Is God just a nice concept? Isn't it easier to just box Him up and limit Him into a nice, tame version of who He is? In our passage in Exo 3 today, we'll read of Moses' encounter with God and consider afresh who He is as He has revealed Himself to be.
(A) The God who is there: an eternal and faithful God who sees, hears, knows and remembers His people (Exo 3:6-7)
God introduces Himself to Moses as the "God of your father, God of Abraham, God of Isaac and God of Jacob" (Exo 3:6). What does this tell us about God? Why did He refer to Moses' ancestors? We see here the faithfulness of God and His unchanging nature. He is still the same God despite the different circumstances and times. God keeps His promises and remembers the covenant that He made with the fathers of Israel! This is the same God that we have! How do we know this? In Matt 22:32, Jesus also refers to Himself as the "God of the living". Does this challenge the way you think about God? This is a God who spans generations and has been there since before time began. This huge, eternal, cosmic God is the same personal God who speaks to us when we come to His word. This is a God who calls to us from a burning bush, and tells us that He is our God.
In Exo 3:7a, God also tells Moses that He is fully aware of the plight of the people. God has "seen", "heard", "know" and remembered that they are His people. God, being God, really doesn't need to do this. He doesn’t need us to praise Him or serve Him. Here, He takes the initiative and does all these. This is your God too! He knows, sees, remembers who you are, and He calls you to Him. Turn to Him and tune your heart to hear Him if He is your God. If you do not know Him, may Exo 3 be a
burning bush for you, as He calls you now.
It is no surprise that Moses reacted the way he did in Exo 3:gb. When Moses met God, he hid his face for he was afraid. He was fully aware that he is unworthy to stand before this God who is holy and clean. This reminds us that our understanding of the Gospel and how we react to it begins with our understanding of God.
(B) The God who acts: He condescends, delivers, restores, and sends (Exo 3: 8-10)
From Exo 3:8-10, God describes a series of actions that He will do. God will come down and deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians (Exo 3:8). God will also bring them up. What does this tell us about God? God is acting and active. He is also a God who condescends to earth, from His infinite place without boundaries. This God delivers people that are helpless as slaves who cannot do anything on their own, and promises to provide a land as He has promised. He makes something beautiful out of this terrible situation, and He promises a beautiful restoration.
But, God also chose to send Moses and act through him (Exo 3:9-10)! Note the
parallels because God sends Moses to “come” and “bring” the people. Let's also remember who Moses is! Moses was a murderer and by now is 80 years old. There was a 40 year wait between the end of chapter 2 and this encounter. We see here that God uses broken, sinful people to accomplish His purposes in His own time.
What kind of a picture is this, or rather, whom is this a picture of? The story of Exodus is not about the plagues or deliverance or hard hearts. More than that, the heart of Exodus is a story of how an almighty God condescended and remembered His promise to Abraham and He cared and came down to deliver them. In Phil 2:6-9, we read of Jesus Christ. The God of the Bible, the God of creation and Exodus sent His Son to come down and deliver us from our sin and slavery and promises to bring us to Him, to a land of flourishing. Don’t outgrow your wonder of this God who acts!
(C) The God who has a name: I AM WHO I AM (Exo 3:11-15)
Exo 3:11-15 records for us a series of exchanges between Moses and God. Moses, upon hearing the thing he had to do, asked "Who am I..." (Exo 3:11). Moses focuses on himself even though God just came down in the form of a burning bush that is not consumed. We always tend to make things about us. God replies with an assurance of His presence (“But I will be with you”) and also provides a sign (“and this shall be the sign for you”) (Exo 3:12). God assures Moses of His presence and also He is so confident that things will be done that in the future Moses will be back here.
But Moses follows up with more questions. God gave Moses an assurance and a sign, but Moses didn't really want that sign and what God says. Moses asked about a potential problem in Exo 3:13-- what if the people asked for the name of God? At this point, Moses doesn’t entirely see God as his God as Moses doesn’t really know Him. Moses wondered how he could respond if such a situation arose. In response,
God offers His covenantal name, the "I AM", which is also repeated many times in te verses. The point is that it is really not about Moses but it is about God who will act through him. God gives His name as an assurance. God's name is a name that has power, standing and worth and we can hide behind it. This name given to Moses is the name of the God of his forefathers! This was God’s promise to him, and also to us. He will deliver His people and He has condescended to accomplish this. He will restore us because He is a God who hears, sees, and acts. Do you know this God? Does this God mean anything to you?