Dr. Ed Young - God Is
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A child's question, "Who made God"? Isn't that a question children ask? I can remember, I don't know exactly when or how old I was, but I can remember asking that question, "Who made God"? Anybody else remember asking that question, would you lift your hand? Yeah, yeah. It's a question a child asks, but what if I went out and just sort of... drew your number and say, "By the way, it's a child's question, would you give me the answer to the question"? Would you answer me, who made God? How would you do? It's a child's question, but it's a profound question asked by philosophers and theologians and students, asked by people who think long thoughts after God. Who made God? It's hard to explain that to a child. It's hard for us to understand it. How do you explain the uncaused cause? How do you explain the holy other? How do you explain that he is, is? How do you explain that the name we're studying today for God, Yahweh, it is even pronounced by the Jews?
When they're reading the Scripture, they come in the name of Yahweh, and it's mentioned 6,823 times in the Bible. That's pretty big, isn't it? Six thousand, hundred and twenty-three times, one name; Yahweh. Dr. Pentecost said, "When you say the name, Yahweh, you throw out the tenses". It's not yesterday or today and tomorrow, past, present and future. With Yahweh, it is always now, and it is always forever. The Creator does not have to be created because he created time. Time is a creation of God. When we move out of time into timelessness, we are in the zone of where Yahweh has been forever, and forever, and forever, and one day after that. You got it? He is the is, the God who is. To best understand this, this is expounded on, really for the first time, extensively in the Bible. It is found, we go back to the book of Exodus in the third chapter. It's the call of Moses. I mean look at the call through Exodus 3, all the way through verse 10.
Now, most of us are familiar with Moses. Let me give you a brief, bang, bang, bang, synopsis of his life. Born a Jew in Egypt, child of slaves. Pharaoh said, "Kill all the males because the Jews are getting too strong. Throw them in the Nile River". They threw Moses in, but they put him in a little boat. And that boat hung up in the bulrushes and Moses was crying, Pharaoh's daughter was taking a bath in the Nile, she heard him, went there, adopted the child, and by chance, some would say, selected Moses' real mother to be the nanny, and to bring up the child, and to care for the child. So here is Moses, had the best of both worlds, taught monotheism at the knee of his mother as every Hebrew would have been taught. At the same time, he was educated in the best schools in the world in that day, in the culture of the Egypt. And in the process, for 40 years, he was somebody in the classical outline of the life of Moses. He was somebody.
At the end of 40 years of age, he was a publisher, he was a statesman, he was a scholar, he was a military leader, and he was still a Hebrew. And some have guessed and speculated that perhaps he would have been in line to be Pharaoh of the land of Egypt. But in just a moment of anger, and a moment of some kind of righteous indignation, he killed an Egyptian who was harming a Hebrew unfairly, he felt. He buried the Egyptian thinking nobody would find out about it, but he didn't do a good job because the Egyptian's toes stuck up through the sand. And the Jews found out and sort of chastised him about it, and said, "Are you going to kill us when you don't agree with us like you did that Egyptian"? He didn't know anybody knew.
Pharaoh found out and said, "We're going to kill Moses". And Moses ran for his life. He was somebody for 40 years. He ran all the way to Midian. By the way, that's the Sinai Peninsula. I wonder if anybody here has been on the Sinai Peninsula beside, anybody been there? Walsh, you've been to the Sinai Peninsula. Anybody else? Yeah. There's nothing there, is it? It's with a lot of dirt-like sand and big granite mountains sticking up once in a while. If you want to go to the back side of nowhere, go the Sinai Peninsula where Mount Sinai is. It's called Horeb in the Scripture here. And that's where Moses went. And for 40 years he was a nobody in Sinai. I mean he'd just wander around all of Sinai, shepherding sheep. And then we have the experience I read about in the Scripture. He saw a fire that was being burned, a bush that was being burned that did not go out and he went to see.
That is what he saw, and then what did he do? He took off his shoes at God's instructions. You don't just barge into the presence of the living God. No, no, you can't have any dirt. It's a symbol of humility. He took of his shoes. And the Bible says, "He buried his face". That's the attitude before the living God, the God of fire, the God Yahweh. And then what did he hear? He heard a good Word. God says, "Guess what, Moses? I've heard the cry of the slaves there in Egypt, and I'm going to get them out and I'm going to take them to a land that is plentiful, that is flowing with health and prosperity". And Moses must have said, "Yes, yes. That was a dream I had 40 years ago for my people". And then here is the stinger, and this is just the verse, the words that shocked Moses. By the way, who is writing this? Moses. Pretty good authority, isn't it?
