” Did you catch this? Two verses on the outside
of this text, at the extremities of this text say, “Yahweh regretted.” But in the heart of the text it reminds us Yahweh does not regret. How do we resolve this tension? Simple. He may look like he regrets to you, but he actually never does. He never does. He is immutable. He does not change, he does not alter.
And you say, “That's a lot different than who we are.” I mean, what makes a human a human is that we change. Is that boring for God to not change? It's not boring, it's necessary. It's not boring; you rely on it. In fact, Moses at this point would interject his comment on it, because in context what is going on here is that Moses has wondered to God, “How do I know I'm going to survive what you're asking me to do? How do I know I'm going to endure? How do I know I'm going to overcome in triumph?” And God says this, verse 12 of chapter 3 in Exodus, “I will be with you.” That word, “I will be,” it's the exact Hebrew word of “I am.” Moses is wondering, Yahweh Lord God, how do I know I'm going to make it? How do I know your presence is enough, and your power is enough to see me through all that you have called me to do? And God says, “I am.” Not, “I was.” I am. I don't change. Moses, my presence will not leave you. Why? Because I am. I do not change. My love and loyalty will not diminish from you. Why? Because I am, I do not change, my protection, my care, my support, will always remain with you. Why? Because I am, I do not change. My power, strength, and comfort will abide with you. Why? Because I am, I do not change.
Yes, God is not like us—He does not change. But we depend on that, we rely on that, when we come to the Lord and once and over and over with our sins, and we wonder, Lord will you forgive me again this time? Well why do you not just cast me out? Will you still love me after all of this? He still says, yes. Why? Because I am, I do not change. And when this whole world, and all of our lives, and all the circumstances of our lives start to shift, and there is a whirlwind of activity and trial and everything's in flux, and everything's uncertain, this is the glory of God, because everything is uncertain, and everything does change, except for God, who is immutable, who cannot change, and we cling to him, and in doing so we realize everything is under control. Why? Because, “I am.” Because He doesn’t change. And nothing, then, is outside of his grasp. It never has been, it never will be.
Brothers and sisters, yes, God is different than us. But you know, with his immutability, that's our survival. That’s our survival. That's what makes God, God, and the only one you can depend on, because he's the only one that is dependable. Because he doesn't change. It's precisely what Malachi 3:6 says: “I Yahweh, your God, do not change. Therefore, you are not consumed.” This is a matter of your survival.
3.) God is immutable. But God is not just infinite and immutable, God is Independent.
In fact, the first two points really lead to this final point, which is also not only called Independence, but in theology it's called God's Aseity. You can look it up later. And it reminds us that God is not bound or contingent or reliant upon anything. Certainly he's not confined by time. He's infinite. Certainly nothing can cause him to change, nothing can cause him to alter, so he is independent. He is independent of every single thing. Nothing exerts influence on him at all. He is separate from that. He is distinct from every single Factor. He is above every single
factor, which means this: He's transcendent over everything. He is independent, and so we need to stop thinking of God like a peer, as if he's on our level; as some kind of upgraded human being, some kind of promoted individual, some kind of being with enhanced superpowers. He's not that, he is not like us. We are created, he is not. We are bound by time, he is not. We change, he does not. We are people who are inherently affected and dependent. He is not.
He is not like us at all, and if you think of God just a little bit above you, or even a lot above you, you have the wrong God, you have dragged him down. He is rather distinctly other. He is not on our level, he is not up here, he is completely and entirely in a different category, one that goes beyond everything we are. And all the depth and breath and height of everything we have in our potential, he surpasses it, he extends beyond it. He is beyond all of our limits, and we need to treat him that way. We need to treat him that way. He transcends everything.
B.) It's not just that he transcends everything, he transcends, second of all, our explanation. He transcends our explanation.
