Jehovah (Yahweh) – I am: The One Who is Self-Existent
If I was forced to pick my favorite name for God, it would have to be Jehovah. For me this name proves that the powerful creator Elohim (we studied last week) is also the God who intentionally, fervently and relentlessly pursues an intimate relationship with us, His children. Not only does He continuously initiate a relationship with us, He faithfully stays with us, no matter what. He will never leave us or change His mind about us. Even if we are unfaithful to Him, make excuses or walk away He chooses us and calls us His own. This name also reveals His power, far exceeding our human limitations and the seemingly chaotic circumstances that surround our lives. His sovereignty and supreme control over everything that touches our lives is beautifully displayed through this name.
Jehovah and Yahweh can be used interchangeably. The Hebrew language has no vowels so when this name of God is translated to English both Jehovah and Yahweh represent the same Hebrew word. Jehovah is the self- existent One; He is not dependent on anyone or anything else. He has always existed and He always will. Yahweh is His personal name, the name He calls Himself. It is derived from the root hayah meaning “He continues to reveal Himself.” Jehovah is used 6,823 in the Old Testament, making it the most frequently used name for God. He never changes and His promises to His children never fail.
I pray that the following passages encourage your heart as you reflect with me on His passion for you revealed through His name Jehovah!
1) His Name Jehovah Reveals His Relentless Pursuit of You:
Gen. 2:4-7 This is the account of the creation of the heavens and the earth. When the LORD God made the earth and the heavens, neither wild plants nor grains were growing on the earth. For the LORD God had not yet sent rain to water the earth, and there were no people to cultivate the soil. Instead, springs came up from the ground and watered all the land. Then the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground. He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils, and the man became a living person.
This passage starts with a statement that concludes the creation account. Then, right in the middle of verse four we see a shift from God (Elohim) to LORD God which is the English translation of Jehovah or Yahweh. Do a quick check for yourself and you will see that every mention of God in Genesis chapter one and chapter two leading up to verse four refer to God as Elohim, the Creator. But here, just before the detailed description of man’s relationship with LORD God (and the creation of woman) we see God’s name change. He changes His name to Jehovah, revealing His desire to be in an intimate, personal relationship with His created ones.
Just as Jehovah walked with Adam and Eve in the cool of the evening in the Garden of Eden (Genesis chapter 3:8-9), He longs to enjoy a relationship with you - face to face through the power of the Holy Spirit. Jehovah is the relationship seeking, covenant keeping LORD God. His desire is for you to experience Him as the Good Father He is. He will never stop pursuing you, no matter what you choose or how far you run.
In Genesis chapter three Adam and Eve choose to eat the forbidden fruit from The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. They willfully disobeyed the one command LORD God had given them for their own protection. As a result they were exiled from the Garden of Eden because they could not know everything (as God does) and live forever.
A powerful, tangible display of Jehovah’s ongoing pursuit of mankind is found in Genesis 3:21, right before they were ushered out of the Garden of Eden. The LORD God made clothing from animal skin to cover their nakedness. What a beautiful display of His mercy and grace! Jehovah didn’t respond to their sin in anger, throwing them out of Eden in disgust. He lovingly extended Himself to them, knowing that for the first time they were afraid and consumed with shame. Jehovah pursued a relationship with Adam and Eve, even when they were hiding from Him. He sacrificed an animal to craft clothing for them. He covered them in their sin foreshadowing the atonement for our sin through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
Like Adam and Eve, Jehovah will never stop loving you, pursuing you and desiring to perfect His love in you. You cannot outrun His love and there is nothing you can do to change His mind about you. He changed His name for you, He sent His son to cover your sin, it is hidden in Christ Jesus (Col. 3:3). You are forgiven, free, chosen, adored and adopted...forever!
2) His Name Jehovah Reveals His Grace & Mercy for You:
Exodus 3:11-15 But Moses protested to God, “Who am I to appear before Pharaoh? Who am I to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt?” God answered, “I will be with you. And this is your sign that I am the one who has sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God at this very mountain.” But Moses protested, "If I go to the people of Israel and tell them, 'The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,' they won't believe me. They will ask, 'Which god are you talking about? What is his name?' Then what should I tell them?" God replied, "I AM THE ONE WHO ALWAYS IS. Just tell them, 'I AM has sent me to you.' " God also said, "Tell them, 'The LORD, the God of your ancestors-- the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob-- has sent me to you.' This will be my name forever; it has always been my name, and it will be used throughout all generations.”
Moses had quite a history with Jehovah. He had experienced the LORD God’s pursuit of him multiple times throughout his life and yet it appears (from this passage) he didn’t yet know Jehovah personally. As a result, Moses is paralyzed by fear. You probably know Moses’ story (Exodus chapter 1-2). He was hidden in a basket in the Nile River when Pharaoh ordered all the Hebrew boys to be murdered. Pharaoh’s daughter found him and Moses’s sister (who had been watching him float from the riverbank) convinced her to allow Moses’ mother to be his nurse and raise him for her. Moses was not only spared by Jehovah, he was elevated to a position of royalty. When he was older he went to live in Pharaoh’s palace as his grandson. One day Moses found an Egyptian beating a Hebrew slave. He killed the Eygyptian and then ran for his life when he learned Pharaoh wanted to kill him for his crime. Moses went into hiding in Midian and eventually became a shepherd for his father-in-law. It was there, in hiding, that Jehovah came to him through the burning bush. The LORD God tells Moses that He is sending him to lead His people out of Egypt and to convince Pharaoh to release them from the oppressive slavery they are living in.
