Scripture Reading: Exodus 3:1-15
God’s love is like an ocean; you can see its beginning, but not its end.Rick Warren
The Old Testament reading today is from Exodus 3. It tells the story of “the burning bush.” This is no ordinary bush that burns. A bush that merely burned was no doubt a common sight. This bush, however, burned and was not consumed. It did not wither in the heat of the flames to a pile of ash! It just burned and burned and burned!
Moses was curious. He was tending a flock of sheep at the time. He was about 40 years old. He thought, “I got to see this.” So he went to the bush. You know the story. A voice — the voice of God — spoke from the bush and told Moses to take off his shoes because he was standing on holy ground. A burning bush and holy ground. Something amazing was going to happen. Moses could feel it.
Then God identifies himself: “I AM THAT I AM.”
This is the way most versions of the Bible translate the Hebrew. But the New Revised Standard Version translates Exodus 3:14 to read, “God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM.’”
This makes sense, doesn’t it? We say the same thing about ourselves sometimes, don’t we? “I am who I am.”
Often, we say this after someone has criticized our behavior. “You sure are stubborn,” your friend says.
“I am who I am,” you reply in defense. In other words, you can be no other than you are.
This is what God tells Moses. “I am who I am. I will be God for you. I will be faithful to you, I will be trustworthy and I will keep covenant with you. I am who I am.”
Terence Fretheim, in Exodus, of the Interpretation Bible Commentary series, writes that the “formulation [I am who I am] suggests a divine faithfulness to self: Wherever God is being God, God will be the kind of God God is. Israel need not be concerned about divine arbitrariness or capriciousness. God can be counted on to be who God is; God will be faithful.”
Aren’t you glad that God is who God is?
God of Moses, thank you for being who you are. I thank you that you are unchanging in all your ways. Praise your name! Amen.