When the Lord—from a burning bush—called Moses to be His prophet, the sheepherder initially resisted the call. Moses came up with a variety of excuses—the first of which shows that his perspective was completely out of whack. When God told Moses to go and speak divine words to Pharaoh, Moses answered, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the sons of Israel out of Egypt?” (Exodus 3:11). Notice the focus of Moses’s comments—he was worried about his own abilities to accomplish the work of God.
However, rather than let Moses flail in misunderstanding, God immediately offered him even greater revelation, telling Moses, “I AM WHO I AM” is sending you (3:14). This phrase, “I AM,” has often confused readers, but its meaning was especially instructive to Moses in this context. Moses had only been thinking of himself while God laid out the mission. By identifying Himself as “I AM,” God made clear His existence in the world and, even more, His presence in these particular circumstances of Moses. This name for God is a declaration that He exists and is present and working in the world—a truth that would serve as a great comfort to Moses as he stood before an antagonistic Pharaoh time and again.
John Adair received his master of theology degree from Dallas Theological Seminary, where he also completed his Ph.D. in Historical Theology. He served for seven years as a writer in the Creative Ministries Department of Insight for Living Ministries. John and his wife, Laura, have three children.
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