And then God says, God says, "I'm going to deliver the people," then here is what is what God says, "Therefore," talking to Moses, "come now and I will send you," Moses, "to Pharaoh so that you may bring my people, the sons of Israel out of Egypt". Ho, ho, ho, wait a minute, this is the call of Moses, and he was shocked. It was like Gomer Pyle, "Surprise, surprise, surprise"! You know, God is going to call me. And the first thing Moses said, he says, "I'm a nobody. I'm a washout. I'm depressed. I'm burned out. Man, there's a price on my tag in Egypt. I'm the last choice on this earth. Man, I've been 40 years, I've been just tending stupid, stubborn sheep, with a staff in my hand. You know, Lord, I'm not your guy". And then look how he expresses it in verse 11, "But Moses to God, 'Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, that I should bring the sons of Israel out of Egypt.'" And God said, "Certainly, I will be with you".
By the way, there's a play on words there. It said, "Who am I"? And really it says, God is saying to Moses, "Moses, it's not who you are, it's who I am". Stay with I am. Stay with I am. You see, the bottom line, it's not who you are and who I am. It's who God is. We think humility is, "God, I'm not any good. I can't do that. I'm not equipped for that. I mean look how shabby my life has been, look how limited I am. You know all about me, Lord, how my thoughts, I mean you can't me use me".
Let me tell you something, that's not humility. Humility is when I is not even in there at all. Humility is not what I think I can do and what I think I can't do. It's not even me. I'm not involved, you're involved. It's just all of God. That's humility. Don't you think about yourself at all. That's the reason I'm an expert in it. See, that's our problem. First excuse, "Man, who am I, Lord"? Look at the next excuse that comes, verse 13, "Then Moses said to God, 'Behold I am born to the sons of Israel and I will say to them, the God of your fathers,'" the God of yesterday, "has sent me to you, but now they will say to be me, 'What is his name? What will I say to them?'" Verse 14, "God said to Moses, 'I am who I am,' and he said, 'Thus you say to the sons of Israel, I am has sent you.'"
Remember what that means? By the way, this is a relevant, relevant question to ask, and a reverent question to ask. The other question, you know, who am I, was irrelevant and irreverent, but this one is not. What is he saying? He's saying, "I go to the Father," he's talking to the Jews now, the elders who are in charge of all of those people there. He says, "And I tell them, 'I come in the name of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. That's the God that spoke to me". He said, "That won't get it. I need a new revelation. I need that secret name, that culture name, that cult name, that family name that is not even spoken. And what is that name"? And God said, "My name is I am who I am. I am the is, I am the given is, I am God who, not just is the Creator and God who is all the rest, I am the eternal God, the changeless God".
I am, literally it means, I am... Remember that? Well, what am I going... who I'll tell sent me? What is your name? What is the God who spoke to you and says you're to liberate us, and Moses says, "The God who liberated me, his name is..." Breath, life, eternity. And then God says, "They will get that. I am. Tell them, I am". There's no apologetics. You know, "This is who I am. This is what I ought to be. This is the evidence of God". I am. Now, we see this I am in redemption. We see it in Leviticus. By the way, anybody have trouble sleeping at night? Does anybody have trouble? Lift your hand. Read the Book of Leviticus. It's amazing. But the Book of Leviticus seems laborious and hard to read, but the first seven chapters talk about sacrifice in that day, they had to be made where someone could be right with God. In that first seven chapters, you have the name Yahweh mentioned 86 times.
Then the great 16th chapter, on the day of atonement, it's described there, you have Yahweh mentioned 12 times. What is this? This Yahweh is a God who saves and a God who redeems. And this same Yahweh, this same I Am, we meet him, and the redemption process in the New Testament. Remember when Jesus was debating with the folks and they were talking about Abraham? And Jesus said, "Before Abraham, I Am"? Everybody went ballistic. "Let's pick up stones and kill him". Well, gosh. Do you understand that? All he said was, "Before Abraham, I Am". What did that mean? He was claiming to be the I am. He was claiming to be Yahweh. See, that's what just staggered the Jewish order. You're claiming to be Yahweh, I Am.
