As soon as those words poured out of my mouth, I suddenly understood the significance of the exchange between God and man in Exodus 3.
In verse 13, Moses asks a very intriguing question: "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 could have given Moses any number of names: Jehovah El Elohim (the Lord God of Gods), El-Shaddai (The God Who is Sufficient for the Needs of His People), Jehovah Shalom (The Lord our Peace), Jehovah-Shammah (The Lord is Present)... countless names by which the Lord has revealed Himself to His people through the ages.
But on this day, to this shepherd and former prince of Egypt, God chose to reveal Himself in five simple words:
"I AM who I AM"
Though I cannot point you to any scripture that would prove what I am about to say, I believe with all my heart that, with those five words, God imparted to Moses a revelation that would carry him through the plagues of Egypt, the miracle at the Red Sea, and the journey through the desert. I believe that it was this phrase - "I AM who I AM" - that caused Moses to stand strong in his faith when everyone else, including his brother and sister, doubted God's plan in those 40 years of wandering.
God could have given Moses any other name, but each of those names, while vitally important to our understanding of the Lord, only describes to us the characteristics of God and what He does.
But I believe God wanted to impart to Moses a truth that runs so much deeper than what God was doing, because over the next 40 years, what God was doing wouldn't make much sense to Moses and the Israelites.
Had Moses put his faith in the actions of God, here is what he and the Israelites would have seen:
What God said He was going to do is found in verse 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."
What God DIDN'T say was:
I'm going to take you out of Egypt and into the Promised land, but in between here and there will be 40 years of desert wandering.
I will make sure your clothes will never wear out, and you will never outgrow them. But the clothes you have on your back when you leave Egypt will be the same clothes you wear everyday for the next 40 years.
And I will provide your food, but you will eat the same thing everyday for breakfast, lunch, and dinner - 365 days a year, for 40 years.
Oh, and by the way, you won't have a map or any idea where you're going or when you will arrive. Because you'll have to wait on me every day for the next 40 years. You can only move when my cloud moves, and sometimes we will stay in one spot for days - long enough for you to build the temple and make your sacrifices.
Finally, when you get to the Promised Land, you can't just walk in and live there... because it is overrun with giants. These giants will have to be conquered, but you will not do it. You will have to send your children and grandchildren into battle against those giants, without you.
Had Moses walked into that situation putting all his faith in what God was doing, I believe he would have given up before the first Plague.
But I believe that on that day, at that burning bush, with those five words, God imparted to Moses this truth: Do not believe in what I am doing, because you may never understand what I do. My ways are above your ways and My understanding far above your understanding. But put your faith in who I AM: I AM good, and I AM holy, and I AM God. Put your faith the I AM, and you will never be disappointed.
More to come...