Summary of passage: After God calls Moses to go to Egypt and rescue His people, Moses asks “Why me?” God assures Moses He will be with him and he will return to this mountain again in worship. Moses, still questioning, asks what should he tell the Israelites about who sent him. God replies “I am has sent you and the Lord, God of your fathers–Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob”.
God says to assemble the elders of Israel and tell them of his commission to bring them up and out of Egypt. Then take the elders and go to Pharaoh and tell him. Pharaoh will not let you go but I will strike the Egyptians with all the wonders until they do. God will turn the Egyptians’ hearts so that they will leave with silver and gold and clothing and plunder.
5a) Moses asks “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” He asks God what should he say once he tells the Israelites he has been sent by God and they ask who is God? What is his name?
b) Verse 12 reassures Moses that God will be with him and a sign will be that Moses will worship God on this same mountain afterwards. Verse 14 & 15 says that Moses should tell the Israelites that “I am has sent him” and that he is the God of their fathers–Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
c) Personal Question. My answer: That God is with Moses on his journey because I know God is with me on mine.
6a) Both Jesus and God call themselves “I am” and both existed before Abraham was born.
b) Jesus says that he existed like God has existed and they are one and the same “I am”.
Conclusions: It’s not hard to understand Moses doubt here. After all, he tried once before 40 years ago to rescue the Israelites and they rejected him so Moses is confused. He doesn’t quite understand yet that Moses needed God and God’s timing and that he couldn’t rescue the Israelites without God so he asks God “Are you sure you want me?” God says yes. He also wants to know what to tell the Israelites once he gets there so he’s not rejected again.
Again, I thought not a lot of meat to these questions.
End Notes: The Israelites probably number around 3 million people now. Can you imagine leading 3 million people out of slavery, across desert, to a Promised Land?
I read pages and pages of commentary on the revelation of God’s name here to Moses. Fascinating. But for me it came down to one point: God says “I am” and then you fill in the blank with your need. “I am the light” when it is dark. “I am the bread of life” when we are hungry. “I am your comforter” when you mourn. God is everything to us and that is what He is saying here when He says “I am.”
Jesus calls himself “I am” as well (John 8:28; 8:24; 8:58; 13:19).
I found it fascinating that God tells Moses first to go to his people (the elders) and then go to Pharaoh. God often starts with His people first and then the rest of the world. Like Jesus who revealed the Good News first to the Jews and then the Gentiles.
God promises the people will listen this time around. This must have been huge encouragement for Moses. Note too the Israelites probably didn’t desire to leave Egypt. After 400 years, they probably just wanted to improve their lives but not leave everything they’ve ever known. All around, Moses did not have an easy task before him and he knew it; hence, his doubts.
Not only will the Israelites follow Moses, they won’t go empty-handed–the Egyptians will shower them with gifts. This is fitting pay after 400 years of hard labor. Deuteronomy 15:12-14 says to give slaves gifts when they leave your service.