God’s dealings with the patriarchs are essential to understand the Bible for several reasons. First, God approached Abraham with the intent of blessing all nations making the things he promised Abraham relevant to everyone. Second, Abraham is the father of the only kind of faith that pleases God. Third, we acquire the things God has promised by walking in the steps of Abraham’s faith. Finally, God redeemed us so the blessing he gave to Abraham would come to the Gentiles. Therefore, before we leave the patriarchs I want to make some observations about the times God said, “I am”, “I know” and “I will” beginning with “I am”.
Some things God said to individuals belong only to that individual. The things that apply to “all nations” is the focus of this post and the next two posts about the things God knows and the things he will do.
On several occasions, God identified who he is with the words “I am”. He said to Abraham, “I am your shield, your very great reward.” God is a shield or one who protects his people. He also calls himself our exceeding great reward. To the western mind, reward implies something given for good behavior. The Hebrew word means compensation or payment. In other words we are rewarded when we obey God regardless of our good or bad behavior. All of the patriarchs had character flaws which would have cost them if we were rewarded based on our character.
God said to Abraham, “I am the Lord, who brought you out of Ur…” In Hebrew God called himself Yehovah which means self-existent or eternal. While humanity depends on God for their existence, God is dependent on no one to exist. There is no higher power who formed God and breathed life into him. He is eternal.
He also said to Abraham, “I am Almighty God; walk before me and be perfect.” Other translations say “and be blameless” or “complete”. God’s greatest strength is his love. In everything God has done he has wronged no one because he loves everyone. Therefore he is blameless. At the end of the day, every evil accusation made about God will prove false.
If we walk in God’s might we will also be blameless as he is blameless. If we love people we will not wrong them. We will not treat people as a means to an end to be discarded when they are no longer useful. Everyone will be important and have value. Humanity falls far short of treating people the way God does. Therefore, the only way to truly love people is to walk in God’s ways.
Finally, God said, “I am the God of Abraham” to Isaac and to Jacob. Centuries after the patriarchs died God added a name to his many names – the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. God told Moses this is his name forever and the name he wants to be remembered by from generation to generation.
 All scripture quotes are from the NIV Bible unless otherwise noted.
 Genesis 15:1
 OT:7939 sakar (saw-kawr’); from OT:7936; payment of contract; concretely, salary, fare, maintenance; by implication, compensation, benefit: (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)
 Genesis 15:7
 OT:3068 Yehovah (yeh-ho-vaw’); from OT:1961; (the) self-Existent or Eternal; Jehovah, Jewish national name of God: (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)
 Genesis 17:1
 Exodus 3:15