The Call of Moses: The Second Excuse: Authority (Ex.3)

Then Moses said to God, "Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them,`The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they say to me,`What is His name?' what shall I say to them?" (Exo 3:13)

"So, who are You?" Moses asks the Lord. In response, God gives to Moses a three-fold revelation of Himself.

1. He IS that He IS. The FINAL Authority of Mission. He replies, "I AM WHO I AM."..."Thus you shall say to the children of Israel,`I AM has sent me to you.'" (Exo 3:14). This reveals the ESSENTIAL IDENTITY of God. He cannot be identified with any definition because His existence is not dependent on anything outside Himself. My existence is dependent on many factors. So, if someone asks me who I am, I would reply saying, "I am the son of so and so, I live in such and such place, and I do such and such job or work for so and so...." This would still be only one aspect of the many things that makes me who I am. There are many defining factors. In fact, the very basic statement, "I am a human being" is a highly contingent or dependent statement; its meaning is dependent on a number of things like "mortal being," "rational being," "social being," "biped being," etc. However, God cannot be defined because He is that He is.

The gods of the world had contingent identities: god of river, god of pestilence, god of harvest, god of war, god of love, god of death, and so on. But, the ALMIGHTY ONE is the NECESSARY being. He is not existence; but, there is no existence without Him. He IS that He IS.

He is the self-existing, self-sufficient, self-contained, self-content one.

2. He is YHWH God of their fathers, The RIGHTFUL Authority of the Mission. "the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob". This reveals the RELATIONAL IDENTITY of God to Israel. YHWH is the God of Covenants. It is the Name which He revealed when He swore by Himself to Abraham, an oath that is impossible to be broken (Gen.22:15-17; 26:3; Heb.6:13-17).
Then the Angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time out of heaven, and said: "By Myself I have sworn, says the LORD, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only [son -- ] "blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which [is] on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. (Gen.22:15-17)
For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, saying, "Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you."... For men indeed swear by the greater, and an oath for confirmation [is] for them an end of all dispute. Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed [it] by an oath, that by two immutable things, in which it [is] impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before [us.] (Heb.6:13-18)
God reveals two things about His Name YHWH:

  • This is His name forever. (Exo 3:15)
  • This is His memorial to all generations. (Exo 3:15)

Scholars have believed that the name YHWH may mean "The Existing One", which relates to His declaration that He is I AM [EHYH] THAT I AM [EHYH]. In that case, we have a linguistic relation [HEBREW] as well. However, God precedes humans and all human languages. Therefore, it is dangerous to sacralize any human language as being divine. For instance, the Name JESUS is Y'SHUA in Hebrew, but the New Testament calls Him as IESOUS. Now, there are some who feel that there is something to the Hebrew language [in the same way as Muslims regard Arabic as heavenly and Hindus regard Sanskrit as heavenly]. However, the Bible discourages such thinking by asserting God as the God not just of the Jews but also of the Gentiles. The New Testament gift of tongues actually transcends all human language barriers. The Age of the Holy Spirit is the Age of Gospel to All Nations. And, this is part of the Abrahamic Covenant: "And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, "In you all the nations shall be blessed." So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham." (Gal 3:8-9)

At this point, prior to the Exodus, this declaration of God affirms God's relation with the children of Israel by His covenant with their fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He is the God of their fathers. This was His relational identity with them.

We must contrast this with the New Testament declarations of God's relational identity with the church. He is not the God of our fathers; but, He is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. This speaks about relationship with us by the New Covenant. Also, God is referred to as "our Father", i.e. through Jesus Christ.
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort (2Co 1:2-3 NKJ)
The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is blessed forever (2Co 11:31)
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (Eph 1:2)
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ (Eph 1:3)
We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you (Col 1:3)
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (Phm 1:3)
Certainly, Jesus Christ is the One of whom God did say, "My name is in Him. (Exo 23:21)
and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ. (1Co 10:4)
Moses was being sent by YHWH with a mission of deliverance; but, the True Deliverer, the Heir, was to come. And, in His Name is Everlasting Life. (Hebrews 3:1-19)

The Bible declares why God send Moses to save Israel out of Egypt.
...because He loved your fathers, therefore He chose their descendants after them; and He brought you out of Egypt with His Presence, with His mighty power (Deu 4:37)
The Bible also declares why God sent His Son to save us from our sins.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (Joh 3:16 NKJ)

God had the Reason to Send Moses on this Mission: He Loved the Fathers.
God has the Reason why He sent Jesus Christ and will send Him again: His Love Us.

How much more shall we not love and await His Second Coming!?

3. HE has the Mission Plan. HE is the PERFECT Architect of the Mission.
God reveals to Moses His plan how to declare His Name (Exod.3:16-22). The commission was two-fold:

  • Declare to the Elders what the God of their fathers had Declared (Exod.3:16-17)
  • Declare to Pharaoh what the God of the Hebrews had Demanded (Exod.3:18).

The Servant of God doesn't need to be worried how to carry out God's commission. The One Who IS (In Himself) beyond all time and space, The One Who Is Our God (In Relation Through His Blood Covenant) Knows all things, Controls all things, and has Predestined His people to be saved.

This doesn't mean that all who are delivered out of Egypt will enter the Promised Land; but, only those who persevere in faith.
But I want to remind you, though you once knew this, that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. (Jud 1:5 NKJ)
whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end. (Heb 3:6)
For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end (Heb 3:14)
if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard (Col 1:23)
God is the FINAL AUTHORITY of Mission.
God is the RIGHTFUL AUTHORITY of Mission.
God is the PERFECT ARCHITECT of Mission.