Lesson for Chapel Services on Wednesday, October 16, 2019
Exodus 3: 13-17, God’s name revealed to Moses
A READING FROM THE BOOK OF EXODUS
But Moses said to God, “If I come to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” He said further, “Thus you shall say to the Israelites, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” God also said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the Israelites, ‘The Lord, the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you’:
This is my name forever,
And this my title for all generations.
Go and assemble the elders of Israel, and say to them, ‘The Lord, the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, has appeared to me, saying: I have given heed to you and to what has been done to you in Egypt. I declare that I will bring you up out of the misery of Egypt, to the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, a land flowing with milk and honey.’”
THE WORD OF THE LORD
and the People respond, “Thanks be to God.”
In the passage above, Moses had just seen the Burning Bush and heard the voice of God. In much early religious thought, it was accepted that people needed to know the deity’s name to be able to enter into relationship with that deity. Moses wanted to know the name of God so that he would know the nature of God. And as the messenger of God, he needed to assure the people that his message came with credentials!
“I AM WHO I AM – I AM has sent me to you.” There is a strong sense of the present in this name. We could also word it as, “I will be whoever I will be.” God will not be bound or defined by any one name or description.
If we could condense all loveliness to one flower,
all music to one song,
all beauty to one face,
all poetry to one line,
all happiness to one moment,
all love to one glance,
it would fail to describe your greatness, holiness, love and mercy
as a candle fails to compare with sunlight.