The God who IS

2019-03-24 – Year C – Lent 3 – The Rev. Christopher M. Klukas

Exodus 3:1-15; Psalm 103:1-12; 1 Corinthians 10:1-13; Luke 13:1-17

A Promise Fulfilled

  • A burning bush, a shepherd, a call, and the Name of God. This is certainly one of the most important passages in the Old Testament.
  • This passage from Exodus is the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abram from last week. Genesis 15:13-16.
    • Now it is roughly 400 years later and God is preparing to deliver his people.
  • Moses himself was a survivor of the suffering of God’s people.
    • He was supposed to be killed, according to the command of Pharaoh, but was instead miraculously adopted into Pharaoh’s own household.
    • When he grew up, he killed an Egyptian out of zeal to defend a fellow Israelite, and he fled the country.
    • He was now living as a Shepherd, apart from his people, and apart from the luxurious lifestyle in which he had grown up.
  • He must have felt somewhat dejected, and maybe a bit depressed.

Who Am I?

  • All of this is important in understanding why Moses responds to God’s good news in the way he does.
    • God is telling Moses that the long-awaited deliverance of his people is now here, and Moses is to be the agent of this change. Moses responds: “Who am I…” Exodus 3:11.
    • Have you ever felt this way when faced with God’s calling? Why would God choose me to do this? What can I accomplish?
      • Maybe a project at work, or raising your children, or some form of public speaking, or a person God wants you to reach with the Gospel.
  • “But I will be with you…” Exodus 3:12
    • This is a promise that God repeats 9 times throughout the Old Testament in various circumstances and periods of Israel’s history.
      • In the NT, Jesus actually takes on flesh to be with us
      • When Jesus ascends into heaven, he sends the Holy Spirit to be with us. (John 14:16).
    • No matter where you go, God is right there with you.
    • No matter how difficult your circumstances, God is always ready to lend his strength and support you.
    • Things always go wrong when we think that the outcome ultimately depends on us. This doesn’t mean we have no responsibility, but our responsibility is delegated and accomplished in God’s strength. Ultimately it is his responsibility.
  • “Self-distrust is good, but only if it leads to trust in God. Otherwise it ends as spiritual paralysis, inability and unwillingness to undertake any course of action…After this Moses has no right to protest further. It is now no longer lack of self-reliance (which is good), but lack of faith (which is sin).”

I AM

  • Moses now turns his attention from who he is to who God is.
  • “What is his name?” v. 13.
    • “I am the God of your Father…” v. 6. This answer, previously given was enough to identify God, so why ask this question?
    • This is a question of Authority and power.
    • In other words, “it is nice that you want to save my people, but how can I know that you will come through? How will they know?”
    • In times before this, when God revealed himself, he often revealed a new title for himself at the same time, characterizing what he was about to do.
      • Elohim (God), El Elyon (The Most High God), El Olam (The Everlasting God), El Shaddai (Lord God Almighty)
      • These are all titles for God more than names for God.
      • Exodus 6:2-3 “…by my name the LORD I did not make myself known…”
      • Do you remember when you first realized that your mother or father had an actual name?
  • “I AM WHO I AM” v. 14
    • This is a special name, a holy name. Exodus 3:15 “This is my name forever…”
      • This name is treated in a special way. The third commandment prohibits taking the Lord’s name in vain (lit. “YHWH your God”, Exodus 20:7).
        • Adonai (Lord, Master)
        • YHWH
        • Jehovah
        • The LORD
    • God’s name is a statement of being.
    • This is not a God of the past, nor a God of the future, this is God who is, who always is, who is always present.”I will be with you…” v. 12.
  • Don’t take the Lord’s name in vain, but also, don’t be afraid to call upon YHWH. The God of our fathers, the God who provides, the God who heals, God Almighty.
    • Regardless of what you are struggling with, or the overwhelming obstacles he is calling you to overcome, remember…
    • He is mighty to save, he alone has the strength to deliver you, and he will be with you, forever.

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