As we close out this study of the 'I AM' name of the Lord, or 'I will be what I will be', we need to realize how His exclamation to Moses set Israel apart from all other nations, and indeed, all other philosophies even to our day.
God invented hope
Before Abraham, God had not revealed Himself in such a way since the days of Noah, and wouldn't again until Moses. Abraham is the only person of the Old Testament called the friend of God. Think of that - not Adam, not Noah, not Moses or Elijah. Only Abraham is called the friend of God in the Old Testament. (II Chronicles 20: 7, Isaiah 41:8, James 2: 23)
Abraham lived among pagan religions whose greatest hope was that the gods wouldn't be angry with them. There was no escape; appeasing the gods by sacrifice was how mankind lived, without hope of breaking free into a state of blessing.
When the Lord appeared to Abraham everything changed. Now a person could know the Lord, actually know Him. He and Abraham were friends, and God offered the promise of that friendship to Abraham's offspring as well.
We could say then that God, and Israel, invented hope for the whole world. "I will be what I will be" by itself would mean nothing to mankind, for it is God's statement of self-existence. It would mean nothing to mankind unless He also extended an opportunity for man to enter into covenant with Him - to be one with Him: He in us, us in Him. And that's exactly what He did.
The friend of God
When He became Abraham's friend, and when He appeared to Moses to expound upon that relationship with Abraham's descendants, that change everything. Hope was extended to mankind: You have a future in Me. The burdens and pain of this world will not last forever, in Me there is peace and a certain future. "I will be what I will be: Come along with Me!"
Israel was different from the pagan nations around them. Those people lived and died and as far as they knew, that was that. Maybe they would come back in a lower animal form, maybe man ceases to exist after death. Maybe it was like the Egyptians who believed the 'ka' (body in death) and 'ba' (personality/soul) just go to a kingdom of the dead. Up to the point of Abraham, nobody knew what lay beyond.
And when God appeared to Moses and said "I will be what I will be" He was saying "I am what lies beyond death" and essentially, "I want to be in covenant with you, and you with me, that where I am you may be also". It gave mankind hope and certainty. The future according to God and those in Him, is bright, and He is already there in our future. He is the I AM. He is already there. God through Israel brought hope to the world.
What is hope?
The Bible definition of hope is 'a favorable and confident expectation'. That is different from the modern, often American and western use which suggests 'hang in there baby' like a kitten clinging to a tree branch by its claws - just hang in there, hope for the best, just a while longer! That's not Bible hope. Bible hope is 'a confidence expectation'. That's why "I will be what I will be" is a revelation of certainty, of hope, of an expectation of a known future.
Hope is of the mind, the soul, the emotion and thoughts. Hebrews 6: 17-20 lays this out for us concerning Abraham:
"God also bound himself with an oath, so that those who received the promise could be perfectly sure that he would never change his mind. So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary. Jesus has already gone in there for us..." New Living Translation
Hope is the anchor for our souls - our emotions, thoughts, feelings, reasonings. An anchor is firmly planted unseen on the sea floor, and it allows the boat to swing with the path of least resistance to the storms. The boat of your life may swing this way and that with the storms coming against you, but that anchor is firmly attached, unseen, holding your soul steady. Hold fast to your hope.
Hope springs from revelation, in the context above, revelation from God who gave a promise to Abraham, then confirmed it by promising the same to him. From revelation comes hope, and from hope, faith is born. Faith is the evidence (witness in our spirit) of things hoped for (in our soul by revelation), the certainty of things for now unseen.
Notice that hope though it is of the soul, goes 'within the veil'. Hope enters heaven to give us that certainty. That is your anchor, fixed in the hope of heaven where Jesus has already gone ahead for us.
We may not yet know heaven by experience, but we know it. We have that revelation, that certainty, inside us. That revelation fills our souls with hope, with joy, with peace, knowing our lasting citizenship is there and we are travelers passing through this dying world.
God invented hope by revealing He is the I AM, the 'I will be what I will be', and saying, 'Come along with Me!' What grace! What peace! Our world needs hope now as much as ever, and you and I are stewards of that hope for them. New subject next week, until then, blessings,
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