In the passage above we see Moses’ response. First, he makes Jehovah’s command about him. He is looking at himself, his own limitations, shortcoming and his past. The LORD God redirects Moses’ focus by putting his attention back on who He is. He knew that Moses needed to take his eyes off of himself in order to fulfill the call on and purpose of his life. So, Jehovah introduces Himself to Moses as “I AM” which is the first person translation of Jehovah. God reveals Himself to Moses in a personal, intimate way so he is empowered to respond to Him in obedience.
Jehovah hand-picked Moses to lead His people out of captivity. This slave turned Prince with a speech impediment, a murderer who had run in fear to hide in the wilderness, was the Lord God’s choice. Moses had resigned himself to being a shepherd until Jehovah showed up and revealed Himself to him personally. Moses was called out of his fear and shame and into grace and mercy. His past was holding him captive but Jehovah called him into his future by revealing Himself to Moses as the Great “I AM”.
Maybe like Moses you find yourself stuck in your past, crippled by fear and shame. You too need Jehovah to show up and reveal His heart for you. The truth is that if you are afraid you need to receive more of His love for you (1 John 4:17-18). If you really know who He is and how much He loves you, you will not be afraid! Fear is simply the need for more of Jehovah’s love in your life. The more Jehovah’s love is perfected in your heart and life the less power fear will have over you. No matter what your story is and no matter how far away you feel from Jehovah today, His grace and mercy is available to you. He is the same, He never changes. He will call you into your future as you grow in His love and as you deepen your relationship with Him through the power of His Spirit and His Word.
Your confidence comes through knowing Him intimately and receiving more of His love. Look up, look at Jehovah, listen for His voice, get to know Him by name. The fear coming against you cannot stand in the presence of His love for you!
3) His Name Jehovah Reveals His Power Over Your Life & Circumstances:
Psalm 46 God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not fear, even if earth- quakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea. Let the oceans roar and foam. Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge! A river brings joy to the city of our God, the sacred home of the Most High. God himself lives in that city; it cannot be destroyed. God will protect it at the break of day. The nations are in an uproar, and kingdoms crumble! God thunders, and the earth melts! The LORD Almighty is here among us; the God of Israel is our fortress. Come, see the glorious works of the LORD: See how he brings destruction upon the world and causes wars to end throughout the earth. He breaks the bow and snaps the spear in two; he burns the shields with fire. "Be silent, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world." The LORD Almighty is here among us; the God of Israel is our fortress.
Never has this Psalm felt more relevant or necessary to me than it does today. Last week as we reflected on the power of Elohim we discovered that whatever has our attention is what we’re worshiping. I encouraged you to “turn off” the constant fear you are inundated with by the world. This week, it bears repeating as we allow Jehovah to reveal His heart for us through this name.
Please spend some time meditating on Psalm 46 with me this week. Tune out the world, turn into His voice, reflect on His intense desire to be in a personal relationship with you. Remember that Jehovah uses what appears to be “out of control” to reveal Himself to us. He is in charge. He is not surprised by Covid-19, your health, finances, your family situation, etc. His supreme authority, sovereignty and protection over every detail of our lives is highlighted beautifully in the chaos that surrounds us.
Whatever you feed your Spirit is what will come out. What you allow to influence your heart and mind - love or fear - will manifest in your life. Yes, the world around us is in chaos but He is in control and longs to reveal Himself to you as Jehovah - the GREAT I AM - in the middle of it. Your job is to be still before Him. Listen for His voice and look for His face. You will only see what you are looking for and only hear what you are listening for.
Allow Psalm 46 to remind you of who Jehovah is to you, how He has revealed Himself to you and what He has promised you for the future. Choose to respond to the perceived chaos in your life with a posture of silence and trust before Him in prayer. Stop looking for understanding and input from this world. Be still before Him and submit all of your fear and anxiety to Him. Jehovah is your fortress and in Him you will find your peace!
This week reflect on the following questions:
Jehovah has invited you to know Him as the “I Am” in your life. What does this mean to you personally? How have you been seeking control (in your life) instead of relinquishing it to The One who has named Himself as the answer to your every need?
Have you resigned yourself to something other than the call of God on your life because you are afraid? Have you played small or quiet because you have been focused on your self perceived limitations or your past?
What situation or relationship would you like to relinquish control to Jehovah the Great “I Am”?
Now, take time to confess the areas of your life you are relinquishing to Jehovah. As you pray ask Him for more faith and/or the healing you need to trust Him more. Write your prayer here.... This week prayerfully meditate on Psalm 46. Continue in the prayer journal you started for this study by responding to the following questions:
According to this passage what is required of you that you might know His strength?
How, specifically, do you need the God of Psalm 46 to be your refuge, strength, and a fortress of protection this week? Ask Him in prayer right now! Write it in your journal.
Now, think of a time you experienced the presence of the Great “I Am” in your life (recent or in your past). Write about several instances that “tell the story” of Jehovah’s faithfulness in your life and praise Him for it!
Jehovah, thank you for changing your name in the creation account to reveal your desire to be in a relationship with me. Thank you for relentlessly pursuing me and creating me to respond to you through the power of your Holy Spirit. Thank you for never giving up on me and rescuing me from all my shame and fear. You are the Great I AM and your grace and mercy are evident in my life. I choose to focus on who you are instead of my human limitations and my past. LORD God, I praise you for your power and sovereignty over my life and all of your creation. I choose to remember that you are in control. I choose the power of your love over all of the fear that comes against me. Jehovah, I claim that you are my fortress of protection, now and forever. In Jesus’ powerful name, Amen!