And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I Am That I Am: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I Am hath sent me unto you. And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, the Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.(Exodus 3:13-15)
Moses anticipated that he would be asked, by the children of Israel, ‘…what is the name of the God of our Fathers?’ God had already revealed himself in Genesis 15 to Abraham in the same name, “Jahaweh”.
The Hebrews had no doubt fell into apostasy and even idolatry in their long sojourn in the furnace of affliction that was Egypt, but the memory of Genesis 15 and of Abraham,Isaac and Jacob had not vanished.
What the people would be asking in the question “what is His name?’, was ‘what is the nature of this God who you say would deliver us?’.By what kind of operations of power and glory will this God’s name express itself. Kiel and Delitsch are instructive on this point,
The question, “What is His name?” presupposed that the name expressed the nature and operations of God, and that God would manifest in deeds the nature expressed in His name. God therefore told him His name, or, to speak more correctly, He explained the name יהוה, by which He had made Himself known to Abraham at the making of the covenant (Genesis 15:7), in this way, אהיה אשׁר אהיה, “I am that I am,” and designated Himself by this name as the absolute God of the fathers, acting with unfettered liberty and self-dependence.(Kiel and Delitsch Commentary on Exodus 3)
The name , eyeh, is a revelation of the absolute self existence of God. All of creation exists in a finite, dependent and derived form. You and I need air, water, food, rest, love, encouragement etc to keep on existing. Should any of those supports be cut off, we would cease to exist. Even the earth and the heavens have a dependent existence, moment by moment and day by day, all things are held together in Him, who created and sustains all things.
But God exists in a completely unique way. He needs nothing or no-one, He was not created, and will never go out of existence, he not only has existence, HE is existence! He is infinite, eternal, self sustaining,and unchanging.
In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth,
and the heavens are the work of your hands.
They will perish, but you remain;
they will all wear out like a garment.
Like clothing you will change them
and they will be discarded.
But you remain the same,
and your years will never end.(Psalm 102:25-27)
Jesus told us in John 5, “The Father has Life in Himself”. God is independent of everything He created. He needs nothing to live, he cannot not exist, he is the sustainer of everything else, but needs nothing to sustain himself.
Furthermore the name reveals that because he is pure existence, self existent and infinite, He cannot change. “I have been what I will and always will be”. God’s name has a sacred past,present and future dimension to it for His self existence transcends all time.
The name, by which he is to be remembered, that is the covenant name for God, Jahweh, (I am that I am) is a steady revelation of the Self Existent one’s power, glory and will.
We will see Him revealed variously as Jahweh Raphe, the LORD your healer, in Exodus 15, Jahweh Nissi, the LORD your banner, in Exodus 17, And Jahweh TSidkenu, the LORD your Righteousness in Jeremiah 23, Jehovah-Nissi – Banner – I Chronicles 29:11-13,
Jehovah-Rohi – Shepherd – Psalm 23, Jehovah-Rophe – Healer – Isaiah 53:4,5 , Jehovah-Sabaoth – Lord of Hosts – I Sam 1:3 , Jehovah-Sel’i – Lord my Rock – Psalm 18:2, Jehovah-Shalom – Peace – Isaiah 9:6, Rom 8:31-35, Jehovah-Shammah – Present – Hebrews 13:5
Jehovah-Tsidkenu – Righteousness – I Cor 1:30, Jehovah-Tsori – Lord my Strength – Psalm 19:14, Jehovah-Yasha – Lord my Savior – Isaiah 49:26, Jehovah-‘Ez-Lami – Lord my Strength – Ps 28:7…What God is, is what God will ever do.
Without faith it is impossible to please God, for those who come to Him must believe that HE IS, and that HE IS a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.(Hebrews 11:6)
Exodus 3 is a pinnacle text, because the highest and most blessed Revelation given to the miracle nation, would be the Revelation of the name of God. Flesh and blood did not reveal this to Moses, but God, the Father in Heaven.
The Psalmist proclaims that,
The Lord reigns forever;
he has established his throne for judgment.
He rules the world in righteousness
and judges the peoples with equity.
The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed,
a stronghold in times of trouble.
Those who know your name trust in you,
for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.(Psalm 9:7-10)