Exodus 3 - I am who I am
During this fast season we are exploring - through what we read in a chapter a day of the Bible - who God is and what He is like.
1. Pray and read - preferably together
2. Pray and share
Philosophers and theologians like to define God. In fact we all like to understand and to know things. We are curious people. Perhaps that is how God made us - we instinctively find things out and organise what we sense in various ways to try to understand it.
Young children cannot help but learn (it is a shame that the school systems often stifle learning through discovery and imagination by trying to make sure we all know the right answers, but that is another story!).
Moses was curious. There was nothing strange about a burning bush, in the middle of a hot desert. Bushes die and dry out in scorching conditions. The intense sunlight and heat can cause dry twigs to catch light. It might seem strange in the damp and cool conditions in Britain, but it is not uncommon in the desert.
This bush, however, was different. This one was burning but not getting any smaller (vv 2-3). This was God’s angel (v2) grabbing Moses’ attention so that He could speak (v4). Maybe the angel is none other than Jesus Himself - after all, Jesus is God and outside time, not limited to living three years as a human early in the first century!
He had Moses’ attention now! God tells him of the role he is to play in seeing God’s purposes fulfilled. But however much Moses was in awe of God, he struggled to take it in and believe it - how like us.
Moses’ problem was not so much with what God wanted to do but with his own identity - “Who am I …?” In other words, “I can’t because I am a nobody.”
God’s answer is partly to reassure him “I will be with you” and mainly to reveal Himself. Here we have a crucial statement by God Himself of who He is.
“I am who I am!”
What does that mean? Who?
The explanation is surprising. Who am I? I am. That’s all you need to know.
Suddenly Moses finds his identity by reference to who God is. That is how we can truly be ourselves - when we draw close to God, get to know Him and submit to His rule. I am who I am.
Suddenly Moses has insight into the nature of God - self existent, without the need of anyone to make Him complete. I am who I am.
Suddenly Moses is confronted with God as the ultimate, all powerful One who is beyond a mere name like the pagan ‘gods.’ For the Hebrew language here translated “I am who I am!” could very easily be translated “I will be who I will be!”
God is not static. He is not like us humans, limited by time and location. He can decide to be and do whatever He choses.
As we shall see, He chooses to love because that is His nature. But for now, let’s focus on the response to seeing/hearing/knowing who God is. Moses obeyed the command to take off his sandals - this was an awesome place of encounter - and he felt a deep, reverential fear.
3. Pray and act
As we meet God, like Moses, let’s fear Him and worship. Allow Him to be who He is .... in us!