Then, in John, Chapter 6 to John Chapter 15, there's all those claims of Jesus, those I am. He says, "I am the light of the world. I am the light of the world". Oh, he moves on, he says, "I'm the bread of life. I'm the door to the sheepfold. I am the good Shephard. I am the resurrection and the life. I am the way, the truth and the life. I am the true vine". In other context he said, "I am Alpha and I Omega". He said, "I'm the same yesterday, today and forever". This is the I am that see all the way through. This is Yahweh, the great I am. Jesus came and he was and is Yahweh with flesh on, when he was in this world. Yahweh, the family name, the ultimate, total revelation of God, the best we can see, from a human perspective, and the best that we can understand. Remember, all the other names are descriptive names, telling us the nature and character of God. But his real name is the name, "I am that I am. I am..."
Now we see, God gave to Moses more credentials, but then, Moses offers another excuse, what kind of guy is this Moses? Man, look over here in chapter 4. He still doesn't want to go and respond to the call of God. Verse 4, "Then Moses said, 'What if they will not believe me or listen to me?'" Now, that is a tough question because I didn't read you the verse, but God just told him, back in verse 18, God said, "They will pay heed to what you say". And then, man, just a few verses later Moses said, "O Lord, what if they will not believe me or listen to what I say, for they may say, 'The Lord has not appeared to you.'" See Moses understood this assignment, this call. Man, he had to go back to Egypt. He had to go back before Pharaoh, he'd have to take all the elderly Jews with him. He'd have to say those simple words, "Hey, let my people go".
A million and a half, two million people that keeping the engine of the economy of Egypt going. "Let my people go". No small assignment. Moses understood that much, and now he says, "Hey, I need some more credentials. They may not believe me". And then we see the first time in the Bible really, signs and wonders. What's a wonder and what's a sign? A wonder is, "Ah"! A wonder gets our attention. That's all it does. It gets our attention. And then a sign points to something beyond itself in the future, see, "Ha"! We get our attention, then that's the wonder. That gives a... and then a sign goes beyond that. And where we have these signs that are given to Moses, remember what we're doing. He's trying to get some credentials here, and he gives these signs, and what are they? The first sign, God says to him, "Moses". "Yes, Lord". "What's that in your hand"? "It's a rod". "Well, Moses, throw that rod down".
And that rod that had been his hand, that was a shepherd's crook, a shepherd's rod, a shepherd's staff. Man, he had fought off animals to protect his sheep. Be sure of that. He had gone and pulled some sheep out of some ravines with that rod. He had used that rod on his shepherding ministry, and so he says, "Throw down that rod". And Moses threw down that rod; It became a snake. Then God says, "Pick that snake up by the tail". He picked up that snake by the tail, it become a rod, a staff again. What is that all about? It is a sign that Moses could show and was showing to the elders of Israel, said, "When I get before Pharaoh, they will see that when I control the snakes".
Snakes were big in Egypt. Most of the pagan cults and other religions worshipped snakes. The Pharaoh of Egypt had a cobra on his crown and the snake, if Moses could control the snake and the figure of the snake, this was a sign that he could control the political power in Egypt as well as the religions of Egypt. The Jewish would see that in that magicians trick as it were, in that sign. And the next sign he says, "Take your hand, Moses, put it inside your bosom. Put it in inside". Moses took his hand, put it inside. He said, "Pull it out". His hand was a leper.
But what was this all about? What was this a sign of? This was sign of... leprosy was so pervasive in Egypt that even this God who was sending him, this Yahweh, could heal diseases, or maybe because there's so much typology here, if you're biblical student, it could be that Moses hand went in and he felt how leprous his heart was, and how leprous was the heart of the people in Egypt, and even the Jewish heart, and when he pulled that hand out, it was leprous. When he put it back in, it came out clean. A picture of the leprous heart and how God can clean a heart, that would be powerful sign of what was yet to be. And what was the third sign? He said, "Man, if they don't listen to you now, Moses, they don't they believe you're sent from me, take some water out of the Nile, and pour it on the ground and the water will become blood".
