Summary: God’s pressence is the answer to our identity in the New Year
Who are you in the New Year? New Years 2006
The Children stayed in the service, so I began the sermon by reading "You Are Special" by Max Lucado to the children
The Story – Joseph has brought his family into Egypt, they are given the Land of Goshen to raise their sheep and to live. The Family of Israel grows and becomes the people of Israel. A Pharaoh comes to the throne who does not know Joseph, he become afraid of the Israelites, so he enslaves them. Moses is born into this slavery, but he is raised in Pharaoh’s house. He has to flee Egypt because of a murder and he ends up shepherding sheep out in the wilderness.
When God tells Moses that he will free the Israelites, he asks a very Canadian question, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”
Have you ever asked that question when you have felt the call to do something big? “Who am I to speak up, or do this, or make a change?”
It’s a pretty common question, and if we don’t ask it, others might: “who do you think you are to speak up, or question the status quo, or make a change?”
God doesn’t say to Moses, “ah, you’re alright, you were raised in Pharaoh’s house, you know the ins and outs, you’ll know what to say, you’ll do just fine.”
He says, “I will be with you.”
There are times when I pick my kids up from school and they want to have a friend back to the house to play, so I say, “sure, you go ask their mom.” That is often a little to daunting for them, so I say, sure you can do it, you know their mom, she’s right over there, you can do it, just ask her.” My encouragements don’t usually work until I say, I’ll go with you – then they have the ability to do it.
When God calls us to do tasks that seem greater than ourselves, he doesn’t remind us of our abilities, he says, I’ll go with you.
Moses learns the same lesson that Punchenello learns – that if we gain our self understanding and our self-worth by how other people see us and judge us, our ego will be up one minute, down the next and up again, down again…
They said I’m a goiod preacher, they said nothing, they said I’m a good preacher, they said nothing…
But if we gain our self-understanding, our self-worth and our power to accomplish our calling through the presence of God in our lives. We remain stable – we always know that he is our righteous judge who loves us as his children.
Paul says: “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13
Even when we go through difficult things, God’s promise is that he will go with us
Israel’s Only Savior
1 But now, this is what the LORD says—
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
"Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
2 When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
3 For I am the LORD, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
Moses asks “who am I?” and God replies “I will be with you.” So Moses says, “great, who are you?”
And here we have that great response that God gives: “I AM WHO I AM” and if you follow the little footnote down in your Bibles, it could also be translated “I WILL BE WHAT I WILL BE.”
I told you a few months ago that I was listening to a recording of this radio show hosted by Steve Bell. The radio show was called “Can God be trusted?” One of the people Steve interviews is a Presbyterian minister named Chris Vais. Ad Chris reflects on this great passage of God’s name and he says that a Jewish theologian named Martin Buber has said that a better translation of this name is “I SHALL BE THERE.”
While the name, I AM WHO I AM is very esoteric, mysterious and self-defining, (a name Renee Descartes would have loved), it is also cold and distant, where as the name “I Shall Be There” grabs on to the innate relational nature of God. It is part of his very nature is to be present with us.
Moses asks “who am I?” and God says I will go with you, he asks “who are you?” and God says “I will be there.”