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Yahweh – The Self-Existent One

10 Jul

Does God still exist today?

If God still exists, why is … ISIS on the rise … SI features a transgender person on the cover of the latest issue … Police officers are shot in Dallas, TX … we have the political candidates we have this year … Russia passes a law rolling back religious freedom to the Soviet era … California considers legislation that will jeopardize religious freedom of faith-based colleges and universities … our culture values animal life over people … justice seems to be denied …?

Where is God? Does God still exist today? Does God still care? Is he even present? Is God still at work today?

While these questions eat away at our souls, they are not new. Moses probably pondered the same ones some 3,000 years ago. As the book of Exodus opens, Israel has been in bondage in Egypt for 400+ years. God was seemingly “absent.” Moses himself was deemed a “failure.” In the midst of this situation, God introduces himself as Yahweh, the self-existent one (Exodus 3:14).

The name, Yahweh, comes from a verb that means “to be” or “to live.” In Exodus 3:14, it is translated, “I AM WHO I AM.” It is the most widely used name for God, appearing 6,823 times in the Old Testament. As Yahweh, the self-existent one, God reveals that he is present … gracious … and keeps his promises.

Yahweh is present among his people (Exodus 3:1-15). “I have seen” (7, 9)“I have heard” (7)“I am concerned” (7)“I have come to rescue” (8)“Your cry has reached me’ (9)“I am sending you” (10)“I will be with you” (12).

Yahweh keeps his promises (Exodus 6:1-8). “I will bring you out” (6)“I will free you” (6)“I will redeem you” (6)“I will take you as my own” (7)“I will be your God” (7)“I will bring you to the land” (8)“I will give it to you as a possession” (8).

Yahweh is gracious and merciful (Exodus 33:19; 34:5-7). God is compassionate and graciousslow to angerabounds in love and faithfulnesskeeps steadfast loveforgives wickednessholds the guilty accountable.

Yahweh does not change (Malachi 3:6). The emphasis here is not that God is unchanging in his character. The emphasis is on his relationship with his people. It stresses God’s faithfulness to his covenant promises.

Because God is Yahweh, we have hope for the future. He is the same gracious and compassionate God as he was with Moses. Yahweh is present with us as he was with Israel, even more so, since we have the Holy Spirit living in us. Because God has not changed, we are not destroyed. He is still patient, loving, and merciful.

This is the synopsis of a message preached at First Central Bible Church in Chicopee, MA, on July 10, 2016. It is part of a series on The Names of God. Please click on the link to download a copy of the sermon notes.

 

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