There is a well-known verse in Scripture has always puzzled me. In Exodus 3, we see Moses talking to God at the burning bush. Moses is asking God to give him something that would make the people of Israel believe in Moses’ message of deliverance: “If I go to the people of Israel and tell them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,’ they will ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what should I tell them?” (Exodus 3:13 NLT). And God answers Moses: “I am who I am. Say to the people of Israel: I Am has sent me to you.”
Wait. What kind of an answer is — that?
And perhaps most importantly, what is this doing in a Christmas devotional that is based on Revelation 1?
As we mentioned in last Saturday’s devotional, we see that when John received the vision, it was a reunion of sorts. He hadn’t seen his best friend in over 60 years. Yet John’s reaction indicates that perhaps this wasn’t the Jesus he thought he knew, for the Bible records, “When I saw him, I fell at his feet as if I were dead…” (Revelation 1:17 NLT). You see, John knew Jesus as the carpenter’s son who walked the earth doing miracles. He did see Jesus after His resurrection, but we know that the disciples didn’t immediately recognize Him. They were seeing a different side of the Jesus they thought they knew, and when Jesus revealed Himself to John in Revelation 1, yet another side of Jesus was revealed, one more glorious and powerful than John had even imagined existed.
This leads us to ask ourselves: Just how many sides of Jesus are there? When God says He is the “I Am”, just how much does that entail?
I suspect the answer to that question would blow away even the most brilliant mathematical minds. I say this because it is my personal humble experience that each encounter I have with Jesus is slightly different; and to take it a step farther, when I talk to other people about their encounters with Jesus, their responses are all different from my own personal experiences. The bottom line of all this is simply this: God is too much for our minds to comprehend. I believe this is what was meant by the apostle Paul when he said, “Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways!” (Romans 11:33 NLT);and also when he said, “Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror…” (1 Cor. 13:12a NLT).
So what am I saying here? That “I Am” is a concept that we cannot understand?
I can’t accept that answer. Oh, I know my mind will never fully comprehend the fullness of God; but there has to be something much more concrete, some meaning that our finite minds can grasp, in the title, “I Am”. As I meditated upon this, I decided to ask God Himself. The question was barely formed in my conscious thoughts when He spoke to me: “What do you need Me to be?” I hesitated for a moment, then I said, “God, You know how much I need strength today. And patience. And a submissive spirit.” I was immediately impressed with the response: “I Am all those things.” Suddenly I understood. When God says He is the “I Am”, He means that whatever it is we need at the moment, that is what He is to us at that particular moment in time! He IS the strength, patience and submissive spirit that I need today. Tomorrow, I may need God to be my comfort or my provider. He WILL be those things to me tomorrow! When God says He is the I Am, He is saying that He is whatever it is we need at any moment in time!
The first chapter of Revelation gives several descriptions of God and they all begin with “I Am”. Some of these were listed in part 1 of this series, when I challenged you to meditate upon each of those titles in the days to come. But with Christmas fast coming upon us, I would like to challenge you to meditate in a slightly different way upon the Truth that God is EVERYTHING we need. You see, we tend to think of Christmas as a time to reflect on Jesus as a tiny baby. He seems kind of helpless, actually. Certainly not all-powerful. I would like to challenge you to think of what different aspects of God came together in the culmination of this birth. A few that come to my mind are these:
1. God is … Love! He loved us enough to make a way.
2. He is … Humility! The King of the universe humbled Himself to enough to leave the riches of Heaven to come here.
3. He is … Dependency! That tiny baby wouldn’t be able to do what Jesus did without total dependency upon God!
4. He is … King! A King who cares enough about His subjects to become one of us so that we could be saved!
5. He is … Obedient! Obedient enough that He willingly submitted to death!
6. He is … Meek! Meekness is defined as being quiet, gentle, righteous, and obedient. Jesus is all those things.
7. He is … Waymaker! There was no solution to the sin problem until Jesus made a way!
8. He is … Promise keeper! God promised Adam and Eve a solution to their sin. His birth marks the initial unfolding of that promise.
9. He is … Miraculous! His miracle birth is the first indicator of this.
10. He is … Selfless! He didn’t just make a way, He became the way!
I am sure there are many more. But the purpose of this devotional isn’t to feed you. It is to encourage you to feed yourself. Take the time to meditate on what God is through the birth of Jesus! You won’t be sorry.
Please join us on Thursday for a glimpse at how John’s description of Jesus can inspire us this Christmas.
In His Love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart
Author, Moderator, Acting Director, Answers2Prayer Ministries
(To access the entire “Christmas Revelations” mini-series, click here)