You cannot describe God adequately. Notice the next phrase here, and this is what brings all of that out: “I am who.” With the word “who” here in context, this is a very rare time when God is about to unveil everything he is, without qualification, restriction, or reservation. This is what God equals. You can almost put it that way. This is amazing, because scripture and we and theology, we never can talk like that. We never talk like that. We never tell you all that is in God all that makes God, God. God's about to do that here, but we can't do that. We only tell you what God is not. He's not a man, he is not a liar, he does not change, he has no limits. We can tell you what God is not. We can even describe aspects, perspectives, limited vantage points, of his perfections. We say and we know from the Scriptures, it reminds us that God is the Good Shepherd, I am the bread of life, I am the way, truth, and life. I am the Vine I am the resurrection and the life. We remember these things. These are aspects and particularities about his perfections.
And it's not just that God tells us what he's not, or what he is in part, (or, perspective, better put). It is that he tells us, more often than not, what he's like. My favorite passage about this is in Ezekiel, chapter 1. In Ezekiel chapter 1, think about this: out of 29 verses, Ezekiel uses the word “like” or “like this” 22 times. 22 times. You know, in school, teachers don't appreciate when students in their writing or in their speech say “like” too much. Ezekiel fails the assignment But can you really blame him? What is he reminding you of? You and I, we can't tell you who God is. We can only tell you what he's like. That's it. So, yes, scripture, and even us, in our language, we can tell you what God is not, what God is like, or a specific perfection of God, but we cannot speak about all that is in God, the totality of who he is. Why? Because we can't. We don't have the knowledge. We don't have the capacity. We don't have the language to express him.
Turn with me to Job chapter 26. Think about this description, this panorama of the greatness of God. Job 26 verse 5 and following. He takes you to the supernatural realm: “The departed spirits tremble under the waters and their inhabitants. Naked is Sheol before Him,
And Abaddon has no covering.” What you can never see or sense, what is beyond your realm, he's over it. And not only that, he's over even your realm and what you cannot reach out to, like space. “He stretches out the north over what is formless, and hangs the Earth on nothing.” Think about that. That’s space. And God even glows, and has reach where you distantly can see the furthest reaches of your perception. “He wraps up the waters in his clouds, he has,” verse 10, “marked a circle on the surface of the waters.” You can barely see the horizon. God totally controls that. He controls everything in the Earth, “the pillars of heaven tremble,” and even controls evil itself, verse 12, “and by His understanding he crushed Rahab.” He understands and controls things that we cannot fathom to control; things that still puzzle us, things that we can see, things that we can't see, things that we strain to see, natural and supernatural.
All of that is easy for God, all of that is within him. And here in this amazing description, here's what Job says verse 14, “Behold, these are the fringes of His ways” The fringes of his ways. You know what a fringe is? It's the thread that sews the hem of a garment. Imagine a massive piece of fabric... all you have is the edge of a thread. That's all you have. You might say, “But at least I got the thread!” Next phrase: “And how only with a whisper of a word do we hear of Him!” “Within that thread of knowledge that you have of God, all you have within the topics and discussion there is the bare whisper, the bare minimum, the bare amount of information it takes for you to understand. That's all you have. You have a whisper of a thread. That's it.
Want to know why you can't define God? You want to know why you can't get your arms around him? We don't know him barely at all. How do you expect to know him fully? How do you think you can explain him fully. You can't. We can't. You could put it differently—if you put all of the words of all human language of all the vocabularies of all tongues that have been spoken in history and in every corner of this planet, all you would accumulate is a thread. See, God is so great, he not only overcomes and transcends our limits of time and space in our every existence and thought, he transcends our language. He transcends our language. We cannot explain him.
So you say yeah I mean even with what's in the thread my brain hurts. I agree. And that should reflect how vast He is. If we can barely handle the thread, what do you think about the rest of God? What do you think about the rest of God? He transcends our explanation. And here in Exodus 3 what we have is the reality that God is about to do something that he can only do. Only He can do. We can’t tell you all that is in God. God says “I am who—I can, though.” And that tells you that what's about to happen is very special, very unique, something you can never figure out on your own. And at the same time though it reiterates to us you can't figure God out. He transcends your explanation. That's how infinite He is.
C.) Well God transcends everything, he transcends our explanation, and that all drives us to the final point: He transcends our expression.
