Exodus 3:1-15 Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his
father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the
far side of the desert and came to Horeb, the mountain of God.
2 There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire
from within a bush. 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 called
to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!” And Moses
said, “Here I am.” 5 “Do not come any closer,” God said.
“Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing
is holy ground.” 6 Then he said, “I am the God of your father,
the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.”
At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at
God. 7 The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my
people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their
slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. 8 So I
have come down to rescue them from the hand of the
Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good
and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the
home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites
and Jebusites. 9 And now the cry of the Israelites has reached
me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing
them. 10 So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my
people the Israelites out of Egypt.” 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 by which I am to be remembered from generation to
In the name of Jesus Christ, who remains with us to provide for
us physically, spiritually and eternally, dear Christian friends,
This past summer my wife and I and three of our sons drove out
to the state of Washington to see one of our daughters be installed as a
teacher. The first night we stayed in a sketchy-looking hotel in Fargo,
North Dakota. We grabbed our things from the car and quickly made it
to our less-than-clean room and immediately locked the door behind us
in order to feel safe. We talked about the unsightly parking lot, the
under-construction lobby and the filthy carpet in the hallways, but
figured we were safe and could handle one short night there. When it
was time to get something to eat, my son pulled on the door and found
out it wouldn’t fully close so the lock was useless. We thought we were
safe behind that locked door, but it was a false sense of security.
Was there an armed security officer from the hotel to keep us
safe? Was there a guard dog somewhere nearby we could count on?
No, but our false security was crushed by the faithful presence of a
heavy piece of hotel furniture pushed up against the door!
People often put their trust in someone or something to keep
them safe, but find out later it was a false sense of security. Today’s
second reading recorded that the Israelites relied on their status as God’s
people and thought they could become idolaters, adulterers, testers of
the LORD and grumblers against the LORD and all would be just fine.
But God saw it differently and acted decisively.
Today we look at something similar in the life of Moses, as well
as in our own lives, and learn that FALSE SECURITY IS CRUSHED BY
FAITHFUL PRESENCE! Along with Moses, I. We say, “Who am I?”
and II. The LORD says, “I AM WHO I AM!”.
Before Moses received this special call from God to be leader
of Israel, he had shown his false sense of security. He, an Israelite, had
grown up in Pharaoh’s palace in the lap of luxury and probably figured
he was free to do whatever he wanted. One day, he saw an Egyptian
beating an Israelite and, in order to defend his own, Moses killed the
Egyptian. Once the Egyptian Pharaoh found out, he tried to kill Moses,
but Moses fled and spent forty years as a shepherd.
My, how things had changed! A haven in a palace was now
replaced by a home on the plain. A life of having everything taken care
of for him was now replaced by a life of having to take care of
everything for himself. Now, Moses was more reserved and ready to
rely on someone else rather than himself.
...the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire
from within a bush. This angel of the Lord is recorded in other places
in Old Testament Scripture and each time it seems it is a reference to
Jesus before he came to earth as Bethlehem’s baby boy. This amazing
appearance in a burning bush was God’s way of letting Moses know of
his faithful presence— like the fire here, God gives off warmth with his
love and light with his Word, but does not consume those he loves.
Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn
up. So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—
why the bush does not burn up.” When the Lord saw that he had
gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses!
Moses!” And Moses said, “Here I am.” “Do not come any closer,”
God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are
standing is holy ground.” Then he said, “I am the God of your
father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of
Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at
No longer was Moses secure in himself. He knew who this
was— his Creator and the one who could crush him in an instant for his
sins. He knew this was the one who blessed Abraham, took care of
Isaac and gifted Jacob. So, Moses hid in fear and respect.
The Lord said,...So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh
to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.” But Moses said to
God, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the
Israelites out of Egypt?”
Who am I? No longer was Moses boastfully asking, “Don’t
you know who I am?” His false security was gone!
By nature, you and I have a false security that has to be
controlled and consumed. Our sinful nature likes to think we can fend
for ourselves, use our good works to please any god there might be and
get to heaven on our own merit. Because the end result of this means
hell, this false security needs to be crushed!
God might use a burning bush, like he did for Moses, or
poisonous snakes like he did for the wandering Israelites, or shortage of
food and water like he did for his rebellious people to get our attention
to see him as the only one powerful enough, the only one trustworthy
enough, the only one loving enough to take care of us on earth and
eternally. But God definitely uses his Word and Sacrament to control
and consume the damage caused by our sinful nature and to lead us to
ask, “ Who am I?”
His law reveals I am a sinner. It shows me how far short of the
goal of perfection I fall because of my greedy thoughts and gossipy
words, my lustful eyes and my lying tongue. His gospel proclaims his
love for me and for all people and the forgiveness of every sin earned
by the blood of Jesus, dripping down from his body on the cross of
Calvary, as the perfect sacrifice for all sins.
False security is crushed by faithful presence! And God said,
“I will be with you”...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?” 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.’ ”...This is my
name forever, the name by which I am to be remembered from
generation to generation.
This is an amazing name for an amazing God! It tells us who
he is and tells us that he is— always in the here and now for every
generation, always here with us to protect and provide for us, always
able and willing to hear us!
Moses may not have known who he himself was, but he knew
who the true God is! Now with his call to serve, soon to encounter
Pharaoh and ask for the Israelites’ release, then to meet with rejection
and retaliation from both friend and foe, Moses could trust the great “I
Ukrainians fighting for their country and running for their lives
can count on him who is “I AM”! Americans dealing with supply
issues and inflation increases can depend on him! Lutherans defending
and spreading the gospel at every opportunity can praise him! You!—
suffering loss, battling illness or injury, disappointed and discouraged—
can rely on him! He remains with us through every generation and is
to be remembered by every generation!
What have we done, what can we do, to make sure that the next
generation knows the great “I AM”? Let’s put aside our false security
that focuses on who we are and let’s depend on and proclaim the
faithful presence of him who was, who is and who is to come. Support
with your offerings those who serve on our behalf in places around the
world to bravely tell others about the LORD. Pray for the ministry of
our church schools and the faithfulness of those who serve there. Tell
the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, the great “I