To Israel, his chosen, God revealed himself as the only One: "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD; and you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might."4 Through the prophets, God calls Israel and all nations to turn to him, the one and only God: "Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.... To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. 'Only in the LORD, it shall be said of me, are righteousness and strength.'"5
One of our parish deacons begins his spontaneous prayers with this (Hear, O Israel) which is a beautiful way of reminding us that we are united with those same Israelites whom Moses led out of Egypt. Often, we are just as faithless, too, turning to idols in our impatience to have all our desire.
"I Am who I Am" ⇡
Moses said to God, "If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you', and they ask me, 'What is his name?' what shall I say to them?" God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM." And he said, "Say this to the people of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you'... this is my name for ever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations."10 ⇡
In revealing his mysterious name, YHWH ("I AM HE WHO IS", "I AM WHO AM" or "I AM WHO I AM"), God says who he is and by what name he is to be called. This divine name is mysterious just as God is mystery. It is at once a name revealed and something like the refusal of a name, and hence it better expresses God as what he is — infinitely above everything that we can understand or say: he is the "hidden God", his name is ineffable, and he is the God who makes himself close to men.11
By revealing his name God at the same time reveals his faithfulness which is from everlasting to everlasting, valid for the past ("I am the God of your father"), as for the future ("I will be with you").12 God, who reveals his name as "I AM", reveals himself as the God who is always there, present to his people in order to save them.
This entire section on God's name is fascinating and mysterious. There is so much revealed in His name that I do not comprehend. It also reminds me of the movie "The Passion of the Christ" where Jesus dares to utter the word "Yhwh" which I find fascinating to hear spoken in the original, not in English.
On another note, (haha) here is a letter which explains why Yhwh, or variations of it, is not allowed to be used in music.