If parenthood is one of the joyful experiences of life, choosing a baby’s name can be one of the most distressing. We seek names from baby name books, our ancestors, celebrities, special places, and word mashups. We hope what we choose never leads to ridicule.
Peyton Manning, the talented Tennessee Volunteers quarterback that played most of his NFL career with the Indianapolis Colts, has a legacy beyond the record books. Over 4,100 babies in TN and IN were named for him—as well as a penguin in the Omaha Zoo.
Since my wife and I have trouble choosing a restaurant, it took an elaborate process to name our children. We each compiled two lists of 10 names, boy and girl. Then we compared them, whittled them down, and actively campaigned for our favorites. Even then, we had last-minute discussions as we filled out the birth certificate.
Yesterday, Moses asked God, “Who, me?” Now he asks another question, “Who are you?”
When he announces God’s intention to free the Israelites, Moses wonders, how will the people respond to him? Raised by the Pharaoh’s daughter as an infant, he doesn’t share their background. After working as a shepherd in another country for the past 40 years, he will be viewed as a foreigner. Why should these enslaved people risk trusting an 80-year-old stranger who promises them liberation?
Moses anticipates their response when he asks to know the identity of the One who has sent him. God responds with a name beyond names, I AM, too holy to be spoken or written.
I AM represents the eternal, the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. This name will outlast rulers and nations, let alone sports legacies and birth certificates. This name is perfect.
How would you introduce God to someone today?
God, thank you for your steadfastness when everything else is changing. Help me find strength and comfort in your unchanging nature. Amen.