In our last study, we saw how the Lord came down in a theophany, a new and visible revelation of God as never seen before. He appeared in a burning bush that was not consumed. Who was in that bush?  The Lord who is also called the Angel of the Lord, a manifestation which greatly impacted Moses. Let us see what now happens once the Lord tells Moses to go, confront Pharaoh and bring the Jewish people to freedom. Here is where we encounter Moses’ four objections.

The first one is found in vs.11. This one is somehow justified. “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the sons of Israel out of Egypt?” This is a valid point made by a humble man. We learn from the book of Numbers (12:3) that Moses was more humble than any man who was on the face of the earth. Moses rightly senses the human impossibility of the task, for he was asked to go and confront the king of Egypt and free up some 3 million people who were slaves for centuries in that land. The words Who am I are therefore quite appropriate.

This is the same type of answer from many other men of the Bible who felt so overwhelmed with the task they faced. We especially remember Jeremiah who at first refused to go. We think of Paul, who saw himself as the lowest of the apostles, when given this equally grand task to perform.

How does the Lord respond? His answer is for all of us, and can be summed up by saying that it is not who you are, but Who you are with. Moses asked, “Who am I?” and the Lord is about to answer him, “I Am”.

This also sets a precedent for any work the Lord demands, which requires our full dependence on Him. There is too much opposition and too many spiritual hurdles to face in life, and our smooth sailing to heaven is not guaranteed. This Moses understood. He saw the great mission before him and tried very hard to get away from taking on this task; but God knew his heart and was not about to let go of Moses.

Moses then asked a second question, one which triggered so many comments throughout history.  In vs. 13 we read, “Behold, I am going to the sons of Israel, and I will say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you.’ Now they may say to me, ‘What is His name?’ What shall I say to them?”

Why is Moses asking God’s name when he and the children of Israel already knew His name. In fact, the Lord was known by many names before this. They knew Him as Elohim, Zebaoth, El-Shaddai, as God the Eternal, El-Olam, the God of Bethel, (Hebrew: Ha-El-Bethel). Jacob experienced the Lord as the Fear of Isaac, Pahad, Yitzhak. But they especially knew Him as Jehovah.

So, what does Moses mean when he asks, “What is Your Name”? He wanted to know how this new revelation of God, this never seen before manifestation of the Angel of the Lord, should be titled. This is part of God’s progressive self-revelation, leading us to the Messiah and a declaration of a compound unity within the very nature of God. Moses wants to know the name of God that he would share with his brethren, one that would more clearly describe this new manifestation before him.

We remember how the Angel of the Lord was heard calling from heaven, preventing Abraham from sacrificing His son Isaac. But now Moses sees Him, in a completely new and wonderful presence, and so he asks for a more detailed explanation of the Lord’s name.

At this point the Lord reveals more. We read one of the weightiest verses of the entire Bible right here in vs.14. God said to Moses, “I am Who I am (Hebrew: Ahyeh Asher Ahyeh). This name is both mysterious and puzzling. It is not really a name, but a gracious attempt to explain the nature of God for there is no name that can by itself, ever incorporate or include all Who God is. One cannot fit the whole universe, the billions of stars and galaxies into a bottle.

This is why we are given many names of God in the Bible. In the same way, the Bible also gives many names to Yeshua, and it also says that He has a name no one knows, for when we speak of God, we also speak of Yeshua. The Bible says that He has a name written on Him which no one knows except He Himself. (Revelation 19:12) Everyone knows the name of Jesus or Yeshua but who really knows Him? As it is for God, so it is with Yeshua for They are One who are infinite and eternal. Gathering the meaning of these words and the many interpretations given to these names throughout the centuries, one gets the sense of God being beyond and unaffected by time and eternity. This Name brings out God’s three attributes of omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence, all gathered in Him.

Let me read you some definitions of this mighty Name. Beginning with the most ancient commentaries on His name, the Targum of Neofiti translates verse 14 like this: The one who said and the world came into existence from the beginning. They explain these words as God being everlasting and independent of the creation which He created ex-nihilo. One rabbi, Saadia Gaon who lived in the early 900’s, wrote that it was to mean that He had not passed into existence and would not pass out of existence, for He is the first and the last. Others have described the name as I Am the Existing One, I Am who I will be, I will be with whom I will be, I aways Am. A modern commentator wrote: “I Am who and what, and where and when, and how and even why you will discover I Am”.


Click here for Exodus Sermon 4 : I Am Who I Am