by Shannon Caughey
As a coach, you long for consistency from your athletes. You want them to consistently be where they’re supposed to be and do what they’re supposed to do. You challenge them to give consistently great effort, whether during practice or games. You encourage them to consistently compete and live according to the values of your program. All the while, you know that you can’t always rely on your athletes to be consistent in these things.
It’s not just athletes who fail when it comes to consistency. Coaches are guilty as well. Do we consistently have the right attitude and do the right thing, no matter how challenging the situation? Do we consistently love well our athletes and other people in our life rather than giving into the pull toward self-centeredness? Do we consistently coach in ways that are truly transformational, even during difficult seasons? In truth, we really can’t rely on ourselves to be consistent.
Yet there is One – the Lord – who is consistent without fail. In fact, the name with which God frequently refers to himself in the Bible conveys his perfect consistency. In this series of devotions, we’re looking at names and titles of God in Scripture. The goal is to more fully know this God according to how he reveals himself in his Word. As we deepen our understanding of who God is and how we rightly relate to him, this impacts how we coach and live.
In Exodus 3, God explained to Moses that he was calling him to lead the Israelite people out of Egypt, where they were suffering enslavement and oppression. God told Moses to go directly to Pharaoh and instruct him to let the Israelites – who numbered in the hundreds of thousands – leave Egypt. Understandably, Moses has doubts about whether he is the right man for the job. He tries to object, but God answers, “I will be with you” (Exod. 3:11, 12).
Still unsure, Moses asks what he’s supposed to say when those he’s trying to lead want to know more details about who this God is whom Moses claims is with him and has sent him. “God said to Moses, ‘I Am Who I Am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: I Am has sent me to you’… Say to the Israelites, ‘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…” (vv. 14, 15).
In our English translation of the Bible, when Lord appears in capital letters (or small caps), it means that the original Hebrew word is “Yahweh.” Yahweh is the personal name by which God introduces himself. “Yahweh” is the 3rd-person form of the Hebrew verb “to be” – so it literally means, “He is.” And “I am” is the 1st-person form of this very same Hebrew “to be” verb. In essence, God tells Moses that his name is both “I Am” and “He Is.”
What is God revealing about himself with these names “I Am” and “Yahweh” (the Lord)? God is always fully who he is as God. He is eternal and unchanging. There is never a time or situation in which God is somehow hindered from being fully who he is in his character and purposes. He is unfailingly consistent.
As we grow in knowing this God who is the Lord, we realize he is the one we can rely on at all times. We can trust him to consistently act according to his character – his love, goodness, righteousness, justice, wisdom, etc. – no matter what our circumstances. We can be confident that the Lord will consistently do what he says he will do. We can know that his promise to Moses and to us, “I will be with you,” is far more than a nice sentiment. The Lord is reassuring us that he will be actively present with us in the fullness of who he is as God at every moment. That is how we are able to be and do all God wants us to be and do.
In a world filled with people who are inconsistent (including ourselves), we must build our lives on the One who says, “I Am Who I Am.” The Lord alone is worthy of our dependence and devotion. Coach, you can put your confidence in him in all you do.
For reflection: Take a few minutes to praise God because he is Yahweh, the Lord. Praise him for being consistent in his character and purposes. Express your desire to rely upon him at all times.