Exodus 3:1-14 (NIV)

1 Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro1 his father-in-law, the priest of Midian,2 and he led the flock to the far side of the desert and came to Horeb,3 the mountain4 of God. 2 There the angel of the LORD 5 appeared to him in flames of fire6 from within a bush.7 Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. 3 So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight–why the bush does not burn up.” 4 When the LORD saw that he had gone over to look, God called8 to him from within the bush,9 “Moses! Moses!” And Moses said, “Here I am.”10 5 “Do not come any closer,”11 God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.”12  6 Then he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.”13 At this, Moses hid14 his face, because he was afraid to look at God.15  7 The LORD said, “I have indeed seen16 the misery17 of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned18 about their suffering.19  8 So I have come down20 to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land,21 a land flowing with milk and honey22–the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites23 and Jebusites.24  9 And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing25 them.  10 So now, go. I am sending26 you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”27  11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I,28 that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”  12 And God said, “I will be with you.29 And this will be the sign30 to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, youa will worship God on this mountain.31”  13 Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’32 Then what shall I tell them?” 14 God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.b This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM33 has sent me to you.’                              

Exodus 3:14 (NIV)

14 God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.a This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM1 has sent me to you.’ ”                            

DEVOTION -Sungho Lee (California)

in the Hebrew Bible, names represent hopes, dreams, and the characteristics of persons.  For example, Jacob, after wrestling with an angel was given a new name, Israel which means “the one who struggled with God.”  Knowing the name of a person can give insight into the origin, nature, and the dreams of the person and his or her family.

That’s why Moses asked God this question:  What is your name?  Knowing God’s name could tell us many things about God!

God said. “I AM WHO I AM!” In some translations, God said, “I shall be who I shall be.”  Both translations are possible because the Hebrews grammar allows for both (“to be” or “to become”).  When God says “I AM WHO I AM,” God is actually refusing to be defined by one word.  God is saying, “I am free.  I am not defined.  I am the Creator, not the created.”  When God said, “I shall be who I shall be,” God was saying, “I am the one who causes things to be.”  I am the Creator of history.

Though we may desire to define God more narrowly, knowing that God is “I AM WHO I AM” can give us more confidence in God.  God is free, undefined, and is present in all aspects of our lives.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: How do my names for God limit my faith?

PRAYER: Dear God, thank you for the gift of creation and the limitless gift of your presence with us.  Amen.