God’s Call and Our Response

KEY VERSE: “Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt.” —Exodus 3:10


IN SPEAKING TO Moses from the burning bush, the Lord identified himself, saying, “I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” (Exod. 3:1-6) The truthfulness of this narrative is confirmed by Jesus, who used it as a proof of the resurrection of the dead. He explained that Jehovah is not a God of the dead but of the living, and since he declared himself to be the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who had died, it means that they are to be raised from the dead, for, as Jesus explained, “All live unto him,” that is, unto God.—Luke 20:37,38

In Moses’ day, even as now, there were many gods, but only one true and living God. It was he who had spoken to Abraham and promised that through his seed all the families of the earth were to be blessed. Moses knew about these promises and had confidence in the God who had made them; so he did not hesitate to offer himself for service, saying, “Here am I.”—Exod. 3:4

The Lord then explained to Moses that the time had come when he would deliver the Israelites from their slavery in Egypt and “bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey.” (vss. 7,8) Next followed the words of our Key Verse. To Moses the Lord said: “Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh.”

Remembering, no doubt, his first attempt to help his people and how completely it had failed, it was logical for Moses to ask, “Who am I, that I … should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?” Replying to this question, the Lord said to Moses, “Certainly I will be with thee; and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee: When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain.”—vss. 11,12

But Moses had still another question. Forty years prior to this, when he had attempted to help his people, he was asked, “Who made thee a prince and a judge over us?” (Exod. 2:14) Now he wanted to know how he would answer questions of this sort from his own people. He knew that they would demand by what authority he had come to deliver them. True, he would tell them that the God of their fathers had sent him; but then, as he said, they would want to know more than this. “They shall say to me,” Moses continued, “What is his name?” How was he to answer this question?—Exod. 3:13

Replying, the Lord said to 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. And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.”—Exod. 3:14,15

The Hebrew word here translated “AM” in the name “I AM,” means ‘exist’. By its use the Lord was identifying himself to Moses and, through him, to the Israelites, as the ever-existing God, the same God who had directed and blessed their fathers, the God who had promised them the land of Canaan, who through Joseph had given assurance that they would be delivered from Egypt.

Moses then hesitated for another reason. He said to God, “O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue.” (Exod 4:10) Replying to this, the Lord reminded Moses that he was the Creator of the tongue, implying that Moses need have no fear. The Lord then informed him that his brother Aaron would accompany him on his mission and would serve as his mouthpiece: “He shall be to thee instead of a mouth and thou shalt be to him instead of God.”—vss. 11-16

Moses and Aaron “gathered together all the elders of the children of Israel: and Aaron spoke all the words which the Lord had spoken unto Moses, and did the signs in the sight of the people. And the people believed: and when they heard that the Lord had visited the children of Israel, and that he had looked upon their affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshipped.”—vss. 29-31

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