As we grow from childhood to adolescence and finally to adulthood, most individuals will get past the trivial and petty concerns of this life and at some point begin to ponder deeper questions like: “Who am I?” “Is there a purpose for my life?” “Is there a God?” Next Sunday’s text in Exodus chapter 3 addresses these kinds of questions.
Recall from last time, Moses had a dynamic encounter with a burning bush where the angel of the Lord, who is God Himself, called Moses for a particular mission. Following the encounter Moses asks God two question: The first question is in our opening verse Exodus 3:11, But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?”
God had just told Moses in verse 10 that He was calling and sending him to lead His people out of Egypt. We may expect his reply to have been as before, “Here I am.” But instead, Moses asks God the question, “Who am I?” Moses had already gotten himself in trouble trying to help the Hebrew slaves which led to his exile 40 years earlier; so this is a good question. Perhaps he was perplexed as to why God would call him for this task after his past monumental failure. Perhaps he asks this out of humility or insecurity; perhaps he is just fearful, considering the magnitude of what is being asked of him. One thing is for sure, Moses knew that he was totally incapable of doing this in and of himself!
Knowing of Moses’ fears, God assures Moses in verse 12 he won’t be alone! So He said, “I will certainly be with you. And this shall be a sign to you that I have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.” Not only does God tell Moses, “I will certainly be with you,” but also gives Moses a sign, which will serve to confirm God’s call later on. That sign would be fulfilled when the children of Israel would come out of Egypt and worship God on that very same mountain where Moses first encountered God.
Moses had a second question for God, the answer to which reveals the essence of God’s being. In verse 13, Moses said to God, “Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they say to me, ‘What is His name?’ what shall I say to them?”
God’s answer to Moses’ question has become one of the most debated and misunderstood texts in the Old Testament, as to God’s name and nature. In verses 14 and 15, God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ “ Moreover God said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel: ‘The Lord 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, and this is My memorial to all generations.’
Next Sunday, Lord willing, we will open up these five verses from Exodus 3 by asking two questions. First, what is man? Who are we apart from God, and who we are in Christ? Second, who is our God? What is His essence, nature, or being? We will seek to answer this by exploring His name in verse 14 looking deeper into God’s essence by way of His name from Scripture. These are two very deep questions that the Scripture provides answers for.