Have you ever been given a blank check? Very few people have, but allow me to share with you a story of a wealthy man who chose three men off the street and gave them each a blank check, ensuring each of them that they could write whatever amount they desired and it would be given to them. The first man scoffed at the whole idea, assuming that it was a joke or a prank of some kind and refused the check outright and walked away. The second man was enraged because he saw the wealthy man’s gesture as an insult to his own ego, and in a prideful fit, tore the check into pieces, threw the pieces on the ground and stormed off. The third man said “Thank you.” and accepted the check, but as he thought more about it, he began to believe that this was actually some kind of test of his character, and so he only wrote a modest amount of twenty dollars. When the wealthy man saw it he said to him “Sir, why did you take so little? You could have added many zeros to this number?”. The other man replied “I suppose I didn’t really trust you.”. The wealthy man responded “Nobody did.”.
We also have been given a blank check from our Heavenly Father, with the assurance that we can take as much as we want from Him. Yet there are many people – both believers and not – who fall into the category of one of the three men from our story. The focus of our study today is going to be this blank check of ours and how to truly take advantage of it, and in so doing bring joy to our Father in Heaven.
Before we begin our study, we must first understand something about names. Names to God carry a very special meaning, much more than the casual way in which we treat them in our culture today. In God’s view, every name has a purpose, every name can shape a destiny, every name can change a life. There are a number of examples in the Bible of God changing someone’s name when He pronounces blessings on people. In Genesis 17:5, God changed Abram’s name to Abraham, adding one single letter in the Hebrew (Hei) which corresponds to Grace. Where “Abram” meant “High Father”, a name which glories in oneself, Abraham means “Father of many nations”, a name which Abraham knew referred to the blessing which God pronounced on him through Grace; not something that Abraham could take any credit for.
In Genesis 32:28, God changes Jacob’s name (which means “supplanter”) to Israel which means “God prevails”, again changing the name from a self-oriented title, to one which rightfully placed the focus on God.
Then we have Saul in Acts 13:9 whose name shifts from Saul to Paul. The name Saul, which is a kingly name meaning “asked for”, the name Paul means “small and humble”. Are you beginning to see the pattern here?
So names are extremely important to God in the Bible. Knowing this now, we can give proper weight to what we are about to study, which is the name that God chooses to reveal Himself as to His people. Let’s read it in Exodus 3:13-15:
“And Moses said to God, Behold, when I come to the children of Israel, and shall say to them, The God of your fathers has sent me to you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say to them?
And God said to Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shall you say to the children of Israel, I AM has sent me to you.
And God said moreover to Moses, Thus shall you say to the children of Israel, the LORD 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 for ever, and this is my memorial to all generations.”
Now knowing what we have learned about names, and specifically the importance which God places on names, we can be sure of a few things here. First, that God did not just pick a name at random and assign it to Himself. We can be sure that the name which He has chosen for Himself is very descriptive and appropriate for His Divine nature and character.
We can also be sure that the purpose of His name is to show us something about Him, for our benefit. Think about it… God has no need for a name for His own self. The only reason He reveals a name for Himself is for us, to show us something about Him. And the more we see of Him, the more we benefit. We can be sure that the name which He shows us accomplishes this.
What then do we see in these verses? In verse 14 God says “I AM THAT I AM” and He tells Moses to proclaim to the people that “I AM has sent me to you”. Furthermore, we see in verse 15 that God also says that Moses must tell the people that “The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob has sent me to you”. God then goes on to say that this is His name forever and this is His memorial to all generations.
Let’s address verse 15 first because this will actually help us better understand verse 14. The reason for this is that again we are somewhat the victims of a less than accurate English translation. You see, whenever you encounter the word LORD in your English Bible with all capital letters, it is basically a placeholder for the Hebrew name of God YHVH ( יְהֹוָה ). This name when translated means God who is ever-present. Yah (God) Hoveh (is).
We see in verse 14, that God describes Himself as: I AM THAT I AM. God is always present. In our past, God was there even if we were too blind and ignorant to have noticed Him. God is also with us now, even though we are sometimes too self-occupied to acknowledge Him. And in our future God is already there as an assurance for anyone wise enough to avail themselves of Him.
Now God is telling us something deeper here than that even– although what we have just seen is a marvelous Divine reality in its own right. The name of God in Hebrew carries even deeper meaning because each letter also has an association to it. Every Hebrew letter also has a picture with it. Hebrew children learn the letters and the pictures associated with them. I am sharing some of them with you now to show you something about the name of God that we are studying:
Yod יְ – Hand
Hei הֹ – Grace
Vav וָ – Nail
Hei ה – Grace
The Hand of Grace Nailed in Grace. Who does this remind you of? It should be obvious that it is a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross.