Our expression. You can't not only not describe God, you surely cannot define him. Here we are, we know that everything's moving to a point. God has said this is all that is in God, all that I am, “I am who,” this is what I equal, this is what makes God, God. So you say, okay what makes God, God? I am who I am. God equals God, God is God, that's it. You say, “What kind
of definition is that? You know you're not supposed to use the word in the definition. That's a man-made rule, and we abide by it!” Anyone can say an apple’s an apple and an orange’s an orange, a banana’s a banana. How is that profound? Anyone could come up with that definition, anyone, really, really. We don't come up with that definition. If I asked you what is God, you would start saying things like, well, he's holy, he's righteous he's loving. Everyone likes to describe God as loving, especially when you can just define love any which way you want in this society. But in any case just, he's good, he's merciful, we come up with a whole list.
No one of us says, “You wanna know what God is?” Yes! “God. That's it. Don’t say anything more! That’s it.” Think about that. We don't do that. I mean now you guys will, but, but we don't do that. No one has ever done that. You say, hey strength in numbers, majority rule. No, we just can all feel good that we're all foolish together. In the Bible times people described gods by whether they control life or death, thunder and lightning, harvest, seas, sky, cattle, frogs. They said oh, is God god of the plains, or is he god of the mountains? You see this in first Kings chapter 20. Everyone with that wants to take God and make him in terms of something that they can relate with.
That's what we always do because we want God on our terms, because that which you can define you can control. That which you can define you can deal with, you can handle. Even in medical emergencies how often do we try to research everything we can find out about a diagnosis. Why? Because we feel like if we know what it is, we know what we're up against, we can handle it, we can face it. But you can't do that with God. He says, “I am who I am.” You cannot break me down into pieces, you cannot sum me up in my parts. That is not God. That is not how this works.
This is what we call the Doctrine of Simplicity. Which is simple enough to express, but it is absolutely profound. It reminds us God is not the sum of parts, and He’s certainly is not percentages. He’s not “x percentages of things, 10 percent otherwise, another certain percent other things.” That’s not who God is, that’s not how this works. And certainly God does not operate in spite of himself. We don't say things like, oh, well, God is love even though or in spite of the fact that He has wrath. That's not God. Simplicity reminds us this: God is God. That's all he is defined as and defined by. That's it. That's how perfect He is.
Can we describe God? Yes, the scripture does, that's true, and there's a limited understanding that comes from that. We recognize that. We can describe him, but to define him in his totality, no you can't do that. And this definition reminds us of that. God defines himself. That's it. And you say, But I want to define God. I have to get my arms around him somehow, don't I? No you don't! You cannot drag him down on your level. That is not God. If you can do that, he's not God. He is not on our level, and you cannot put him there. He transcends our definitions and our expression. He's not on your terms, you're on His. That's how the relationship works.
And with that, then you understand how profound an answer this is to Israel, because what this starts to expose to Israel is this: every god you've thought about and you've encountered, they're just extrapolations of human imagination. They're all within your human thinking. God is not, God is not there: that's what makes him God. And this strikes at the supremacy of God. He is not the sum of parts, he is not percentages, he is perfect, and the only thing then, consistently, and the only one then, consistently, that can actually define such pinnacle supreme unique exclusive perfection, is who? God. He is his own definition. That's it. That's how perfect he is. Anything less than that is a demotion of him. He is incomprehensibly perfect and exalted.
And at this point you might say, now my brain really hurts—you're talking about Infinity, which is hard to grasp, Immutability, Independence, and then you say that all that I know about God is just a thread, and I can't even fathom that. And then I wanted to find out, but you say you can't define God because he's so perfect, but I want to, and I try but based on the definite I can't, and I'm struggling and it's just too much to strain, I just want to crawl up in a corner in the fetal position. Good. Good. Now you know God as God, not your butler. That's what you need to understand. Our God, you can't define him. You can't contain him. You can't handle him. Instead, when you try to think about him, ultimately you should be overwhelmed and totally overcome, because he is infinite, he is vast, he is expansive, height, depth,.breath, all of it far exceeding all of us.
