Friday, March 13, 2009

Who am I?

We have been studying Exodus on Sunday nights at church, and this Sunday, I received a new picture of Moses’ dialogue with God in Exodus 3. The background is that God’s chosen people, the Israelites, have been in Egyptian bondage. God had previously made a covenant with Abraham in Genesis 12 that He would make his people a great nation, and will bless them, making them abundant and famous, so that they could be a blessing for the nations. This covenant from the Lord was HUGE. God had just promised His favor over the house of Israel. Fast forward several generations, and you come to Moses, who finds himself and his people (God’s chosen) in bondage to the Egyptians. They were enslaved and oppressed. This did not seem like the inheritance that was the covenant promise of their God.
Moses had quite the illustrious history. As an infant, set adrift in a homemade boat in the Nile River by his mother and sister Miriam, he found himself in the lap of luxury in Pharaoh’s temple. What are the odds? Only God could do such a miracle! God had an enormous plan for Moses’ life.
God had not forgotten His promise to His people. He knew who He would use to accomplish His promise. He knew also that He chooses the weakest of the weak to carry out His purposes. Moses became a murderer and a fugitive. This man had a rage issue. He was running from the death penalty and went to Midian to care for his father-in-law’s flocks in the back side of the desert. It was in this desert that He saw the Lord. Abraham saw the Lord in His glory. Ezekiel, Daniel, Isaiah, and John also saw the Lord in His glory. Responses were very similar. There was a common occurrence of hiding faces, falling to the ground, saying things such as, “woe is me.” In the presence of the Lord, in the light of His glory, we get a good glimpse of our own pitiful, fallen, guilty state.
Moses responds to the Lord’s appeals from the burning bush in a way that I find myself responding to God’s callings on my life. God is revealing Himself. It is obviously all about Him. Even the ground is so holy that Moses cannot keep his sandals on his feet. God identifies Himself. It is a pretty magnificent introduction, if the display of the burning bush is not sufficient to bring Moses to a place of awe and wonder. God says, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” God makes a list of “I have’s”. He has seen His peoples’ affliction. He has heard their cry. He knows their sorrows. He has come down to deliver them. He has come to take them to a place of freedom and abundance. Now He gives an “I will.” He will send Moses the Pharaoh. Moses does something that I often find myself doing. How can Moses, in this glorious display, turn the discussion back on himself? God is HUGE, burning, omniscient, and covenant-keeping, and Moses says, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”
Does Moses really think that he is going to be doing the delivering? Who are you, Moses? You are simply the instrument, the vessel. You can be nothing naturally, but when you are used in God’s great power, you are made in Him sufficient for whatever purpose God has intended. God says, “I will surely be with you.” He does not respond the way Moses wants. He doesn’t even really answer Moses’ question of “who am I?” God gives a better answer. He answers with who He is, and where He will be. God is the I AM, who was, and will be. Moses has got it all wrong. I often have it all wrong. It is not about my talent, ability, or self-sufficiency. God uses the stuttering, fumbling, foolish, outcasts, and fugitives of society to accomplish His God-sized purposes. Then all will see that only God could have accomplished the works displayed in our lives.

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