God gives Moses signs that it’s time for his destiny to actually happen. Finally! But Moses has waited so long and is still convinced he isn’t worth the bother. He needed more reassurance. I understand. God had been healing my battered heart, but I still didn’t have much confidence in God. I believed He was good. But not to me; my chance was blown. I really didn’t know Him at all. My view of God was skewed, seen only through very cloudy filters of my past. Moses and I needed to realize more and more who God really is to have confidence enough to move forward.

As part of reassuring Moses, God introduces Himself and then clarifies another facet of His incredible identity. How might this change Moses’ view of God and of himself? How might it change the view of God and us? It is helpful to begin by thinking about what is valid about Moses’ doubts.

Moses has legitimate concerns

Moses has legitimate concerns; he simply doesn’t realize God is bigger than his concerns. What concerns cause his fear?

First, he was going back to a people whose ancestors had seen his temper flare as he murdered an Egyptian for beating a Hebrew. (Exodus 2:11-14) He would have to persuade them to trust him as their leader.

Second, he would have to inspire them to make a major change. Since Joseph’s death and the arrival of a new Pharaoh, Israel had been slaves. Generations of slavery make it challenging to sustain faith in a promise! It’s a long time to remember you are chosen people, that God has a future plan for you. Far easier to sink in hopelessness. Much harder to persuade.

And they did. They began to believe this hopeless slave life was their best option, their only option! Hopelessness and worthlessness had become their identity. They now believed they were simply worthless slaves, even though they were Abraham’s descendants, and knew all the stories and the promise! Hard to imagine they could lose sight of it, isn’t it? Not really. Battered wives or victims of sex-trafficking know a lot about hopelessness. They feel locked in with no way out, certain that is the absolute truth. Those long without a job, still seeking, struggle to remain hopeful. Anyone suffering a traumatic loss wrestles with why and wonders if the future is worthwhile. Not so different from Israelites’ thinking, then.

They needed to believe God was enough to get them out of Egypt and to some promised land through a terrifying wilderness. Even more, they needed to believe God still had that future for them, the future He had declared to Abram. They would be blessed and be a blessing, a people whose name was famous and distinguished. (Genesis 12:2-3) Kings would come from their lineage and they would possess this new land. (Genesis 17:3-6) No wonder Moses thought it was a tall order. God needed to help him out some more.

He gives the same help and encouragement to us.

I AM that I AM

7 And the Lord said, I have surely seen the affliction of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters and oppressors; for I know their sorrows and sufferings and trials. 8 And I have come down to deliver them out of the hand and power of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land to a land good and large, a land flowing with milk and honey [a land of plenty]—to the place of the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite. 9 Now behold, the cry of the Israelites has come to Me, and I have also seen how the Egyptians oppress them.

11 And Moses said to God, Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt? 12 God said, I will surely be with you. Exodus 3:7-9, 11-12a (AMP)

Who am I, God? God answered his question with His name. A name powerful enough to go with him in success. But the name He uses seems hard to understand. He told Moses to tell them I AM sent him. (Exodus 3:14) Huh? What about that name would give assurance to Israelites and give them the confidence to begin believing something different just might happen? I AM is the word haya[1] and means “to exist or to become.” It describes something that comes into being. Hmmm. How might this help us keep trusting when we can’t see the promise?

First, how does that “to exist” definition apply to God? Believing gods exist has never really been the issue for any group of people. Deep down, we are all looking for something to believe in. In that culture, gods were a dime a dozen. Even the devil himself believes in God, although it scares the daylights out of him. (James 2:19) So what does I AM have to do with anything? How would knowing “God exists” empower them to change their label and leave? People stuck in hopelessness see no way out. No matter what they have, they define it as lack.

God has seen their depression and misery; heard their cries for help. He knows their suffering and trials. Knows in a relational sense. I believe God is with us in our suffering, experiencing it with us and knowing just the right time to change things. Who is I AM for us? I AM all you need to rescue you, to end your slavery.

