Exodus 3:1-15 3:1 Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian; he led his flock beyond the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the
This is a familiar scripture to most of us. Even if we haven’t necessarily read it, we’ve at least seen it played out by Charlton Heston in the Ten Commandments. We know it and understand it as the call of Moses. Many of you have probably even heard it preached on.
You all know the story. Moses was just walking along, minding his own business and tending his father-in-law’s sheep when he saw a bush burning off to one side of the trail. As he noticed this bush, this fire at the side of the path, he was a little confused, because even though it was burning, it wasn’t being burned up. He decided that he needed to check it out a little more closely, and he had to leave the path to do that.
Often, it seems, God will go to great lengths just to get our attention! For Moses it was a burning bush. Sometimes it’s a lightning strike. Sometimes it may be a serious illness. What lengths has God gone to just to get your attention?
And once God has our attention, isn’t it usually the case that, like Moses, we may have to leave the path we are on to figure out what God wants us to do? God’s path isn’t always the one we have marked out for ourselves, but it seems to me, once we start down God’s path, there isn’t any turning back. We may hit detours and obstacles along the way, but we can always work our way back to the path.
When God saw that Moses’ attention had been caught, God called out to Moses. And when Moses responded, God started talking and didn’t let up. As God spoke to Moses, God began with the proper approach toward holiness – Remove your sandals – you’re standing on holy ground. Now we don’t think about taking off our shoes when we go to church, but we do need to prepare our minds and hearts for any encounter with God. We need to prepare ourselves to be ready to face the miraculous and amazing. When it comes to having a direct encounter with God, we prepare ourselves as best we can, and expect to be amazed.
God continued with the identification of who was speaking, including a short history lesson “I am the God of your father and your ancestors – of Abraham, Isaac, & Jacob. This was enough to get Moses’ attention, and he hid his face so as to not look directly upon God. Nobody, but nobody feels worthy to look at God straight on.
And then God began to recount how God knew about all that the Hebrew people were going through. God told Moses, "I have observed the misery of my people who are in
God knew what was going on with the people. God wasn’t hiding out up in the clouds, oblivious to what was happening on earth. God was keeping track of every person and every encounter and every relationship and every prick and pain of every person.
And that’s still the way it is. Even today, God knows what we are going through. This isn’t just a story of people a long time ago. It’s our story, too.
Some of us may be in
Others may be wandering around in the wilderness. Not quite tormented as they have been in the past, yet not really having found the promised land either. Some may be looking backward over their shoulders thinking, “we had it so much better before….Why can’t we just go back? Others may be looking forward, thinking, “I know the promised land is just over the next rise…a few more steps, and we’ll be there!”
Some of us even hear the voice of God calling to us from a bush along the side of the road, and even though at times afraid to face it, are learning to turn toward it to say “Here I am."
And wherever we are in our journey of faith, God knows what we’re going through and promises to be with us on the way.
This scripture offers us God’s promise. It may be a little hard to weed out, but we find it in God’s words to Moses. When Moses asks God what he should tell the people…how will they know that God sent him? God tells him to say: , 'I AM has sent me to you. The LORD, the God of your ancestors, 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 my title for all generations.
Two simple words, I AM – the name of God. These words are a promise.
God’s name is I AM forever. First person, Present tense of TO BE. God - the first being and the last. A person in the man, Jesus Christ who suffered more than we can know or fathom, so much to die for our sins as a living and human sacrifice, and present always with us in the Holy Spirit. A wonderful promise for all times- always present tense: I am. Yesterday: I AM. Today: I AM. Tomorrow, and the next day, and the next – for all generations –present tense: I AM!
This is the God we worship. The great I AM. Yesterday, today, and tomorrow, the God of our parents, our ancestors, of Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob. The God of our journey from the land of suffering into the land of promise. The God who created us, who calls us into service, who knows our suffering, who walks beside us even now, and who leads us on to eternity. This is our God, and we Praise the great I AM for all time. Thanks and praise to God’s holy name!