One of the most remarkable things about the Bible is that when we examine it we find no defense for the existence of God. Isn’t that interesting? Instead, as we crack open the book and read, we are invited, from the outset, to see this God at work, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” (Gen. 1:1-2 ESV) We do not find an exhaustive character sheet providing every aspect of the nature of God. Instead, we witness this God at work.
Scripture slowly moves forward, little by little, to reveal this great God unto us. It is not until Exodus 3 that we even learn the name of this glorious God. There, the prophet Moses sought the name of the God who was sending him. God said, “‘I AM WHO I AM’…The LORD…” (Exod. 3:14-15 ESV) How should we consider this name?
Names were very important in the ancient world. Old Testament scholar E. J. Young explained that names “signified the character of a person or brought to mind something distinctive about him.” In other words, to know the name was to know the person. The first thing we note by considering God’s name is that He is eternal and independent.
God’s self-declaration reveals to all that He is wholly independent. We might consider His words in Psalm 50:12-13, “If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world and its fullness are mine. Do I eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of goats?” (ESV) That may sound odd to us, but some of the ancient near eastern gods in the days of Israel were depicted as relying on men’s sacrifices for their nourishment. God silences anyone who might presume Him to be such a god when He declares later on “you thought that I was one like yourself.” (Psalm 50:21 ESV) God is not like His creatures. He is eternal and independent.
If we were to create a list of God’s nature based on Scripture, we would describe Him in these ways: God is who He is; God is not dependent upon anyone or anything; God does not need us to glorify His Name; God is eternal and truly independent; God is not subject to time and does not change; God is the personal cause to the universe and everything which exists within it. All of this is contained by that simple four letter name, the LORD. The Hebrew characters behind the divine name of God are YHWH and are pronounced as Yahweh.
As we consider just a few texts of the Bible, we learn even more about our God, which naturally leads us to praise Him. The God whom we serve is slave to no one and nothing. God is our glorious Creator and Sustainer. The God who is there will never rot or corrode, nor shall He age and fade into irrelevancy. He endures forever. He never changes and this is our great hope. Because no matter the obstacle, the LORD God is greater than all. There will never be an individual too great for God. No heart too far gone. No will too corrupt to be saved by the power of Christ. We are also reminded that the promises of God, by necessity of His nature, never come with an expiration date. There is truly no one like our God. All of this is contained in His glorious Name.
The knowledge of God’s independence and eternality has one end in mind: worship. Deuteronomy 6:4 contains one of the most ancient creeds of the Old Testament church called the Shema. There we read, “Hear, O Israel: the LORD our God, the LORD is one.” (ESV) Here we see God’s covenantal name used twice in the upper-case use of the word “LORD.” But in next verse we are taught what this knowledge must create within us: “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” (Deut. 6:5 ESV) May this God who has revealed Himself in this manner draw your heart to delight in Him and stand in awe of His eternal power.