Day 61: “Say this to the people of Israel: I AM has sent me”

grayscale photography of person holding stick
Photo by Ayu Shakya on Pexels.com

Read Exodus 3:11-4:9

11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”

12 And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.”

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?’ Then what shall I tell them?”

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

15 God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.’

“This is my name forever,
    the name you shall call me
    from generation to generation.

16 “Go, assemble the elders of Israel and say to them, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—appeared to me and said: I have watched over you and have seen what has been done to you in Egypt. 17 And I have promised to bring you up out of your misery in Egypt into the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites—a land flowing with milk and honey.’

18 “The elders of Israel will listen to you. Then you and the elders are to go to the king of Egypt and say to him, ‘The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us. Let us take a three-day journey into the wilderness to offer sacrifices to the Lord our God.’ 19 But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless a mighty hand compels him. 20 So I will stretch out my hand and strike the Egyptians with all the wonders that I will perform among them. After that, he will let you go.

21 “And I will make the Egyptians favorably disposed toward this people, so that when you leave you will not go empty-handed. 22 Every woman is to ask her neighbor and any woman living in her house for articles of silver and gold and for clothing, which you will put on your sons and daughters. And so you will plunder the Egyptians.”

4Moses answered, “What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you’?”

Then the Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?”

“A staff,” he replied.

The Lord said, “Throw it on the ground.”

Moses threw it on the ground and it became a snake, and he ran from it. Then the Lord said to him, “Reach out your hand and take it by the tail.” So Moses reached out and took hold of the snake and it turned back into a staff in his hand. “This,” said the Lord, “is so that they may believe that the Lord, the God of their fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has appeared to you.”

Then the Lord said, “Put your hand inside your cloak.” So Moses put his hand into his cloak, and when he took it out, the skin was leprous[d]—it had become as white as snow.

“Now put it back into your cloak,” he said. So Moses put his hand back into his cloak, and when he took it out, it was restored, like the rest of his flesh.

Then the Lord said, “If they do not believe you or pay attention to the first sign, they may believe the second. But if they do not believe these two signs or listen to you, take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground. The water you take from the river will become blood on the ground.”

Like it’s the easiest thing in the world.

‘Just turn your staff into a snake; or put skin disease somewhere; or, oh I dunno, turn water into blood.’ God is saying, ‘It’s not hard, Moses, to prove I’m with you. Just show them my power.’

Right.

All along, God is answering Moses’ initial question which, by the way, is an excellent question. “Who am I to appear before Pharaoh? Who am I to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt?”

Who is he, this misfit failure of a man? Who am I to dare write these words? Who are you to do … that – whatever it is? Why should any of us ever think we have anything to contribute to the Story God is writing?

It’s such a great question!

It’s great because it brings us to the answer we so desperately need, the answer that makes sense of everything, the answer that restores harmony to the Story. The answer is: “I will be with you.”

I will be with you.

God doesn’t give Moses a pep talk. He doesn’t try to build him up, ‘No really, Moses, you have all kinds of great qualities…’ pshaw. Moses does, in fact, have all kinds of great qualities which we’ll see as we read on, and he is uniquely qualified for this job, but God doesn’t mention any of that.

I will be with you.

It’s not about what you bring, Moses. It’s about Me.

This is so freeing.

If God had told Moses that he was qualified because of some particular reason, Moses might always be afraid of being dis-qualified by some new reason. So, God takes the pressure off.

It doesn’t matter, Moses, who you are. It doesn’t even matter who you might turn out to be.

I will be with you.

What can Moses say? Nothing. If God will be with him then all questions are answered, all objections satisfied.

Still. Moses really, really doesn’t want to do this thing. He will stand and argue more but he can’t win because God already has. He has chosen Moses. He has called him, and He will go with him.

At every point along the way, God will be available to him.

So don’t worry, Moses.

Just do miracles.

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