Who Am I?
Moses was doing his job tending the flocks of his father-in-law Jethro who was a priest of Midian. That’s the way God seems to do things. We think we are going about our lives doing what we please and living in the mundane. From time to time we are thankful for what we have the opportunity to do, but mostly we just go do what we have to for a job. Some may feel more rewarded or settle in their jobs but just when we think we can get comfortable with our job and unexpected and sometimes uninvited guest shows up. It may not we should have known really, I mean after all is there really any place to far that this special guest cannot arrive there?
Moses, he was on the far side of the desert and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. Exactly how far away is the far side of the desert? Moses was a long way from home and meets an unexpected guest, in an unsuspecting place, in an extraordinary way. Maybe Moses knew or maybe he didn’t that he was very near the mountain of the Lord. When God shows up extraordinary things do happen. Moses looks and seems something way out of the ordinary even for the desert, a bush that was on fire but did not burn up. Moses may have thought he had been at this too long, or the sun had baked his brain but anything that burns gets crispy. Moses not having anyone else to ask if he is seeing things but the sheep decides to go over and investigate this “strange sight.” God can and often does use the out of the ordinary things to get our attention so that we may experience God. Has God ever used a “strange sight” to get your attention or to speak to you?
When the Lord noticed that He had Moses’ attention then God begins to speak to Moses directly by name. Moses had gone over to investigate an out-of-the-way, odd occurrence, then arriving there to find that this had all happened so that God could speak directly to him by name. Now if I am honest I am not so sure this would make me too comfortable. Think about it, you are out here alone, something happens that is completely unnatural (bush on fire, not burning) and then only to find out that it was a supernatural event and that God wanted our undivided attention. Hello God! You have my attention. God has a way of doing just that. When the Lord calls Moses’ name he responds “Here I am.”
Moses is told to keep his distance and take off his shoes. It is God’s invitation much like a guest in our home we invite them in but not to live there, they are guests and out of respect take off their shoes. Taking off the shoes or sandals is also a way of being able to feel and connect better. Things like sandals can cause us to not be as sensitive to what is around us. Now Moses is feeling every stick, twig, rock, and blade of grass. Also just because the bush was on fire but did not burn up did not mean that the fire was not hot. If Moses takes of his sandals then the ground would have likely been too hot for Moses to go much closer to the Lord. The ground is not holy in and of itself but the ground is holy because the Lord being there makes it so.
The Lord identifies Himself, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, God of Isaac, the God of Jacob.” God is personal and He lets Moses know who He is that He is the mighty God of his ancestors. This also demonstrates God’s great power, and at learning who God is Moses is no longer worried about his feet but his face, because he was afraid to look at God. Do we have that kind of respect for God today? Do we look over God, or past God, or worse do we look right at God and then say, “no big deal?” Moses knew who he was in the presence of God and would not even look upon God. As the years pass in Moses’ story he has several of these types of encounters with God. Amazingly Moses always honors God but also speaks to God in a very familial way. It would be the people of Israel who look right at God and God’s wonders and then after some time seem to say “no big deal” or “what have you done for me lately?”
Sometimes God causes or uses things to get our attention and help us to see. Things like burning bushes that are not consumed. God tells Moses that God has indeed has been watching, seen, and heard what is going on for the Hebrews. God tells Moses some great news, God is going to act on behalf of the people. That is truly great news, then Moses finds out the real plan is that God has heard, but is choosing to work by and through Moses. God’s action is to send Moses on God’s behalf.
Moses tries to back away from the situation. He asks, “Who Am I?” God tells Moses that he will be with him. Who is Moses, the one that God wants to use to demonstrate his power, might, glory, and to free his people. Who is Moses, he is the Lord’s. Who are we? We are ones that God wants to use to demonstrate God’s power, might, glory, and to set the people free from their sin through the sacrifice of his Son. Who are we, we are his and we are deeply loved.
What if they ask God who are you, can I give them a name? I am that I am. You don’t need to tell them my name, I am the God of your fathers and that is how I will be remembered forever. As important as Moses felt like God’s name was what God would do to demonstrate that he alone is God would be significant. God reminds Moses that he has always been their God, the God of their ancestors. Egypt used to understand and respect God in the time of Joseph but only a few generations later the Hebrews were slaves. The Egyptians would soon be reminded that there is a God and he is powerfully enough to set the captives free.
Will we see the things in our lives as opportunities to seek God, find our identity in him, be willing to be his agents in the world, and help set the captives free? Remember who you are. You are a deeply loved child of God, saved by his grace, and called to go to those who still remain in bondage. Will you go?