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Friday, May 17, 2013

I Am Who I Am


Exodus 3:1-22 NIV

Moses and the Burning Bush

1Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 

2There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. 
3So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.”

4 When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush,

“Moses! Moses!”

And Moses said, “Here I am.”

5“Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” 

6Then He said,

“I am the God of your father,a the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.”

At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.

7The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. 8So 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—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. 9And now the cry of the Israelites has reached Me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. 10So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring My people the Israelites out of Egypt.”

11But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”

12And God 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, youb will worship God on this mountain.”

13Moses said to God, “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?”

14God said to Moses,

I am who I am.

This is what you are to say to the Israelites: 

I am has sent me to you.’ ”

15God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The Lord,d the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.’

“This is My Name forever,
the Name you shall call Me
from generation to generation.

16“Go, assemble the elders of Israel and say to them, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—appeared to me and said: I have watched over you and have seen what has been done to you in Egypt. 17And I have promised to bring you up out of your misery in Egypt into the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites—a land flowing with milk and honey.’

18“The elders of Israel will listen to you. Then you and the elders are to go to the king of Egypt and say to him, ‘The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us. Let us take a three-day journey into the wilderness to offer sacrifices to the Lord our God.’ 19But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless a mighty hand compels him. 20So I will stretch out My hand and strike the Egyptians with all the wonders that I will perform among them. After that, he will let you go.
21“And I will make the Egyptians favorably disposed toward this people, so that when you leave you will not go empty-handed.22Every woman is to ask her neighbor and any woman living in her house for articles of silver and gold and for clothing, which you will put on your sons and daughters. And so you will plunder the Egyptians.”



Moses keeping the flock of Jethro at Mount Horeb, the angel of the Lord appears to him in a burning bush, Exodus 3:1Exodus 3:2. Astonished at the sight, he turns aside to examine it, Exodus 3:3, when God speaks to him out of the fire, and declares himself to be the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Exodus 3:4-6; announces his purpose of delivering the Israelites from their oppression, and of bringing them into the promised land, Exodus 3:7-9; commissions him to go to Pharaoh, and to be leader of the children of Israel from Egypt, Exodus 3:10. Moses excuses himself, Exodus 3:11; and God, to encourage him, promises him his protection, Exodus 3:12. Moses doubts whether the Israelites will credit him, Exodus 3:13, and God reveals to him his Name, and informs him what he is to say to the people, Exodus 3:14-17, and instructs him and the elders of Israel to apply unto Pharaoh for permission to go three days' journey into the wilderness, to sacrifice unto the Lord, Exodus 3:18; foretells the obstinacy of the Egyptian king, and the miracles which he himself should work in the sight of the Egyptians, Exodus 3:19Exodus 3:20; and promises that, on the departure of the Israelites, the Egyptians should be induced to furnish them with all necessaries for their journey, Exodus 3:21Exodus 3:22.



The verb in the Hebrew is in the future tense, “I will be what I will be”, but it is of the same force as the present, “I am what I am”, except that it designates the perpetual duration of time. This is very plain, that God attributes to Himself alone Divine Glory, because He is self-existent and therefore eternal; and thus gives being and existence to every creature. Nor does He predicate of Himself anything common, or shared by others; but He claims for Himself eternity as peculiar to God alone, in order that He may be honored according to His Dignity, Glory and Power.

Therefore, immediately afterwards, contrary to grammatical usage, He used the same verb in the first person as a substantive, annexing it to a verb in the third person that our minds may be filled with admiration as often as his incomprehensible essence is mentioned.


In order rightly to apprehend the one God, we must first know, that all things in heaven and earth derive their essence, or subsistence from One, Who only truly is. From this Being all power is derived; because, if God sustains all things by His Power of the Word. He governs them also at His will. Therefore God teaches him that He alone is worthy of the most Holy Name, which is profaned when improperly transferred to others; and then sets forth His inestimable excellency, that Moses may have no doubt of overcoming all things under His guidance.

He says that He was not known to them by His Name “Jehovah” (Exodus 6:3), signifying thus that He now more brightly manifested the Glory of His Divinity to their descendants. It would be tedious to recount the various opinions as to the name “Jehovah.” It is certainly a foul superstition of the Jews that they dare not speak, or write it, but substitute the name "Adonai."

Without controversy, it is derived from the word  הָיָה hayah (come to pass, become, be ) and therefore it is rightly said to be the essential Name of God.  He is called Jehovah, because He has existence from Himself, and creates and sustains all things by His great Power. 

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