What is your name? What are you called? Why do you have that name? Why do things and people need names?
Giving a name is part of the creative process. Think about it. Your parents “created” you, so they gave you a name. People give names to their books and movies and products. It seems as if the creation isn’t complete until the thing has a name.
We see in the creation accounts that when God creates, he also names. He called the light “day” and the darkness “night;” he called the land “earth” and the water “sea.” But when it came to the animals, God let that job up to man. Whatever name man gave to an animal, that’s what it was called. God involved man in the creative process by letting him appoint names.
A name completes the creation. It is given by the Creator (or one whom the Creator appoints). A name gives purpose, meaning, significance, uniqueness.
Fast forward to the story of Moses when he encounters God in the burning bush. Moses asks God what name he is to give to the Hebrews. By what name should Moses call this God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob? The Egyptians had thousands of gods, each with his/her own name given them by the Egyptians (e.g. Ra, Amun, Annubis, Isis, etc.). Moses wants to know which god is sending him on this mission.
I AM. This is the name given to Moses. It is the verb “to be.” It’s not even just the present form. It literally means, “I was; I am; I will be.” Or as our Israeli tour guide said, “Is-was-will.” This is the name God gave himself. This is the name by which he was known to the Hebrews. This name was not given to him by anyone else. He was not created. He was. He is. He will be. This is the God, YHWH. This name, YHWH, contains the fundamental element of God’s nature.
What’s in the name, “YHWH?” Everything.