Chapter 3 of Exodus is full of epic Bible moments! For some brief context, the Israelites are currently enslaved in Egypt, and Moses (an Israelite raised by a princess of Egypt) has grown up and seen the harsh conditions of his people. He takes it up with the Pharaoh, and it goes poorly, so Moses flees to Midian to live with relatives. Years pass, and Moses is a shepherd tending his sheep near Mount Sinai. He sees a bush catch fire, but it is not being burned up, and then He hears the voice of the Lord call his name. This tells us three things about God right off the bat-- that he can perform miracles, He knows us by name, and He desires to speak to us.
Moses responds, and he is first instructed to "take of [his] sandals, for [he] is standing on Holy Ground." Here, God is calling Moses to reverence of who God is and recognition of what He is doing. God then says that He has seen His people's oppression and heard their cries, and He has come to rescue his people from slavery and lead them a Promised Land, "a land flowing with milk and honey." Again, God reveals aspects of His character to us. Though He is the God of the universe, He not only hears His people but he also chooses to respond. He acts. But He doesn't simply stop at the act of removing people from bondage. He frees them, and he takes it one step further: He brings them into abundance.
Anything would have been better than living in slavery for the Israelites, but God tells them their Promised Land isn't just fine-- it is a land full of excess, "flowing with milk and honey." God then surprises Moses in the midst of His grand promise-- that Moses is going to be a part of the plan. He will be the one to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. And Moses gives a very normal response: "But who am I to do this?" Again, God reveals who He is. Literally. He doesn't just say that Moses will be fine and that he's got everything He needs to do this on his own, but God responds that He will be with Moses throughout all of it.
The thing God is calling Moses to isn't something that can be done on his own. Instead, Moses must rely on God to be with him the whole time. Here God reveals His name to Moses (for the first time recorded in the Bible): "Yahweh." Translated to "Jehovah" and "I Am." He identifies Himself as THE LORD of the Universe and of us.
All of these different characteristics that God reveals about Himself to Moses through the burning bush, the promised exodus of His people, and His name are so important to us. Because God is steadfast and faithful, His character doesn't change. He is the same God now that He was to Moses and the Israelites. He performed miracles then, and He performs them now. He knew His people's names and He spoke to them, and He calls us by name and speaks to us here today. He heard the people's cries, and He hears our prayers and petitions. He wants to act, to intervene, to take us from bondage, to freedom, to abundance. He isn't satisfied until we are set free. He moves in our lives, and He also calls us to move. He is powerful enough to do it all on His own, but He is kind enough to let us join in His plans because He simply wants to be with us. And because His power is perfected in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9), it's okay if we ask, "Who am I to do what you're calling me to?" He isn't afraid of our doubts or insecurities or fears. Because Yahweh is with us the whole time, when God calls us to something, we can say yes--not because of our strength or abilities, but because of His.
God is calling us to take Him at His word and believe He is who He says He is. As you read this passage, ask yourself which aspects of God are easy to believe, and which aren't. Ask God to reveal to you the parts of His character that you have trouble believing. Next, spend some time praying about the things God is calling you to. He calls us to things every day-- the big things and the small things. Surrender those over to Him, and begin looking for "I AM" in them. In the places you may be insufficient, where is God's sufficiency coming through? Begin to believe that He is the one that makes you capable.
God, we thank you for who you are, and that we don't have to worry about that changing. Thank you for your faithfulness, for refusing to settle for leaving us in bondage, but that freedom and abundance are promises we can hold you to. God, we ask you for miracles. To hear your voice. To feel your presence, and bow in reverence on the Holy Ground you have given us. Give us faith to believe in who you say your are, and courage to step into our callings in the midst of our doubts and fears. Amen.
Author | Erin Gilleland