It’s only a conversation. But the immortal dialogue between God and Moses in Exodus 3 alters history and reveals an over-looked facet of the Almighty. From a blazing fire comes a voice. That voice comes from an intelligent Being. That Being is interacting with a human, conversationally!
When the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!”
And he said, “Here I am.”
Then He said, “Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” 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 (Exodus 3:4-6).
God is stepping out of Eternity into Time, as an Actor/Participant. This is reflected in the action words ascribed to God in the original text (my emphasis): Saw, called, said, am! As if to underscore his “being,” in verse 6 God uses an archaic Hebrew word אנכי. This form of “I” is declarative. It emphasizes personhood, not just existence.”
Their conversation is not just about God getting the attention of an 80 year old shepherd who tried to free his people from slavery and is now receiving that same assignment from the only One who can truly free them. This conversation is a new level of God revealing Himself. “I see. I hear. I am involved. I am not a vague, amorphous deity in the distant heavens, far removed from human life.”
God says: “I’ve seen the oppression of my people…and have heard their cry, because of their taskmasters, and I know their sorrows. So I’ve come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey…” (Exodus 3:7-8).
All of these are words of activity. Someone must “do” them. What I love here is not only that God is involved, but that He IS (although it’s awkward to ascribe the term to the Eternal Author of the universe)… He is a Person.
After God informs Moses that He’s going to send him to free the Israelites from their miserable slavery, the shell-shocked fellow asks a desperate question.
Moses: And who am I that I should do this?
God: I’ll be totally with you.
Moses: Ooof. Lord, you didn’t even answer the question. Or did you?
Moses: So, when I come to my people to announce this exodus, whom shall I say sent me?”
I love this exchange. First Moses asks, “Who am I?” Then he asks God, “Who are You?”
God: (and here’s the punchline) I AM WHO I AM. Or…I will be what I will be (which comes closer to the Hebrew: אהיה אשר אהיה (Exodus 3:14).
In other words, you are now speaking with ME. I have a name and this is my name forever – past, present and future. The Lord’s assurance of His personal presence empowers Moses and grants a solid inner security in the midst of a daunting task. God chooses to reveal Himself in a new, intensely personal dimension, not known to the Patriarchs (see Exodus 6:3).
Why? Because His ongoing conversational relationship with Moses will be the key to Israel’s supernatural victory over Egyptian idolatry and their inheritance of the promises. Should it be any different for us?