God’s rescue mission would be over the top in demonstrating His might, power and ability to keep them safe from any consequences Pharaoh might want to inflict on them. The Bible doesn’t tell us about their finances then except that during the plagues, God made a distinction between the property of the Egyptians and that of the Israelites. (Exodus 8:22; 9:4; 10:23 and 11:7) Before they left, God made sure the Egyptian people handed over gold, silver, and fine clothing, further plundering Egypt. Imagine slaves demanding this from their masters! (Exodus 3:21-22) In the wilderness God provided over and over for them with quail, manna and water. Shoes did not wear out. (Deuteronomy 8:4) No small feat to provide for all the people and livestock in that terrifying wilderness. (Deuteronomy 8:15) God would have to show them again and again how much He cared about them and would provide for them. Just as He was for them, He is enough for us in a hard journey toward the promise. I AM all you need in your wilderness journey to fulfill My promise for you.

God was not limited to their definition of a future, or their idea of any sort of victory. He wasn’t deterred by their lack of confidence in Him. He didn’t see them as stuck slaves. So He told Moses to tell them I AM sent you. I AM has seen all you’ve been going through and I AM is going to rescue you.

But Moses was still apprehensive.

I AM is LORD, not Lord

Pharoah’s response to God’s instructions through Moses was to take away the straw and enforce the brick quotas even more harshly. Moses, wavering in confidence, went back to God, saying something like, “Are you sure? Tell me again why you sent me?” This time God defines His name a little more and asserts that this deliverance will be amazing. God reveals a Name to His people for the first time. He has always had this name; they just didn’t know about it. His name is LORD. And LORD, not Lord, is the One who brings us into our future as well.

1 THEN THE Lord said to Moses, Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh; for [compelled] by a strong hand he will [not only] let them go, but he will drive them out of his land with a strong hand. 2 And God said to Moses, I am the Lord. 3 I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob as God Almighty [El-Shaddai], but by My name the Lord [Yahweh—the redemptive name of God] I did not make Myself known to them [in acts and great miracles]. 4 I have also established My covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their temporary residence in which they were strangers. Exodus 6:1-4 (AMP)

LORD doesn’t clarify much for us today. Not all Bible translations distinguish between Lord and LORD, but they are two distinct names. We think of both more like Master and see ourselves as the servants who need to obey. Granted, we are better off if we obey, but that is not what LORD means at all. It is YHWH[2] or Yahweh (Jehovah), derived from haya and meaning the “Self-Existent One.” But what’s in this name for us?

Yahweh means “to become.” That’s who I AM is, One who is about becoming. What a minute. What will God become? Isn’t He already all of Who He is? He said He doesn’t change. So who becomes? We do! We become what He created us to be! As Sandie Freed says, He is the God of our future![3] The LORD is declaring Himself to be One who is capable of bring about the future He sees. God reminded Moses that He had established a covenant promise with them, and God never alters or violates His covenant. (Psalm 89:34)

Yahweh or Jehovah is part of some of the names of God. A study of those particular names begins to tell us what He has done in redemption (what He does in making all our messes right again) and begins to show us our future as a generalized action plan that reveals our purpose. Now that makes leaving my “Egypt” worth the trip! I can begin to believe it just may be possible. His plan is not for us to stay stuck in our past. Yahweh will surely bring about our future because Christ has secured the new covenant for us. (Hebrews chapters 8-12 explain)

Pause and Ponder

What difference would it make for you to realize God doesn’t see you stuck where you are, that He is the God of your future? How might your journey change and be different? Have you ever wondered what it looks like from God’s perspective? The God who never changes is as capable of securing your future as He was that of Moses and the Israelites. Ponder that amazing thought and get ready to leave your Egypt! “Though your beginning was insignificant, Yet your end [your future] will increase greatly.” Job 8:7 (NASB) [definition added by Carol]

 

Carol Boggess, author and speaker at A Healing Journey

Carol Boggess © 2021

Rivers – A Journey of Restoration From Broken to Breakthrough and God Sees Broken Hearts

https://carolboggess.com

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[1] Strong, James. Strong’s Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary. Austin, TX: WORDsearch Corp., 2007. WORDsearch CROSS e-book. Hebrew 1961.

[2] Strong, James. Strong’s Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary. Austin, TX: WORDsearch Corp., 2007. WORDsearch CROSS e-book. Hebrew 3068.

[3] Freed, Sandie. Strategies From Heaven’s Throne. Grand Rapids, MI: Chosen Books of Baker Publishing Group, 2007. 41 and 115.