Now, that would shake up the Egyptians because the Nile River was worshiped. It was their livelihood. It was the reason for their prosperity. It's all that red mud and clay washes down the Nile and it becomes black dirt. The richest soil on the planet, and that's why they were affluent. That's why they were wealthy. That's why they were powerful. It was from the Nile. The Nile was worshipped. It was the god, the primary source of everything Egypt was, and if Moses could handle and affect the Nile, whoa, the Jews saw he'd be a powerful, powerful instrument of God. So he has these three signs. You just think, "Well, Moses, I mean, surely God's going to be with you. He's given you that special name, that name, Yahweh", and he's said, "Hey, they'll believe you. Here are three signs that you could prove it".
But Moses isn't through, I mean what kind of guy is this Moses? I'm telling you, look at him. "Then Moses said to the Lord," verse 10, "Please, Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither recently nor in time past, and since you have spoken to your servant, for I am slow of speech and..." He says, "Lord, I'm a stutterer. When I get there before Pharaoh in that court, I mean I know all the procedures. I was brought up there, but I mean I'm overwhelmed. I can't, I can't talk. I'm a stutterer". You know what God says, simple. He says, "Moses, I am Elohim. I am the Creator of your mouth and I'll put words in your mouth". Yeah, surely Moses now has got every question answered but then he goes and says in the next verse, and I'll not read it. He says, "Get somebody else to do it".
Doesn't these excuses sound like some we have given? "Lord, I'm not anybody". That's not the question. "Lord, I don't have enough knowledge, I don't know enough names, I don't know enough theology, I don't know the Bible, like how can you use me"? We've said all that. Then we say, "Well no, the people won't believe when I've really come to God, and come to Christ, when I've picked up that rod. They won't believe me. And then, you know I don't have the words to explain, understand all of this". And God answers all of that, and all of that, and all of that, and then Moses says, "Get somebody else".
This is the first time, you read God, it said, "God burns". God is hot. He is hot with Moses. But he says, "Moses, look, you've got a brother named Aaron. Is he not eloquent"? "Oh yeah". "Can he not speak"? "Yeah, he's great". "Tell you what, Moses? I'm still going to speak to you and stutter to Aaron what I'm telling you and let Aaron speak". By the way, you read the book of Deuteronomy, you discover that Aaron became the priestly tribe, of course, became the priest, and Moses became an eloquent, powerful orator but that's in the future. But notice the next thing God says Aaron, he says, "By the way, Moses, Aaron is on his way to meet you".
Have you noticed when God calls you and you break through, and all of a sudden God's also working on the other side? Well, they'll never understand. God's working over there, he's working with you and working with me, respond to call and somehow, there is a meeting there. Boy, how patient God was with Moses, right? Can you believe how patient? I mean God has been more patient with Moses than anybody who has ever lived except for me. Except for you. Has he not? But he just keeps on calling. He just keeps on calling. Finally Moses had run out of excuses. God had answered every one of them, over answered every one them. Now, how would Moses end this up?
Maybe he'd summarize all of this and say to Moses, "Moses don't you see you're more prepared to be the deliverer and the leader than anybody on this earth? Is there any Jewish boy who was brought up in Pharaoh's court who speaks the Egyptian language, who knows their culture, who was seeped in it for 40 years? Is there anybody else who's been in the backside of nowhere? You have been somebody and now you have been nobody as a shepherd, there being broken and humble and learning my truth, and seeing that burning bush, now Moses, because you have been a somebody for 40 years, and you've been a nobody for 40 years, you're ready to be my nobody". That's what God said. "You're ready to be God's nobody".
"Moses, I say", he says, verse 17, "Moses, pick up your staff". "But I'm not going to be a shepherd". "Oh yes, you are Moses. You think those sheep were stubborn, wait 'til you lead those Hebrews out of the Promised Land. Moses, you think you had a problem rescuing them. Look how you're going to have to part that sea with that rod. Pick up that rod. Look how you're going to provide water. That rod, you're going to lift the serpent in the wilderness when all the sickness comes. You're going to use that rod. You are still my shepherd, Moses, but you are still nobody, but you're my nobody".
You see, that's what God says to you and me, "What's that in your hand? What is your experience? What is your background? Where are you"? "Well, I don't have". No, take where you are, that rod, what you have, your experience, and throw it down and give it to him, and he'll tell you to pick it back up and be available to him. How many place does God need people? Right now, where you are, your background, your experience, young or old alike, to say to the body of Christ, I'm here. I'm here to serve, I'm ready to go. God has called and I started this place.