Moses didn’t seem to want anything to do with delivering the Israelites from Egypt. He had tried to do so once years before, and had his own people turn on him. And now, here is God telling him, “Go back to Egypt.”
Perhaps if God had told Moses to rescue the Israelites back when he was a young, powerful official an Egypt, he wouldn’t have hesitated. But now, he was an old man, 80 years old, and his days of power and influence in Egypt were long gone. All the brashness and confidence of youth, were gone. All that was left was a man broken by his experiences.
And so he said, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” (verse 11).
“God I’m a nobody. All I do is tend sheep. I have no power. I have no influence in Egypt anymore. And the one time I tried to do something about my people, they turned their backs on me and I had to run from Egypt. And you’re going to send me?”
God’s answer was very interesting. He completely ignored Moses’ question, and 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.” (verse 12)
In other words, God was saying, “It doesn’t matter who you are. What matters is who I am. And because I am with you, you can do this.”
How often does God ask us to do something for him, and we say, “Who am I? I don’t have any talents. I don’t have any gifts. I’m nobody special.”
But God says, “It doesn’t matter who you are or who you aren’t. I am with you. And I will help you to do the things that I ask you to do.”
I sometimes wonder why in the world God would send me here to Japan. For a guy that came as a missionary, I’m not very outgoing. Actually, for the most part, I’m painfully shy. I’m not good at meeting new people. Keeping a conversation flowing is not my forte. On top of that, my Japanese isn’t that great. Other people seem to pick up the language much more quickly than I do. So why me? I don’t know. All I know is that God sent me here, and he has been with me. And hopefully, along the way, some lives have been touched.
Anyway, with God totally ignoring Moses’ question, Moses goes on to his second question. “Who are you? When I go to the people of Israel, who shall I say sent me? What name shall I give?”
And God said, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.'”
What was that all about? Basically, God was saying “I am the eternal one. I am the one who has always been, and always will be. And I am the one who never changes. And so the promises I made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob still stand. That is why I have come to rescue my people.”
So what can we take from this? We can be confident that the same God that walked with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Moses, the same one that didn’t give up on them despite all their sins, failures, and weaknesses, is the same God who walks with us. And just as he was faithful to them, he will be faithful to us. Despite all our sins. All our failures. And all our weaknesses.
So if you’re discouraged about who you are, remember who God is. Remember his promises to us.
God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5
Though we may fail. Though we may struggle with sin. He will never abandon us.
So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” Hebrews 13:6
Though we may wonder how in the world God could use us. Though we may sometimes fear how others may react as we do the things God calls us to do. We can say with confidence that God is with us and will help us.
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13:8
Though the people around us may change. Though our circumstances may change. Though we ourselves may change. Jesus never changes and will always remain faithful to us.