I usually work as a phonics teacher at Muse Montessori, but I also substitute when a teacher is absent. Last week we had an unusual number of teachers absent due to sickness so each day I received a text asking, “Can you ‘be’ (name of teacher that was absent) today?”
We have exceptional teachers and they each bring their unique talents to the classroom. I gave up a long time ago trying to “be” them. My boss doesn’t expect that. She just asks me to be me.
But one day it dawned on me, No matter who I’m asked to “be” today, as a Christian, God always asks me to be like Jesus. That means being loving, kind, patient, understanding, tender-hearted, and forgiving. It’s a tall order! And just like I can’t “be” one of the teachers, I certainly can’t “be” Jesus….without His help. But with His help, I can be what I need to be for these children.
My name means happy, keenly alive and exuberant. Although I’ve often failed miserably, I have tried to live up to my name. In Bible times, a name often signified a part of the person’s character. That is one reason God changed people’s names. He changed Abram’s name to Abraham, meaning the father of many nations. He changed Sarai (meaning contentious) to Sarah (meaning Princess). He changed Jacob’s name to Israel (meaning wrestler with God).
Although it seemed God had a deaf ear to the Israelites crying out 400 years for God to deliver them from slavery in Egypt, that was far from true. God had seen their oppression and heard their cries for help. (Exodus 3:9) He appeared to Moses and told him He would use him to deliver them. Then Moses asked an interesting question and the answer was even more bizarre.
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?
Did you notice that God repeated Himself? He obviously wanted to make sure there was no misunderstanding about His name. There is so much in the Bible that I don’t understand and many things are confusing to me, but there are other things, as in this case, where God leaves no doubt whatsoever what He means!
Have you ever wondered about the name/title God gave Himself here? I sure have! How odd! What kind of name is this? It seems left unfinished. I am… what? Why didn’t God say, I am Deliverer? I am Salvation. I am Savior. Why just…I AM?
In the Hebrew, I AM implies absolute self-existence and action. This is God’s promise to redeem His people. If God had used a single characteristic of Himself, maybe our little, finite minds couldn’t think outside the box. But God left this wide open as if we can fill in the blank! He is not only an active God that keeps His promises, He is our healer when we are sick. He is our comforter when we mourn and are sad. He is our peace when we are anxious. He is our refuge when we are overwhelmed. He is our rock when life wipes us off our feet. He is our provider when we’ve lost everything in this world. When we are afraid, He is our tower we run into and hide. He is our friend who will never fail or forsake us.
Then several years later, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph and said, She (Mary) shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. (Matthew 1:21)The name explains His purpose in coming.
Later Jesus said, I am the bread of life (John 6:48). I am the light of the world (John 8:12). I am the door (John 10:7). I am the good shepherd (John 10:14). I am the resurrection and the life (John 11:25). I am the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). I am the true vine (John 15:1).
He is every single thing we ever need Him to be! Psalm 9:10 says, And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee. When we know and understand God’s name, we know and understand Him. To know Him is to love Him. And when we know and understand Him, we will put our trust in Him. I challenge you to join me in dipping into God’s deep reservoir of riches. Let’s get to know God better!
Keep looking up!