“They shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.” (Exodus 3:13-14)
Moses had been specially trained by God for the task ahead. He had been raised in Pharaoh’s household and had no doubt learned the wisdom of Egypt. Moses was well acquainted with authority, both exercising it and submitting to it. It comes somewhat as a surprise, then, that when told by God that he would be the one to lead his people out of bondage, he both objected to assuming such a leadership role and even questioned God’s authority over the situation.
But when he first realized that he couldn’t talk God out of using him, Moses expressed doubt as to God’s ability to bring this about. He asked God for more proof of His authority over mankind, evidently feeling that merely being “the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” (3:6) was insufficient authority. He couched his question in a roundabout way, claiming that the unbelief of the people of Israel was such that “they” would want to know, but this was not the case at all. When Moses first explained God’s plan to the “elders of the children of Israel” (4:29), “they bowed their heads and worshipped” (4:31).
God graciously answered Moses with the wonder-filled declaration “I AM THAT I AM.” He is the self-existent One. He is, simply because He is. No one made Him. He made all else that is, including Moses and the Egyptians. This assurance empowered Moses for 40 years and should be enough to empower us. “I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else” (Isaiah 45:5-6). JDM