I was getting rather agitated waiting for the electricity to be restored, willing my stomach to be as patient as my mind and reminding myself that having no alternative to my electric hotplate was probably not one of my smartest decisions in life. My phone wanted me to notice something and made a fuss – it was my phone bible app, inviting me to check out my bible verse for the day. Overly conscious of my hunger and the absence of a nearby solution to it on the horizon of my afternoon, I speed-read the verse distractedly. It was a verse from Leviticus 19:18 –
“Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.”
Since I was keener on physical than spiritual food at that moment, I had already pressed down on the lock button before realizing a very ‘tripped’ smile was already on my face as my mind registered those last three words. Has it ever caught your eye in scriptures when God perhaps made a declaration or gave an instruction to his people on some occasion and ended his words with “I am the Lord”?
I find it to be one of the coolest things ever.
You know you have to have a certain ‘level’ to practically make your identity the ‘full stop’ to your sentences right? It isn’t just anyone who stops the show by simply stating who they are.
God is the premiere, the lead, the finale and the showstopper. Period.
Even the movie industry gets it. For instance, when some renowned, larger than life, uber cool character does something that’s considered signature (I’d use James Bond and Zorro for this) and folks around are yet reviewing the doings in either awe or fear – depending on what side they’re on –, suspecting and speculating on the likely perpetrator, it’s almost as though the minute the identity of such a one is revealed, all the pieces just instantly fall into place.
“Who are you anyway?”
“My name is Bond…James Bond.”
Or picture one of those scenarios when that rotund officer or the speech impaired boy (I forget all their names – I feel like a traitor) would walk in after searching far and wide for a way to stop the villains, only to find them tied up and in a neat heap. Immediately they’d look around until the unmistakable “Z” from Zorro’s sword marked on something was found. That symbol simply provided a confirmation to their suspicions! In fact, based on how familiar with the hero’s nature and work some of them were, the inconsistencies noted when an impersonation of Zorro was once attempted made it tough for those close to him to buy into the charade. But you see, this principle is not even the exclusive preserve of the good – the bad and the ugly get in on the action too. The point is; when people consistently adhere to a certain mode of conduct, they are easier to distinguish by such.
Now, back to the person in focus – GOD.
Unlike his creations, God has no beginning. In other words, all the true beginnings we know were first begun by God who was still very much there before beginning all the things He began (that is a lot of fun to out loud, try it). Okay, horsing around on pause, it is tricky to imagine. Why, even our imaginations have limits to them yet I make that statement to point to the fact that if we – humans – need to invest quite a chunk of time in disciplining ourselves so that certain patterns of behavior practically become niche for us or our names become adjectival to them, how much more mind-boggling it is to know and serve a God who has been His awesome glorious consistent self from before the beginning of time (and will stay unchanging beyond the unfathomable endlessness of eternity)?
Now what are some of the things we know about God that ought to make His statements a big deal to us – even without Him verbalizing the classically epic “I am the Lord” note of finality?
God’s word is everlasting and will obviously outlive everything else
God’s word creates
God’s word goes out there and gets the job done
God’s word destroys
God’s word heals and comforts and strengthens
God’s word is alive
God’s word is consistent and unshaking and true
God’s word is God.
So without any additions, any and everything that proceeds from the lips of God almighty really must be held onto for dear life – temporal and eternal.
WHY DOES GOD NEED TO REMIND ANYONE OF WHO HE IS?
Well in modern day, that question has a pretty straightforward answer. Frequent reminders would be necessary for this generation of believers (talk less of none) because many of us don’t seem to have the attention that can span half-the distance of a dot made by a ballpoint pen.
Too often and far too easily, we forget. Despite the truth that in every moment in every day, every situation and circumstance we face is geared (whether we’re aware of it or not) towards magnifying God in our individual and collective lives for the finished work of Christ on the cross ( ), too often we play our cards like God is the after-thought and we (our desires, weaknesses, feelings or whatever else) are the real MVPs. So instead of letting the consciousness that Christ must be glorified in all to ooze from our responses to things, it almost as though we’ve been waiting for some sort of temptation or calamity to befall us just so we have a “legitimate” excuse to disregard and neglect the King.
We forget who our God is and all He has done. We forget His will, instructions, plans, promises, kindness, faithfulness, expressions of mercy and grace, forgiveness, justice, faithfulness, jealousy, power, goodness, wrath and love.
Sure it’s easy to remember how much you’re being owed at the super market up the road, or just how many times your roommate used your perfume without taking permission, or the several occasions your mother-in-law has grated on your senses with her complaints in spite of everything you’ve done for her, or all the girls your ex-boyfriend cheated on you with, or the speed at which crypto currency seems to have taken over, or the various football teams that have won or missed getting trophies…
It’s real easy to remember the most minute of these. It’s no wonder God so often needs to make a reintroduction to the ultra-distracted creatures known as humanity.
HE IS THE LORD, SO?
As is often the case, the weight a statement carries (or the implications it may have on the life or circumstance of another) may be determined by several factors. However in my opinion, there are two that are most pertinent:
- The person making the statement
- The person to receive the statement/ the person being addressed
I’ll give a simple example here. Do you know how sometimes one might listen to a song and maybe in the intro what sounds is this – often startlingly loud – voice calling out from nowhere: “IT’SSS YO BOYYYYY!”
My first reaction to such things is almost always something along these lines:
“From where? Who is this one please?”
Even though over time I’ve come to realize that many are wrongly encouraged to assume familiarity with their listening audience sometimes just to add ‘spice’ to their musical charisma (whatever that even means), it still does not change the fact that I do not KNOW the person who stood at the microphone in a studio someplace to record claims that he is my offspring.
But what might his parents say should they hear that intro? What might his uncles, aunts, mentors and fellow BOYYYYYs in the industry say should they hear him introduce himself as such over the air waves?
“Yup. That’s our boy.”
The difference in how his introduction is received is based on relationship.
The word of God is not hesitant to repeat things and within the pages of that glorious book lies justification for the several repetitions – Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. Why is it needful to have faith present? Without faith it is impossible to please God. So basically from this we get accustomed to seeing very important things repeated. Things that God wants us to keep at the forefront of our minds, things that we are expected to take key note of and lay emphasis on during our walk with Christ on this earth, things that will uphold us and encourage us and keep us standing firm and unshaking even when the evil day comes…these things are repeated.
One of such things is: “I am the Lord.”
As illustrated above, a reminder of who God is or any emphasis made that the one addressing us is not an impostor but the living and only true God, won’t be worth a spoon of salt to anyone who doesn’t even know Him to start with. Think about it. You can’t leverage on the vague threat implied by an aggressive: “Do you know who I am!?” if your opponent replies with an unimpressed “No.”
But God is different. He’s not intimidated or cowed into withholding revelations of Himself when His introduction is met with iced-fish enthusiasm. In fact, the more folks play nonchalant about their ignorance of Him, the more determined He gets about making sure you do not lack the avenues to acquire that knowledge.
Why is God so bent on people knowing who He is? Is it an ego problem?
“He does not seek that any one should perish…”
“For God so loved the world…”
He’s always about these introductions because it’s only the ones who know Him that will be saved.
So when He says “I am the Lord”, you ought to find out what that means to you because the fact still remains – He might want you, but you need Him.
I. AM. THE. LORD!