Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘I am the Lord your God. According to the doings of the land of Egypt, where you dwelt, you shall not do; and according to the doings of the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you, you shall not do; nor shall you walk in their ordinances. You shall observe My judgments and keep My ordinances, to walk in them: I am the Lord your God. You shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, which if a man does, he shall live by them: I am the Lord. (Leviticus 18:1-5)
I Am The Lord
There are emphatic statements of God throughout scripture. The purpose of these declarations is to arrest the attention of the people to the character of the Lord and His insistence upon their complete obedience. Found only in the Old Testament the statement “I am the Lord” is repeated around 162 times. The majority of scriptures will be found in two books: Leviticus (45) and Ezekiel (67). It should not be lost on the reader the context of these books and the assertion by God His people clearly understand His will. The name of the Lord is Holy and to be held in reverence. Not simply because it is a good thing to do but the name of the Lord establishes truth.
The book of Leviticus is a telling of the Law. Moses has been called by God to recite the specifics of the Law which were given on Mount Sinai. Over and over again while the Law was being outlined God put emphasis on the letter of the law reminding the people who brought them out of the land of Egypt, who performed mighty miracles in their presence and who cared for their every need. “I am the Lord” was a stamp of authority sealing the testimony of His word on the hearts of the people for them to obey. The Lord is a jealous God (His name is Jealous) and allegiance to one God was paramount to obedience. Jehovah would not accept being anything but first and only.
Ezekiel was a prophet during the turmoil of the captivity. He was a priest of the Lord among the captives by the river Chebar in Babylon. As a watchman over the house of Israel Ezekiel prophesied of the final destruction of Jerusalem with the razing of the temple and deportation of the Jews to bondage. The message was clear: what God had promised in the Law if Israel turned away from Him was now coming to pass. The Lord abhorred idolatry which leads to the destruction of the nation. Pride had brought the people of God to ruin and relying upon other nations to deliver them was folly. When all was said and done the judgment of God rained down upon the rebellious nation because the character of the Lord had remained unchanged. Through the writing of Ezekiel this single thought was repeated over and over again: “that you may know that I am the Lord.” He wanted the captive people and those about to feel the sting of the whip to understand that sin will not be tolerated. He had warned them in the Law and now they would learn the hard way that what was declared in the beginning was still true.
The challenge today is to remind the world the Lord is still in charge and His word continues to judge the world in righteousness. Through the Bible God’s will is proclaimed and His word is unchangeable. Sin is still abhorrent in the eyes of the Lord God Almighty and if men reject Him the penalty of rebellion will be given. Salvation can only come from hearts that accept the message that God is Lord and there is none like Him. The word of God shows forth that He is Lord. If men reject Him today they will face Him in judgment and then they will know that He is Lord. Every knee shall bow. All of humanity will understand who the Lord is.
By the name God I understand a substance infinite, eternal, immutable, independent, all-knowing, all-powerful, and by which I myself, and every other thing that exists were created. (Rene Descartes, Meditations, 1641)