“. . . I AM WHO I AM . . .”
“. . . This is my name forever, the name by which I am to be remembered from generation to generation.” Exodus 3:14,15
Have you experienced I AM? Have you encountered the God who IS?
One of my favorite biblical stories of the revelation of I AM is found in John 18:3-6. On the night that Jesus was arrested, Judas led a group of soldiers to find Jesus in an olive grove.
So Judas came into the grove, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons.
Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, “Who is it that you want?”
“Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied.
“I am he,” Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.) When Jesus said, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground.
Picture the scene. An angry mob comes to arrest Jesus carrying torches, lanterns and weapons. Against Jesus’ small group of twelve men, they clearly had the upper hand. Yet the moment Jesus identifies Himself, proclaiming, “I AM he,” instead of advancing on Him, they drew back and collapsed.
Can you imagine the fear and confusion that must have gripped them? Jesus pronounced Himself by the name their God was to be known by for generations, and as they heard Him utter the words, they involuntarily fell to the ground!
I can relate to their compulsory response. I have a similar experience every time I encounter I AM. It occurs each time God speaks His will to me and I follow Him in faith—full of doubt in myself, yet choosing to trust the God who IS. And He reminds me, “Your story is not about who you are; it has EVERYTHING to do with who I AM.”
Several years ago, I began to awaken early each morning with a sermon forming in my mind about Hagar and Ishmael, a mother and son whose story is found in the Old Testament. I saw myself standing at the pulpit in my church, and God began to lay out this teaching in my mind. I didn’t say anything to anyone and didn’t write anything down. I just kept waking up with this message building in my head, point by point.
I knew God had called me to teach, but I’d only ever taught women and never such a large group—and my pastors do quite well at giving the sermons! I waited on God to reveal Himself.
One morning I received a phone call from the head of our women’s ministry. She said our senior pastor had contacted her regarding Mother’s Day Sunday. The Lord had lain on his heart to have a woman give the message that Sunday morning, something they had never done before. As they were talking, their thoughts went immediately to me.
I hung up the phone and collapsed to my knees, sobbing in my bedroom. My God had been faithfully giving me the message I was to share before I was ever asked! I guess He wanted me to know it was Him so I would have no excuse to back out—unless I wanted to choose direct defiance to His will. A few months later, I gave that message in all 3 services in my church, reaching over 1000 people that day.
I returned home that Sunday afternoon after pouring out the message God had given me and retreated to my room. I found myself right back where I began with Him—on my knees, weeping, overwhelmed by how He had revealed Himself and gotten me through. In the years that have followed, as I have trusted Him to be who He IS, we’ve met there many times. He has proven to me over and over,
“I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13
Beloved, I AM has a plan for you. If you will trust Him to be who He IS, you will see Him reveal Himself gloriously in your life. And as He does, you will likely fall to your knees in worship. Relish the moment, dear one. You’re in good company.