Text: Exodus 3:6-14 Speaker: Pastor Matthew Ude Festival: Advent Passages: Exodus 3:6-14
Full Service Video
6 And he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.
7 Then the LORD said, “I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters. I know their sufferings, 8 and I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. 9 And now, behold, the cry of the people of Israel has come to me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them. 10 Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.” 11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” 12 He said, “But I will be with you, and this shall be the sign for you, that I have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.”
13 Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” 14 God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.”1 And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”
If you look on the front of your bulletin you’ll see a picture of Jesus, technically an eastern icon not just a picture. The difference is that in an icon every piece is highly symbolic telling you more about Jesus. In the same way our Old Testament reading is not just the account of Moses and the burning bush but every piece of it is pointing forward to Christ.
On your bulletin around Jesus’ head is the halo and there are letters in the halo. The older school kids saw something much like this a few weeks ago. The letters look like O-W-H but are actually the Greek omicron, omega, and nun. In Greek they spell the words ho oon. The being one, or the one who is, or as we just heard it in our text. “I am who I am.” I am the one who is.
Those letters are the Greek form of that name that God gave Moses, which we often translate as Jehovah. They are there on the Mosaic to remind us that Jesus is Jehovah, the I am God. In fact, the name Jesus reminds us of that.
The name Jesus is a combination of Jehovah shortened to the first syllable, and the Greek word for save, sozo. Thus Jesus means Jehovah saves. Notice that something is added to the name Jehovah. The name Jesus is not less than the name Jehovah but more it is Jehovah plus.
The name was given to reflect the reality. Jesus is not less than Jehovah but in a sense more. He is Jehovah plus. There are those who want to make Jesus less. But Jesus is not less. He is more. He is Jehovah who became man and dwelt among us. He is Jehovah plus.
Our text bears this out as well. All that we see Jehovah doing for Moses and the people of Israel He has done for us plus more.
IN VERSE 6
Moses was afraid to look on the face of God. The Israelites were afraid when they saw even the reflection of God’s glory in the face of Moses. The shepherds were afraid with the lesser glory of the angels. But the shepherds were not afraid when they came to see Jesus in the manger.
So completely and utterly was the glory of God hidden in the person of Jesus that there was no longer any hint of fear.
Col 1:19 For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell,
All the glory of Jehovah, all the power, all the might but hidden in a form that we do not need to fear. Jesus is not less than Jehovah, all the God head is there, but more, it is there without fear.
Of course, some people take advantage of God’s grace and mercy. They think that because God hides his glory they can live however they want. They think that sin no longer matters. Jesus did not come to ignore sin but to destroy it. We can approach Him without fear but not so that we continue in sin but so that we repent of it. This is what we heard in our gospel reading. John the Baptist proclaims a baptism of repentance, not ignoring sin but destroying it.
In Jesus we have the face of God which we can approach without fear. Not so that we can ignore sin and pretend it does not matter but so that we do not need to be afraid to acknowledge it, confess it, and receive forgiveness.
IN VERSE 7
Notice how the LORD goes from “I have seen” but then intensifies it ” I have known.” This to know in the Hebrew implies a lot more than simple knowledge. – It implies an intimate connection, and experience. Satan tempted Eve by saying “your will know good and evil.” Not simply that she will know what it was but that she will have experienced it for herself. Adam knew his wife eve. God knows the suffering of His people. He feels it through them.
Jehovah suffered with his people. Their suffering was his suffering. He experienced it with them.
But in Jesus that is again taken to the next level. Jesus endured temptation in the wilderness. He slept outside enduring the wind and weather. He went for times without food, and without sleep. He wept for Lazarus. All the suffering of body and soul whatever we must endure, Jesus endured it as well. He knows our suffering,
Hebrews 4:15-16 15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Yet having endured our suffering, Jesus doesn’t say to us, “well I did it, you can too.” Rather what does he say to Moses? I have known their suffering and will deliver them. The same He says to us. Whatever you are suffering right now Jesus knows and will deliver.
Jesus is Jehovah plus, as he knew the suffering of the Israelites, so He knows our suffering having endured the same. He has come to deliver.
IN VERSE 9
He sends Moses to confront the enemy of His people, Pharoah. As he sent the lesser servant Moses to deliver his people from the lesser evil, Pharoah, so now he himself comes to deliver us from the greater evil, Sin.
Matthew 1:21 you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins
IN VERSE 13
Moses does not think “the God of your fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob” is enough and he is right. The fact that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob worship God says more about the fathers than it does about God. If the people are to follow Him out of Egypt, they must know Him by name. He must be their God, not just the God of their fathers. Therefore, God reveals himself to them in the Name “I am.” I am the God who is with you. I am the God who keeps his promises
Again, Jesus is all the I AM of the old testament
John 8:58 Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.”
Plus more. I am the light of the world. I am the bread of life. I am the way, the truth and the life. I am the good shepherd
It is not enough that He is the God of our fathers. It is not enough that He is the God of our childhood. IF He will be our God, we must learn His name. He must be the “I am” God of our life. To know the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is to know of Him, to know His name is to know Him. God’s name is the revelation of himself.
Exodus 20:24 In every place where I record My name I will come to you, and I will bless you.
The name of God is no longer Jehovah, now it is Jesus, Jehovah plus. Jehovah plus man. Jehovah who came to save us from our sin. Jehovah who is not just the God of our father but our God as well. Jesus! Jehovah plus.