Today’s Scripture: “God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM.’ And he said, ‘Say this to the people of Israel: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” Exodus 3:14, ESV
Theme: Being, not labels, defines God.
IS SHE BREATHING?
New parents will sneak into the rooms of their sleeping babies just to make sure they’re breathing. The holy, whispered rhythm of that tiny inhale and tiny exhale is, perhaps, the most comforting sound in the world. I have done it with all three of my children. Listening to them breathe in. Listening to them breathe out. Inhale. Exhale. God breathed life into my babies, and He sustains it every moment.
THE NAME GOD GAVE HIMSELF
When Moses encountered God for the first time in that burning bush on Mount Horeb, God assigned Moses with a task: Go and tell the Israelites that the God of their fathers has sent you to rescue them out of Egypt. Moses asked God, “Suppose [the Israelites] ask me, ‘What is His name?’ Then what shall I tell them?” God replied to Moses, “’I AM WHO I AM.’ This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” And then God revealed His name to Moses: “Say to the Israelites, ’YHWH, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever,
the name you shall call me
from generation to generation.” (Excerpts from Exodus 3:13-15)
Yahweh. The Name of God that is distinct from all His other names because it is the one He gave Himself as a relational God Who is from everlasting to everlasting. God was, God is, God will be. God depends on nothing for His existence, and He is ever-present with and for His people. He is “I AM.” Yahweh.
THE BREATH OF LIFE
Many ancient traditions consider the Name of God so holy that it should never be spoken aloud. In fact, in Hebrew, the Name “Yahweh” has no vowels. It’s formed by combining the aspirated consonants “YHWH,” and is impossible to pronounce unless you assign vowels to it (which is what we’ve done when we say “Yahweh”).
I read once that Rabbinical tradition and Hebrew scholarship teach that YHWH is the voiceless sound we make when we breathe. Inhale YH. Exhale WH.
The implication of this beautiful thought is that God has literally embedded Himself into our very breath. The moment we were born, the Name of God filled our lungs and then exhaled across our lips. And we have been breathing Yahweh ever since.
Paul tells us that the Holy Spirit (whose name in Greek, “Pneuma,” literally means “Breath”), “helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words” (Romans 8:26b, ESV). The Spirit (“Breath”) even groans the name YHWH for us when we are too weak to do it ourselves.
YOUR PRAISE WILL EVER BE ON MY LIPS
Even when we are wordless, we are breathing His Name.
We breathe His Name between the sounds of our sobs.
His Name is in our gasps of fear and in our relieved exhales.
Our bursts of laughter are punctuated with the Name of God: YHWH.
Babies, people who suffer from dementia, people from the far corners of the earth, atheists, young children, college students, caregivers, people with disabilities, exhausted people, people struggling with addiction, forgetful people, parents – all of us. God has breathed His breath into us all. We inhale (YH) and exhale (WH) unconsciously, involuntarily, perpetually, even as we sleep. Everything that has breath praises the Lord, Yahweh (see Psalm 150:6).
Whether or not you believe in God, your first breath was His Name. Your last breath will be, too. Your final exhale will be the name God gave Himself for His glory, for His own good pleasure, and for His desire to relate with you, His beloved creation. When He imparts His breath, we exist from Him, and through Him, and for Him (Romans 11:36). And when He withdraws His breath, in Christ, we will step into eternity with I AM, the eternal God Who was and is and is to come (Revelation 1:8).
Make it Personal: You may have noticed that the word “Lord” is represented three different ways in the Bible. When it is lowercase (“lord”) it represents someone in authority, but who is not God. When the first letter is capitalized (“Lord”), it refers to God and His authority. But when you see the word “LORD” with all four letters capitalized in your Bible, it always represents the Hebrew word “Yahweh” or YHWH. Read Isaiah 42:5-9 and replace the word LORD with Yahweh as you read. Let the Name that God has given Himself speak new things to you today through the words of the prophet Isaiah.
Pray: God, it was Your joy to create me with Your breath in my lungs and Your Name on my lips. I pray that I will be found worthy of the lifelong worship You have placed in my body. Remind me in this moment that You are over me, through me, and in me, according to Your Word, and let my every breath be a prayer and a praise. In the holy and eternal Name of Jesus, Amen.
Read: Psalm 150:6; John 8:58; Psalm 34:1
Weekly Memory Verse: “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7b, ESV