Moses first 2 objections speak volumes to where he was at this stage of his life. He is about 80 years old. He has lived 2 very different lives, in Egypt and in Midian. He has been adopted into a new family twice. But, truly he has no idea who he is and he also doesn’t know God.
But neither of those matter for God to call Moses to this assignment to go and bring out. Even though Moses doesn’t know who Moses is, God does. God knows not only the man he is today, but the prophet he will become. God knows his strengths and weaknesses and that none of those matter. We particularly see this in the way God answers Moses’ first question about himself. He answers it by not answering it. Who Moses is makes absolutely no difference. It is irrelevant. All that matters is that God is with him.
God knows that over time Moses will grow to rely on God’s strength which has no weakness. And even though Moses does not yet know God, God knows that he will. As Moses stands and teaches others about God and tells them the word of God and as he walks with God every day, that knowledge will come.
The name that God gives Moses in this introduction is deep and profound. Ehyeh-Asher-Ehyeh in Hebrew. Translators struggle to write this in English. English is a language with 3 primary tenses, past, present and future. Everything we say and write falls into one of those tenses. I did. I am doing. I will do. But Hebrew isn’t constrained by the same tenses. In Hebrew the 2 primary tenses are perfect and imperfect. Basically these translate into finished or completed and in progress or ongoing. I use the analogy of the book is open and the story continues or it is closed and the story is ended to explain imperfect and perfect. This statement, this name of God, is in the imperfect. In this case it simultaneously says I was, I am, I will be, I have been and I continue to be. In other words, God, in this name, introduces himself as I have existed, I do exist and I will exist all at the same time.
Isn’t this what all people who first are introduced to God question and want answered? Is God real? Does God really exist? We inherently recognize that most of the gods people spend their times worshiping by their actions and hearts are not real, they don’t exist. But when we encounter God, we recognize something is different.
God answers this question by Moses with simple but profound clarity – I exist, I am real.
In Hebrew the names of God do not contain vowels, e.g., YHWH. So this name of God is Ehyeh, or HYH, which is also pronounced Hi-Yah. It made me chuckle to think of what a major Hiyah kick Moses received on this day in this encounter with God!
1. Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh?
2. Suppose I go to the Israelites and… they ask me, “what is his name?” Then what shall I thell them?
v12. I will be with you, this will be a sign – return and worship God on this mountain
v. 14-22 I am who I am, I am has sent me to you, Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob sent me, then assemble the elders and lay out the entire plan
The second is powerful because it demonstrate God’s omniscience, but the more encouraging to me is the fact that God is with me and that the best and greatest sign is that through any mission or trial I will return to a place to worship Him.
One in Hebrew the other in Greek. One is voice of God in spirit in a burning bush saying Ehyeh-Asher-Ehyeh, the other is Jesus saying of himself, ego eimi. Both translate into the same name of God: I Am.
Jesus is and always has been God. John 1:3 – Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.