Isaiah 41. I Am the LORD.

Because of the importance of Israel and its people, and my personal love for The Land, I’m inviting you to join me through the key Old Testament book of Isaiah.  Each day I’m posting some simple thoughts about this complex prophet.

Isaiah 41.

“Who controls human events? I do. I am the LORD.” (v4).

This is the first of nine “I am” proclamations in this chapter. Think back to the burning bush in Exodus 3 where God first identified Himself as “I Am that I Am.” Now, go forward to the gospel of John where Jesus proclaims eight times that “I am.”

Here in Isaiah 41:

    • I am the LORD (v4).
    • I am with you (v10).
    • I am your God (v10).
    • I am the LORD your God (v13).
    • I am holding your hand so you don’t have to be afraid (v13).
    • I am here to help you (v13).
    • I am the holy God of Israel (v14).
    • I am he who saves and protects you (v14).
    • I am the LORD, the King of Israel (v21).

Can we be thankful that the great “I Am that I Am” loves you and me deeply and fills us with strength and joy and hope and peace and grace? Even today!

I also love the heart behind this verse: “When the poor and needy are dying of thirst and cannot find water, I, the LORD God of Israel, will come to their rescue. I won’t forget them.” (v17, CEV).

Do you know people in third world countries? Children in Kenya or India? Medical professionals staffing a clinic in Malawi? Caregivers supporting an orphanage in Central America? Missionaries in Asia? God says, “I won’t forget them.”

How about our neighbors who may suffer from spiritual thirstiness?  Or those we know who are poor in spirit, or poor in hope, or poor in confidence,  or poor in  ____(fill in the blank)____. The great I Am comes to their rescue, comes to our rescue.

He won’t forget them. God is God. He won’t forget us.

This chapter is also filled with “I will” promises. God says:

    • I will be there (v4).
    • I will make you strong (v10).
    • I will come to their rescue (v17).
    • I will make rivers flow (v18).
    • I will send streams to fill the valleys (v18).
    • I will fill the desert with all kinds of trees (v19).

God keeps His promises. And nothing compares with Him. Isaiah concludes by noting that especially not even deities made by the hands of man can match God’s greatness. “None of these idols are able to give advice or answer questions. They are nothing, and they can do nothing…” (v28-29, CEV).

Today, let us put our trust and our hope in the great promise keeper, I Am that I Am.

If you’re new to this journey through Isaiah, you can start here.

(c) 2020. Rich Ronald.

 

I Am That I Am

ReceiveTheHolySpiritIt was an ordinary day. The sky was blue with beautiful white puffy clouds. The air was typically hot. I was tending sheep at the base of the mountain. It was a simple, anonymous life in the country.  It’s what I needed. I was a fugitive. I had killed a man back in Egypt because of the way he treated one of my own. And each day I wrestled with the guilt – the guilt of the murder, the guilt of my people breaking their necks as slaves of Pharaoh, the guilt of growing up in the privilege of the Palace. None of it was right. It didn’t seem fair. The desert air and the mundane nature of my responsibilities was all I needed.

It was just after noon, the heat of the day. The sheep were nibbling at little patches of tall grass. The thoughts in my mind were 1000 miles away. I looked up to my right and beyond a mound of prickly pears, I saw smoke rising from a fire. As I approached I realized it was a bush fully ablaze… but it was not burning up. I thought to myself “how strange?” and approached to consider it further.  Just a few steps from the fire I heard a voice call my name. Again, “how strange,” right? Who in this desert knows my name? “Yes?” I replied with a quiver in my voice and began to take another step forward.

“Don’t come any closer. Remove your sandals from your feet. You are standing on holy ground.” At this I knew in my heart it was Yahweh. Quickly, I dug my bare feet into the sand and fell to my knees and hid my face in my hands. Then He said, “I am … I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob.”

He continued to share His heart with me… Together we felt the pain for my people, our people… and He told me that He would answer the prayers of His people to deliver them from Pharaoh’s evil ways and bring the children of Israel to a land flowing with milk and honey… wide open spaces where they would be free and no longer slaves!

This was very encouraging news! And as I wondered about God’s plan He stunned me with these words: “I am sending you, Moses! Go to the Pharaoh. Lead the people of Israel out of Egypt.”

“What? Meeeee?” I stuttered.  “Why me? Who am I? I’m a fugitive. I’m on the run! Pharaoh will never listen to me!”

And God assured me that He would always be with me. And for proof, He told me that one day, I would worship Him again, right here in this same spot.

“Just one more question…” I asked with a crazy, unknown confidence. “If I take this assignment, if I go to the people of Israel… who should I tell them sent me? What is his name?”

God said to me… “YHWH… Yahweh …” It sounded like He was breathing deep, life giving breaths. “Tell the people of Israel, I Am That I Am sent me to you.”

I protested a bit further, but, I knew it was in vain. The very presence of YHWH was going with me. So, I took my wife and sons that very day, and with my Father in law’s blessing, began the return trip to Egypt.

And was YHWH with me? Oh yeah… oh yeah!

Some of the words, actions and thoughts, perhaps of Moses at the burning bush, as revealed to us in Exodus 3 and 4. This is from the opening of a sermon entitled, “What We Believe: God.” You can watch it here: What We Believe: God

I think it’s significant that when Moses asked God what His name was that God didn’t reply in Aramaic. He didn’t reply in Hebrew. Nor Greek. Nor English. God’s name is the sound of breathing… the sound of life itself!

God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit… all together in one function, breathing life into mankind, from Adam, to the disciples, to you and me.

The sound of breathing… is the name of God. In Hebrew YHWH is translated “I Am.”

God’s name.  I Am.

It is our very life – our created life.

Our life for a set period of years – our living life.

And our life forever — our eternal life!

I am that I am.

I am everything.

I am the Alpha and the Omega. The first and the last. I was before there was anything.

I am the smallest of microscopic strands of DNA. I am the largest galaxy in the farthest distance.

And because of that, God is everything, God is the only thing, you need.

He is not just the sound of breathing, His breath is life itself!

And He offers that life to you!

Think about it! When the “I AM” offers you life? Can I say it? You’d be crazy not to accept it… not to accept Him.

Like Moses at the burning bush… God is holy. He’s waiting for you to approach Him. And at the same time God is with us by way of the Holy Spirit. He goes before us, as Jesus did, to conquer sin and death once and for all. The Bible says He is opportunity. He is healing and love. He is our protector and guide. He is gracious and kind and jealous and righteous. He is the Most High. He is perfection and truth. He is glorious and beautiful. He is our Redeemer and Savior. He is Immortal and Invisible. He is. Period.

And here’s the most amazing thing… because of Jesus, God is accessible to you and me. He loves you. Look at the 23rd Psalm.  He longs to be your Shepherd. You lack nothing. He longs to take you to green pastures and quiet waters where you can find rest for your soul.

Will you let Him?

 

 

(c) 2018 Rich Ronald.