We only know a thread. He's so much more, and so we are overcome, and all you can do at that point is this: fear him and worship him. Why? Because he's God; he's God. He's not just a figment of your imagination, He's outside of that. He's God, and he is worthy to be worshiped. Here's the genius of God, that his name, his definition, forces us to be put in our place, where we know we cannot get our arms around him. And who else but God could come up with such a profound definition. It proves “I am who I am.”
So by way of conclusion, I am who I am. Yahweh says, I transcend everything. I transcend your explanations, I transcend your expression and your definitions. He is infinite, he is immutable he is independent. He's not parts or percentages. He's perfect. He's distinctly other. He is far, far beyond us, infinitely vast; We cannot contain him. And here's what's fascinating—the book of Exodus (we call it Exodus, but in Hebrew the name of this book is actually Names). The book of Exodus in Hebrew, it's title is Names, because it's all about unveiling God's name. And in this Book of Names, for this kind of God, the God who truly is God, he gives us his personal name. He says, you can call me Yahweh. Yahweh. Yahweh means “He is,” referring to The Great I Am. So here's my name.
Sometimes in our sinfulness we don't want to be friends with certain people, because we think they're beneath us. Can you imagine God and us? It's a very weird pairing, and in fact, post-sin, some could argue that we're just a waste of dirt. And God says, Here's my name, call on me anytime, come to me and talk with me. I love you. Amazing. That kind of gift should cause us to realize this: This is why you come to God with fear and awe. You fear him because you know who he is. You're in awe of him, because you get to know him. That's what we remember. That's what we remember.
And in the Book of Names what we have to understand is this: This is not the last time God will use his name. That comes in Exodus 34. Turn there with me. In Exodus 33:19, Yahweh tells Moses, I'm going to reveal my name one last time. And in context, it is in the situation of Israel's sin with the golden calf. The golden calf. They know, for that, they have broken all ofGod’s commands, and they should die. There is no other alternative, there is no other conceivable option. They can't think of anything else. They agreed on it. They know they should die. So they're just waiting to be executed. And then what happens? Exodus 34—they live. They should die, they should perish. There is no humanly conceivable other option. Then they live. Then they get forgiveness. Then they get Grace. Look at Exodus 34:6 through 8. They get compassion and grace. They see that God is slow to anger a bounding the loving kindness and truth, who keeps loving kindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin.
They receive something they were definitely not expecting, and definitely could not imagine. They received Grace, and here's the question: Why? Why does such grace exist? Look earlier in verse 6. Yahweh calls out, “Yahweh, Yahweh God.” Two times he says the Divine Name. You want to know why grace exists? It is because God is “I am who I am.” He is immutable, so he doesn't change. So there's Grace. He is independent, so he's not like us as we are reactionary, but he is not. He is infinite, and so, yes, we express things, and we explain things certain ways, but he is beyond that, and he can do all, and more, than we can ask, imagine, think, or conceive. And that's why there's grace.
You want to know why grace is so amazing? It's not just because we don't deserve it, that's true, the real reason, though, grace is amazing is because it comes from God, and there is no one like him, and therefore there is nothing like his grace. That's why grace is so rich, because it is I am who I am. It is of him. And so brothers and sisters may we never take our relationship with God, God himself, or all the benefits like grace therein for granted. These are rich and sweet, because it goes far, far beyond us, and may we always bow the knee before the God we cannot contain. And may it always be in our heart that we are convinced all we have is Christ. All we have is our God, and that's all we need. In fact he's beyond all we need, because he's beyond us.
Shall we pray? Our God and father, thank you that you have revealed yourself to us. We are but dust, and you are beyond everything. All of our bounds, all of our experience, all of our existence, everything we are, you are beyond. So high, so above, so distinctly other—and we know you. And you give us your name: Yahweh. And we call on you. May we always honor you. May you always be the High and Lifted Up one to us. May we always properly fear you and worship you. May we always relish your grace, for it is of you, and there is no one like you, and there is nothing then like your grace. All glory and praise be to you, O infinite, eternal, immutable One. One who is independent, One who is perfection of perfection. And may all glory be to your name forever. Amen