So what does this all mean for us today? How can we apply this to our daily lives? And why does this mean that we have a blank check from God today? Well, to understand how God being ever-present can truly benefit us, we must understand the role of Jesus for us. Psalms 103:1-13 says it best:
“Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:
Who forgives all your iniquities; who heals all your diseases;
Who redeems your life from destruction; who crowns you with loving kindness and tender mercies;
Who satisfies your mouth with good things; so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
The LORD executes righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed.
He made known his ways to Moses, his acts to the children of Israel.
The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.
He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever.
He has not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him.
As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
Like as a father pities his children, so the LORD pities them that fear him.”
We see here a detailed list of the many benefits bought for us by Jesus. It all begins at verse 3, through the forgiveness of sins, and with it comes physical healing. Something which we have studied not too long ago in detail. Next in verse 4 is redemption from destruction, which in the Hebrew is a pit, or more accurately a trap set for us. Even when evil people try to hinder us or trap us, we are guaranteed deliverance because of what Jesus has done for us. Now this doesn’t mean we purposefully walk into traps as fools (Proverbs 27:12 tells us that), but it does mean that we can be assured of our victory when enemies try to harm us.
Verse 5 tells us that He satisfies our mouth with good and renews our youth like the eagles. There is a type of thing that may seem to satisfy temporarily, but it is not good and it will not renew us either. It is interesting that these two things are connected. When your mouth is satisfied with good (and there is only One who is good, Jesus) then your youth will be renewed by the same good. Jesus is the renewal of our youth.
Verse 6 assures us that it is the LORD (YHVH) that executes righteousness and judgment (Hebrew translation: justice) for everyone who is oppressed. Those who are righteous in Christ have a strong avenger on their side, so petty human vengeance is totally unnecessary.
Verse 7 we actually saw earlier in this study, that He made known all of these ways to Moses through the revealing of His name.
Verses 8, 9 and 10 are the reasons why people sing and dance and shout in church, and why I have a smile on my face every day. When you truly know that Jesus has repaired your relationship with God and that you are justified in Christ, that is when you will have true joy.
Next we have verse 11, great is His love to those that fear (Hebrew translation: reverence) Him. Those who truly honor and respect God and allow Him to lead their lives will discover the true riches of His mercy. Those who are pretenders, and who merely put on a show will remain strangers to God and He to them.
Verse 12 continues this theme, ah but to those who are genuine, this verse is a reality in their lives. Notice that it does not say north and south because of the poles; eventually if you keep traveling north or south long enough, you will begin traveling in the other direction. However you can travel east and west forever, and that’s how far our sin has been removed from us.
Finally we have verse 13, again only for those who are genuine and honest with God. Those who come to Him honestly will find a Father and a permanent home with Him, greater than anything this world could ever hope to offer. We find acceptance and true rest with Him.
My friends, these are just some of the benefits that we have in Jesus Christ. Because of His sacrifice for us, we have an unrestrained and unrestricted and perfectly whole relationship with the Father that is not hindered by sin any longer.
So now let’s tie this all together with the name of God, I AM.
Since we now understand the role of Christ Jesus on our behalf, we can now lay full claim to God being I AM… in short what this means is that whatever we need God to be, He is.
God is saying to us:
If you need healing in your body, I AM your healing.
If you need financial provision, I AM your wealth.
If you need wisdom, I AM your wisdom.
If you are lonely, I AM your companion.
If you are scared, I AM your security.
If you are depressed, I AM your joy.
Do you believe today that God is truly everything that you need? Do you know God as your personal I AM in Christ Jesus? Remember the story of the wealthy man and the three untrusting people at the beginning of this study. None of them believed that what was being offered to them was genuine. Yet today, the blank check of God is being handed to you; are you willing to take it, or do you believe it is just a prank like the first man?
Or perhaps you see God’s offer as an insult to your ego. Perhaps you would rather trust in your own efforts to provide for yourself rather than to rely on God.
Or you may believe that God can’t really be that good, and this is instead some kind of test.
My dear friends, whatever roadblocks the enemy might try to put up to keep you from God, its time to push all of those aside and actually begin to trust His goodness. Many people are still holding back areas of their life from God because they believe that God can’t possibly be as good as He seems. There are people like the first man. Then there are those who believe that they can do a better job of leading their own life rather than God, just as the second man. Finally there are those who truly want the blessings of God but simply can not trust Him enough to take them, just as the third man did.
It is sad to say that none of these people will ever know the riches of a right relationship with God unless they truly repent (change their mind) and come to Christ honestly and openly without holding anything back. True repentance is to agree with God, change your mind, think the way God thinks and see the way God sees. Repentance is not getting down on your knees, tearing your shirt, pulling out your hair and crying bitters tears. That is emotion, but true repentance is to change your mind to agree with God and come to Him honestly and openly without holding anything back from Him.
I encourage you today to learn from the truth of the scriptures that we have studied today, and receive the full measure of what God wants to give you. It is yours in Jesus.