Yahweh, He Will Cause To Be
A name is powerful. One of the biggest decisions new parents have is to name a child. That name holds all the hopes, dreams, and potential for our babies. It is their identity wrapped up in a single word. For example, we named our daughter Elisha, which means “God is my salvation”. We chose that name for her because we wanted her to always know that truth. We named our son Lucas, which means “bringer of light”. He was called this because we believe this is his potential, that he will be one who brings God’s light to the world.
Potential is potent. It can be a driving force in our lives. Lying dormant at first, it is only with the gift of time and opportunity that it emerges. We all carry potential, from a tiny baby to a grandmother who has lived for many decades. It is not limited by gender, age, culture or religion.
It does not disappear once we become an adult. Yet, as we travel through the ups and downs of life, it can get lost along the way. Disappointments and distractions can cause us to forget the potential in our lives.
No one person in the bible showcases this more than Moses.
From this side of time we gaze back through the telescope of biblical tradition and see a superhero, a man who rose to prominence as the rescuer of his people. In elevating our biblical heroes, it is easy to believe that they were superior beings, leaving us to feel inferior and unable to achieve what they did.
If we stop and take a closer look at Moses’s story, we find that despite an advantageous start to life, he ended up a little side-tracked, quickly losing his cape and tights the moment he committed murderer (Exodus 2:12), fleeing to the wilderness in fear (Exodus 3:1). At this point one could imagine his prospects were limited, his potential a distant past, and that he would never be heard from again.
Thankfully, God did not give up on Moses. Nor does He give up on us. And that is important to remember.
Literally in the middle of nowhere, God sought Moses out and offered him a new commission, tapping into his potential that had been buried by shame and a shepherd’s coat.
“So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.” But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.” Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?” God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’
What I love about this passage of scripture is the dialogue during this moment. The Hebrew authors never tried to hide frailty and failure. Instead, they looked to show God’s unending grace and love to humanity. As God engages Moses, we glimpse the value of humanity’s potential to God.
In this renowned encounter, Moses questions his own ability for the mission, and God responds with the comfort of His presence. Moses counters by asking what is the name he should call God, and it is right here that the wonder begins to unfold as God replies, “I am who I am (Yahweh).”
This is where God first revealed himself to a man as Yahweh. Biblical scholar Gordon J. Wenham said that this name means – “he will be” or “he will cause to be”.
Sound familiar? Potential is where possibility exists.
In this one conversation, God reveals himself as The One who causes possibility to exist. He is the self-subsistent one. The One who has the power to instill potential over and over again. Where we lack, where we are lost, He gives his personal guarantee that He has the ability to get the job done. (3:13-22)
Moses’s story shows us the difference between self-driven potential, where failure is the end, and God-given potential, where failure is only the beginning.
What God knows, that we often don’t, is that when we walk out our potential, the result is a way out. An ‘exodus,’ not just for us, but for the many others we lead from slavery and hardship to freedom and life.
In our God-ordained potential, there is a double unveiling – God is seen and so are we. Exodus 14:31 tells us, “the people feared the Lord, and they believed in the Lord and in his servant Moses.” As we trust in God to call out our potential, there is fruit for Him and for us. In His great benevolence, He allows His brilliance to becomes ours.
Yahweh is the author of our potential, His very name declares that “He will cause to be.” It was no mistake that the first person with whom He shared this name is the one whose story shows how God can take a sinner and make him significant.
The words of Paul continue to affirm this truth into the New Testament through the work of Jesus on the Cross. He reminds us in Philippians 1:6 that our potential is on God’s mind. What He has begun in us, the Holy Spirit will carry on until the end.
So, remember, when the days of your potential seem lost, when you doubt the possibility He has promised that His very name means “He will cause to be.” Dear one, believe that your potential is important to God.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Charissa Steffens is a teacher with a background in business and publishing. Passionate about strengthening the Body of Christ she holds a Master of Arts (Biblical Studies) and ministers through the spoken and written word. She writes for the love of it at her blog shematters.com.au. She serves as an Elder in her home church Nexus in Brisbane, Australia. And is oh so happily married to David with whom has two beautiful children, Elisha and Lucas.