Summary: What does God mean when He calls Himself, “I AM?”
I don’t know if you’ve heard about the time that President Bush and Vice-President Cheney were walking through an airport when they saw someone who looked just like Moses. President Bush walked up to him and said, “Excuse me, sir, but are you Moses?” The man didn’t respond, just stared off into space. The President asked him again, “Excuse me, but are you Moses?” And again, the man said nothing, just stared off into space. Finally, Vice-President Cheney walked up to him and said, “Excuse me, but the President asked you if you are Moses. Are you?” The man looked at Cheney and said, “Yes, I am.” Frustrated, the Vice-President said, “Well, why didn’t you answer President Bush when He asked you?” Moses said, “Hey, give me a break- the last time I talked with a bush, I was stuck in the dessert for 40 years!”
Turn with me, if you would, to the second book of the Bible, Exodus. In God’s Word we read of several ways that the Lord chose to speak to people. In speaking to many of the prophets He chose to work through visions. In speaking to Balaam He used a donkey. And here in Exodus 3 He chose to speak to Moses through a bush. It’s quite an interesting story and I want us to read part of it together this morning. Ex. 3:1-15… pg. 45.
Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb. And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I. And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God. And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows; And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites. Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me: and I have also seen the oppression wherewith the Egyptians oppress them. Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt. And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt? And he said, Certainly I will be with thee; and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee: When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain. And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.
This is quite an amazing story that we’ve read here in Exodus 3, isn’t it? We read of Moses, a man who had been raised in the finest palaces of Egypt; who had eaten the best foods and attended the best schools; but who had fled Egypt when he learned that the Pharaoh was seeking his head because he had killed an Egyptian. And now Moses is an inhabitant of Midian. He has married a woman named Zipporah, they have had a son, and he has been working for his father-in-law tending sheep for the past forty years.