In Egyptian mythology, a name was not just a name. It was something more. In fact, if you learned the name of a god, you had control over that god; in essence, it was at your disposal. To know its name was to know it, its personality, its character, its history, its intentions. To know its mind and power and presence. And so, Egyptian gods would hide their names from their people, from the history books, from each other so that nothing could take control of them and force them to do their bidding.
So the legends go.
Moses, therefore, comes across a burning bush, a bush that is on fire but not getting burned up, mind you, and he realizes this is special. God is here. So, of course, raised as an Egyptian in the house of Pharaoh, Moses is curious about his God. What is Your name?
As a kid, I always assumed Moses was taking a message. And who may I say is calling? Or worse, casting blame. It’s not my idea, guys! God told me to do it. But the word Moses used for “name” carries with it a whole lot of oomph. Not just a person’s moniker, but something more.
This is what Moses wanted to know. He wanted to know God’s character, His personality. What can He do and under what circumstances? How far can He reach? He wanted to know God’s intentions, His presence, His power. Perhaps in the manner of an Egyptian, he wanted to know God’s secret and special name so that God would be at his disposal, to harness the God of whatever He was God of to his own purposes. At the very least, if he was going to walk into the lion’s den, into a demon-infested, army-surrounded haven of evil that already had a price on his head, he wanted to know that God had his back.
What name could possibly give him all that?
Continued on blog “It is What it Is“
Excerpt from “Peace and How to Keep It.”