What’s in a Name?


I can be a very indecisive parent, occasionally becoming temporarily paralyzed by big decisions. It sometimes feels like I am charting an irreversible course for my child’s entire life. This started early. In the hospital, I could not give my daughter a name. It was a big deal. I wanted to give her a name that would fit her personality, her lineage, her future. After some not-so-gentle encouragement from the birth certificate lady on day four at the hospital, I finally decided on a name. In today’s passage, a name is also a very big deal… because it is the name of God.

  • If someone were to ask you what God’s name is, how would you respond?


13 Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” 14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I am has sent me to you.’” 15 God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations. 16 Go and gather the elders of Israel together and say to them, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, has appeared to me, saying, “I have observed you and what has been done to you in Egypt, 17 and I promise that I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt to the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, a land flowing with milk and honey.”’ 18 And they will listen to your voice, and you and the elders of Israel shall go to the king of Egypt and say to him, ‘The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us; and now, please let us go a three days’ journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God.’ 19 But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless compelled by a mighty hand. 20 So I will stretch out my hand and strike Egypt with all the wonders that I will do in it; after that he will let you go. 21 And I will give this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians; and when you go, you shall not go empty, 22 but each woman shall ask of her neighbor, and any woman who lives in her house, for silver and gold jewelry, and for clothing. You shall put them on your sons and on your daughters. So you shall plunder the Egyptians.”

English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


  1. What did Moses ask of God in verse 13? What does this reflect about Moses’ belief or lack of belief at this point?
  2. In Hebrew culture at this time, a name carried great weight—it revealed something significant about a person. How does this aid in your understanding of God saying his name is “I am who I am”?
  3. After telling Moses his name, God made several promises. What things did he promise in verses 17-22?
  4. What is significant about God’s character that, in the face of Moses’ fear and doubt, he gave such specificity and promise about what was to happen?
  5. God’s Word contains one promise after another for us as well. How should this impact the issues in our lives where we may struggle to believe God?


Moses’ doubt and fear concerning the assignment God had given him pushed him to question God. By asking God to tell him his name, Moses was really asking God to identify something significant about himself in relation to all the other gods that had surrounded the Israelites in the nation of Egypt for over 400 years. “I am who I am” is the perfect answer. There is no comparison. He is the name above all names. No beginning and no end. A God of incommunicable power and planning. A God whose prophecies are unfailing and whose promises are sure.

  • Praise God that he is beyond compare.
  • Pray that “I am who I am” will make a difference in how you choose to believe today.