February 26, 2010 I know your name
I am one of the worst people at remembering names. It is always impressing when someone I have just met can remember my name, but I have to really work at remembering others. Kids seem to make friends where ever they go. I have tried to teach them to learn other kids names by telling them that someone is not a friend unless you know their name. This is my way of encouraging them to not be like me.
It is the same way with God. He wants to be known by his name, not the random one size fits all. He isn’t the same God of all religions depending on which path you choose to take. There is one God. His name, as I have already mentioned is I AM.
In my last post we had looked at Moses at the time when God first asked him to be the leader of the Israelites exodus from Egypt. I want to fast forward time to when Moses has come down the mountain with the commands of God. The Israelites had convinced Aaron to make that golden calf, many people died, and Moses was seriously questioning his role as leader.
Moses would often meet with God in a tent. There is one occasion in particular I want to focus in on. It is found in Exodus 33:12 ff.
Moses is extremely frustrated with the people. The I AM has chosen them to be his people, and they in return could almost careless, or so it seems. At his whits end, he brings his case to God. 1. “You (meaning I AM) have told me to lead these people, but haven’t shown me who will help.” (Clearly he couldn’t count on his brother for help). 2. “You say you know my name, but I need more than that. ”
Moses then asks God to do a couple things. The first is to “teach me your ways”. How can Moses follow God is he doesn’t know where he is going? And more than that, how can he live a pleasing way when he is full of sin? This is true even for us. God is perfect. We are not. You can’t mix oil and water. Moses is no better off than I am. How can I live a life that pleases God when I can’t even imagine what he is like? Moses’ desire was to know God and to have continual favor.
God answers Moses by saying “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” The word for presence is literally “with”. Moses is begging God to not leave him alone, and the I AM says “I AM with you.” The fire and smoke that leads the people out of Egypt is God. After the time they didn’t need the physical presence of God to lead them. Israel understood that it was the Presence of God that drove out the nations and gave them their inheritance. Throughout much of the old testament we see the presence of God and the deliverance he provides. It was all leading up to Christ. In Matthew 28, Jesus promises to be with us to the very end. We see this fulfilled with the Holy Spirit.
The second thing Moses asked for was for himself and the nation to be distinguished from everyone else. Moses knows the people. He knows that they will never make it to the promised land. Being certain of the rebellion that will follow over the next couple years, Moses is asking for some insurance on retirement.
The I AM brings it all back to the beginning. He says “I will do it, because you please me Moses, and I know your name.” What is so significant about his name? Literally it means drawn from water. Is it the name God knows? In a sense yes. Who is it that is drawing Moses out to be the leader? The I AM is who makes the man. God is pleased with what He is doing in Moses.
Moses is then satisfied with the great task ahead. He is ready for God to reveal his glory.
I love this. . . .The I AM then tells Moses that He will pass by. Not because Moses is so great, but because God has called him, he has given Moses the name as leader. Moses might not know himself as a great leader, but I AM does. The LORD knows Moses by name and now wants Moses to know him- I AM. He says, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence.”
Did you get that? Essentially he is saying, “buckle up, you are about to go on a wild ride.”
There is nothing particularly in Moses that God likes. He makes that clear in verse 19. Yet there is this beautiful relationship budding between a pathetic man and the great God of the universe. It is normal to strive for significance, but often I find myself falling much shorter than I imagined I would. I have found in my own life that the true identity I have, the only real significance is who I am in Christ.
My desire is to not only see the glory of God, but to also reflect that glory to others.
“And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:18