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A Midweek Devotional - What's in a name?

I don’t know about you but I’ve been sensing my limitations lately. It’s nothing new really, other than the degree to which I am feeling it. My capabilities are limited. My time is limited. But the task before me seems to be unlimited. Again, I don’t know about you but when I feel these limitations, I want a plan. So did Moses. (Just to be clear I’m not comparing myself to Moses!) But God gave him something better.

Wednesday, May 20th

Larger Portion of Scripture - Exodus 3

Focused Passage for Reflection - Exodus 3:11-15

Reflecting on the Text:

Moses had been given a task. He was to lead God’s people out of the bondage of slavery in Egypt. He was to confront the most powerful leader in the world. He was to lead a people who did not know or respect him. Moses heard all of this and rightly questioned, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?”

I’m guessing that for Moses, wrapped up in the question of “Who am I” were several other questions about “How?!?” Maybe Moses wanted to know those things. Maybe he had already made up his mind that this whole adventure was folly and he was trying to back out. Maybe I’m just superimposing my own thoughts, but regardless of what Moses was looking for in his question, God gave him the answer he most needed.

God’s answer was, “I will be with you.” He didn’t give the details. He simply reassured of His presence. And then, after Moses cross-examined, asking how he should present God’s name, God answered in a way that spoke to His true identity. In verse 14 we read God’s somewhat confusing but beautiful answer. “God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM.’ And He said, ‘Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’’”

God reveals His name to Moses, and thus to Israel. It is the name by which He will be known among His covenant people: I AM. Maybe you recognize the Hebrew translation, Yahweh. Throughout most of the rest of our English Bibles, this name will be translated "the LORD" (in all caps). It is God’s name among His people, and it is a name ripe with meaning.

“I AM” speaks to God’s self-existence. He is not dependent upon another, either for His creation, or His needs. “I AM” speaks to His unchanging character. He does not change or adjust with the times. “I AM” speaks to the fact that He is eternally present. His name is not I WAS. It is not I WILL BE. His name is I AM!

When Moses was faced with an impossible task, the LORD did not give him all the details in the beginning. He simply, and powerfully, gave HIMSELF. And it was precisely what Moses and the people of Israel needed. They needed to know the God whom they were to serve. So do I, and so do we.

What does it tell you that our God is self-existent, unchanging, and eternally present? Does it give you a certain rootedness, knowing that the present and the future are not in doubt? Does that rootedness bring you a sense of empowering calmness, knowing that the God of our fathers, of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is the God who will see His purposes through in us regardless of the tasks or our limitations? I believe that was the message for Moses and I believe it is the message for us. And this message comes from God who is eternally present…the Great I AM!

Questions for personal reflection:

  • How much of your time studying the Bible is spent looking for “fill-in-the-blank / bullet-point” practical application plans for any given scenario?

  • What does it say to you that far more often, God reveals Himself?

  • How does it bring encouragement to you to know that regardless of the task before you, the Lord your God is eternally present with you?

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