“Here I am”, he says. And the next thing you know God is saying, actually what matters is that “I AM” here.
I’ve seen my people’s afflictions.
I’ve heard their cries.
I know how they’re suffering.
I’ve come down to deliver them…
Now you come, I'll send you to do the job.
OK, so Moses has to get involved, tongue-tied and disabled though he perceive himself to be, HE’s the man for the job…
I’m feeling a little like that today. The call came a couple days ago. I’ve got the plane tickets. The suitcases are standing at attention waiting for me to make up my mind about a multitude of details. I woke up a little early this morning and my mind started whirring restlessly. So I got up and sat here pouring over some names of God, looking for one to be just the one I need to hang onto for this journey.
My dad’s an increasingly unmanageable patient these days with a lone caregiver (my mom) who is increasingly frazzled and stretched beyond capacity…something has to be done. The Lord has seen their affliction, heard their cries, and is well-acquainted with their suffering… I have prayed. And now am being asked to step into the picture with my very own skin, to get involved in the answer to my prayers. Who am I for such a task? How am I going to do any good?
To keep anxious thoughts and ad nauseum pending decisions at bay this morning, I filtered through the names of God looking for one that might grab me and hold me tight as I pack and as I go*…Which of God’s many names is custom-fitted for my situation?
What am I in need of? El Shaddai (God Almighty) ought to cover it…or The Lord my Shepherd (Jehovah Ra-ah)…These are so familiar. My heart felt kind of numbed with doubt though…so I kept on… The Lord my Confidence (Yahweh Kesel) caught my eye. Yes! this confidence that gives strength to internal muscles, this confidence. Yes, I need that: “for the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught.” (Pr.3:26) That sounds good.
Jehovah Shalom (The Lord my peace). Yes, I need that too. “Thou wilt keep Him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee” would come to mind later in the day as I was out walking...
An unfamiliar name rang sweetly: Jehovah Shamah. This is the name given to the new Jerusalem as the book of Ezekiel closes out. It means “The Lord is There”. Yes, that’s all I really need, to know the Lord is there too, not only here with me on my cozy turf, but there also where I go, to face the unknown with confidence and grace.
But ya’ know, when God spoke through Moses to His people, the two names He chose were these: “I AM who I AM”, and “Yahweh, the God of your fathers”. This was His covenant name, the one He wanted them to remember ‘throughout all generations’ (Ex.3:15). He is my father’s God too, the one that has held his hand through all the years and the one that holds mine now, the great I AM.
Incidentally, I was looking yesterday at Jesus own I AM’s…the same words are translated “It is I”. “It is I, be not afraid”-- “I AM, be not afraid”(Mt.14:27). Isn’t that it? Because He is, I need not be afraid. All that’s left is to believe on the One that God has sent, not merely to save me and take me to Heaven, but to be with me in the meantime. This is the real work I’m called to, to believe, and keep believing in the God who is. And I’m back at the burning bush hearing God’s response to Moses’ “Who am I that I should go…”. and God saying, “but I will be with you…”
-----------------Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come… Rev.1:4
--LS*I was gleaning some of these names from Knowing God by Name by Mary A. Kassian—a women’s Bible study book.