The Comfort of the Great “I AM”

Byzantine Mosaic of the burning bush
I AM that I AM...

I don’t know if there is a more comforting, and at the same time frightening thought, than to think upon the infiniteness and greatness of our God.  In making my way through the first few chapters of Exodus, I am stunned and made reverent at who He is.

What does that phrase, “I AM,” contain?  In English, it is but two simple, monosyllabic words consisting of three letters.  In Hebrew, YHWH, four consonants placed together.  In the Greek of the Septuagint, it consists of merely two letters in one monosyllabic word.  But oh, the power, the majesty, the mystery of those words!  Our God is self sufficient.  He needs nothing.  He does not have the same conditions of frail humanity and weakness we have.  He is not a bumbling demigod, as Gnostics believed.  He is not a capable agent on the side of good, as many dualist religions such as Zoroastrianism believe.  He is THE Provider, THE Sustainer, THE Almighty.  Eternally existing, unable to be described in a veritable library of tomes, yet in reality, can be appropriately and succinctly described in but two words!  Think for a moment.  We are able to say “I am…” and fill in the appropriate blanks, but we are unable to even fathom the depth of ascribing to ourselves an eternal existence!  Yet in His very description, God encapsulates His majesty and glory into “I AM.”  Both the Hebrew and Greek texts reflect an ongoing condition by referring to God in participles, and would best be translated “the self-existing ONE.”

What does that say to us?  We have a God who is unlimited, as frightening as He is beautiful, as terrifying and awe-inspiring as He is full of Love and Grace!  He is one who, in spite of any greatness we may see in ourselves, is the TRUE greatness that we are unable to begin to attain to.  All of our self-worship and self-centeredness must stop in the presence of this God, for His very simplest quality (eternality) is quite possibly infinitely greater than our best qualities!  We should take heart in the fact that this is the ONE who provides for us, who is our strength and shield, and rest in that for our lives.


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