This is part three of a series of posts I am writing that dig for deeper understanding into Moses' response when he faces God in the burning bush. You can read the whole story for yourself in Exodus 3 and 4. Part one, the introduction, can be found here, and part two, the first excuse, is here. Studying this passage has been very eye-opening for me. I hope it is helpful to you, as well.
Breaking the Moses Habit: Who are you, God?
Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”
I believe that the reason Moses reacts like this is that Moses is not sure who God is himself. He fears having to explain this unknown God to the Israelites. It is not in the end about the name (although that is what Moses asks for); instead, it is about God’s character. Who are you, God, that you can demand these people to follow you to you-only-know-where through the desert for however long it takes? Who are you, God?
God responds in a way that only He can:
“I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: I AM has sent me to you.” Exodus 3:14
God does not stop there. For the next eight verses, God elaborates upon who He is and what He is going to do for the people of Israel. He proves himself trustworthy. He explains that He has been watching the suffering of His people and has chosen to do something about it now. He tells Moses exactly what to say and what to ask for from Pharaoh – “Let us take a three-day journey into the desert…” Exodus 3:18. He even promises to make the Egyptians feel compassionate and help the Israelites along (Exodus 3:21)!
Our God gave Moses what he asked for and so much more. God desires to show Himself to us – He wants us to know who He is and to trust in Him wholeheartedly. For Moses, He did is in the speech which can be found in Exodus 3:14-22. For us, we seek in the Bible first and then through the testimonies of our own souls and our brothers and sisters in Christ. The Lord used His Word to show Samuel who He is, in 1 Samuel 3. Samuel heard the voice of God as a young boy and as he grew, he studied the Word with his tutor, Eli. And while he studied, God “revealed himself to Samuel through his word” (1 Samuel 3:21). His Word – the Bible – is how the Lord Almighty demonstrated to Samuel and countless others that He is a God worthy to be trusted and honored.
If we do not stand firm on our understanding of who God is, we are weak. We hesitate when asked to take a risk for Him. If we do not know who we are standing for, we could just as easily be standing for ourselves. We must build our house upon the rock (Matthew 7:24 – 27). Our rock must be Christ revealed to us through the Bible.