Some four hundred years after Abraham made his covenant with God, the Hebrew people were enslaved in Egypt and crying out to God for freedom. The number of Hebrews in Egypt had grown from one (Joseph) to between two – three million Hebrews.  They were slaves for the whims of Pharaoh and the Egyptians.  Moses was God’s chosen man to negotiate their freedom. There was Moses, an exile from Egypt, in the desert tending the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, when he encountered a burning bush that was not consumed in the fire. Exodus 3:4-10 When the Lord saw him (Moses) coming over to look at it more closely, God called out to him from the bush, “Moses! Moses!” He answered, “Here I am.” God said, “Come no nearer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground. I am the God of your father,” He continued, “the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob.” Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God. But the Lord said, “I have witnessed the affliction of my people in Egypt and have heard their cry of complaint against their slave drivers, so I know well what they are suffering. Therefore, I have come down to rescue them from the hands of the Egyptians and lead them out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey, the country of the Caananites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizites, Hivites and Jebusites. So indeed the cry of the Israelites has reached Me, and I have truly noted that the Egyptians are oppressing them. Come, now! I will send you to Pharaoh to lead My people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.”
Moses now understands God’s mandate for him, but he has questions (Exodus 3:11-15). “But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and lead the Israelites out of Egypt?” He (God) answered, “I will be with you; and this shall be your proof that it is I who have sent you: when you bring my people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this very mountain (Mount Horeb).”
“But,” said Moses to God, “when I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ if they ask me, ‘What is His Name?’ what am I to tell them?” God replied, “I am who am.” Then he added, “This is what you shall tell the Israelites: I AM sent me to you.”
God spoke further to Moses, “Thus shall you say to the Israelites: The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. This is my Name forever; this is my title for all generations.”
I AM WHO AM is represented in Hebrew by a four-consonant word, YHWH. The personal Name of God is pronounced as ‘Yahweh’, translated as ‘the source of all created beings.’ But the personal Name of God is so holy and majestic that Jewish people do not pronounce it or even write the word. Pope Benedict XVI wrote in June of 2008 to remind the Catholic faithful, “As an expression of the infinite greatness and majesty of God, YHWH was held to be unpronounceable and hence was replaced during the reading of sacred Scripture (and hymns) by means of the use of an alternate Name: ‘Adonai,’ which means ‘Lord,'” Therefore, Pope Benedict said any hymn or prayer that had the word YHWH in it need be replaced by the word Lord.  The featured image for this post is the rose, considered the king of flowers because this post focuses on the personal Name of God.  At this point of in our bible studies our Lord has now revealed His personal Name to us.  We know he is eternal, loving, Most High, almighty and the ‘source of all created beings.’

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