Scripture: Exodus 3:1-15
Key Verse(s): But Moses said to God, “If I come 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 shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” He said further, “Thus you shall say to the Israelites, ‘I AM has sent me to you.'” (13-14)
Observation: Moses has lived an eventful life right from the beginning. Although a Hebrew, he has been raised as an Egyptian in the house of the Pharaoh who began the oppression of the Hebrews. Moses had to flee Egypt after he killed an Egyptian who was beating a Hebrew. He goes out an marries the daughter of a priest in Midian and works taking care of his father-in-laws flock. It is in the capacity of shepherding the flock that Moses encounters the burning bush that is not consumed. Captivated by the bush Moses is compelled to see what is going on. How can it be that this bush is on fire but yet is not altered in its state of being? Now that Moses is attentive, God speaks and calls Moses to go and free the Israelites. Moses makes a raises a couple of questions apparently apprehensive about going back to Egypt but God reassures him time and addresses everyone of Moses objections (4:1-17) so that Moses finally agrees to be obedient to the Lord.
Application: We may be tempted to get caught up in the miracle of the burning bush that is not consumed and forget to focus on God’s action in this passage. Moses asks for God’s name and the response is difficult to translate from the Hebrew to English. The usual translation, “I AM WHO I AM” is helpful but requires elaboration. We notice that the name God gives is a verb not a noun. God happens and continues to happen. God is active not static. God is continuous movement. God is making a way even when we do not see or understand what is going on. Just as Moses cannot figure out how the bush is on fire without being burned, we cannot understand God’s continual action in our lives to bring us freedom from sin and death. We do not see how in the midst of our suffering and pain we are not consumed because God happens, love happens, life happens. God calls us to obedience and trust so that we can see the deliverance and liberation that God makes happen.
Prayer: God we stand in awe of your power. We have many questions and sometimes refuse to hear your response. Forgive us and move us past our understanding so that we can trust you and take you at your word. In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.