Exodus 2:23-3:22; Matthew 17:22-27; Psalms 22:25-26; Proverbs 10:10
OT: “After a long time, the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned because of their difficult labor, they cried out, and their cry for help because of the difficult labor ascended to God. God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. God saw the Israelites, and God knew. Meanwhile, Moses was shepherding the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian. He led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. Then the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire within a bush. As Moses looked, he saw that the bush was on fire but was not consumed… When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called out to him from the bush, “Moses, Moses!” “Here I am,” he answered. “Do not come closer,” he said. “Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” Then he continued, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” Moses hid his face because he was afraid to look at God. Then the Lord said, “I have observed the misery of my people in Egypt, and have heard them crying out because of their oppressors. I know about their sufferings, and I have come down to rescue them from the power of the Egyptians and to bring them from that land to a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey — the territory of the Canaanites, Hethites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. So because the Israelites’ cry for help has come to me, and I have also seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them, therefore, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh so that you may lead my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.” But Moses asked God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and that I should bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” He answered, “I will certainly be with you, and this will be the sign to you that I am the one who sent you: when you bring the people out of Egypt, you will all worship God at this mountain.” Then Moses asked God, “If I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what should I tell them?” God replied to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: I AM has sent me to you.”” (Exodus 2:23-25; 3:1-2, 4-14 CSB)
So many insights packed in this section of scripture. First, God did not forget about the Israelites in Egypt. He heard their cries and He remembered His promises. God told Abraham in Genesis 15:13 that his descendants would be enslaved in a foreign country for 400 years, and within that time his descendants would become a nation. But there was more going on than just building a nation. God also told Abraham in Genesis 15:16 that the iniquity of the inhabitants of the promised land had not reached its full measure – it was not time for His judgement to come to the people of Canaan. There were numerous reasons for God’s “delay” but it wasn’t because He had forgotten, nor because He wasn’t aware. God knows… God sees… God remembers… God is faithful. Due season will come.
When God called Moses’ name. Moses gave a response: hineni, which translated into English means “Here I am.” Hineni is a very significant word in Jewish culture. It is a word that communicates availability and surrender… here is all of me fully available and surrendered to all that you have for me – I am here, present, for you. When God calls our name, are we fully present, fully available, fully surrendered – or are we distracted in our thoughts or with our to-dos for the day? Are we ready to participate with our Lord in His eternal purposes, or are we more concerned with our agenda? That word challenges me and convicts me of my lack of present-ness with the Lord and with the people He has called me to.
This time, instead of Moses taking it upon himself to try and deliver his people, God was sending him to lead God’s people out of Egypt. Moses’ response this time wasn’t as open and available, now that he knew what God wanted. I wonder if Moses was thinking about his past failure… been there, done that, brought the t-shirt with me to Midian. So many times, the enemy – Satan, the accuser, will remind us of the failures we made in our own strength to discourage us from accepting God’s call to do things in God’s strength. What was God’s response to Moses’ hesitancy? “I will be with you.” That makes all the difference. Past failures don’t matter when you are yoked up with the omnipotent, omniscient, ever-faithful King of Kings, doing His work with Him.
God then gives Moses a sign that will prove that God is the one doing the delivering and not Moses. The sign will be that the people will come and worship Him. At first blush, that doesn’t sound like much of a sign – but think about it… naturally people, once they are freed, tend to go their own way and do their own thing – because instead of being forced to obey a master, they are now free. But God said that His deliverance will be so powerful, so amazing, so miraculous, so obviously Him – that everyone will be compelled to worship Him as a united people. That begs the question: those of us who have been delivered from enslavement to sin and transferred from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light and life – do our lives display the sign that God has delivered us? Do we live our lives in worship to God our deliverer, or do we go our own way and do our own thing?
Finally, God’s name… Moses asked God for His name, so that he could tell the Israelites who was sending him. Before, God identified Himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – the God of past patriarchs Who had proven Himself faithful to people in the past. But God tells Moses, My name from this point and forever is I AM… Completely present, here, now. I AM always present. I have always been present… and forever, throughout eternity, even beyond the limitations of time, I will always be present. The God who was present with Abraham is present with you right here, right now. Wow! What a comforting and encouraging truth to Moses… to the Israelites… to me.