2 And the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed. (Exo 3:2)
11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I?” (Exo 3:11a)
14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” (Exo 3:14)
The scene of the burning bush remains till this day one of my favourites. When I was a youth, the image of a bush engulfed in flame yet not being consumed by it captivated me. I saw how God’s holiness (consuming fire) and mercy (the bush not being consumed) came together in harmony – for if God were to reveal His full glory, we would not live (Exo 33:20). So I can only begin to imagine the profound impact this “great sight” (Exo 3:3) had on Moses as this was his first (of many) encounters with God.
But this passage contains another manifestation of God; this time not in an image but in Word – “I AM WHO I AM”. This name that God chose to identify Himself with to Moses was the ultimate proclamation of His self-sufficiency and self-existence – a hark to his powerful Word in Creation. When God identified Himself as I AM WHO I AM, He was promising in no uncertain terms that He would stand ever-present and unchanging, completing sufficient in Himself to do and accomplish what He wills.
God manifested Himself to Moses (and to us) through Image and Word – the Fire and the Name. And both had a specific intention in how it was to strengthen Moses’ Posture & Purpose.
In encountering God through the burning bush, the only suitable posture that Moses could adopt was REVERANCE – an immensely deep state of respect and awe; the fear of the Lord. The removal of sandals and the hiding of one’s face here (Exo 3:5-6) was a necessary expression to confess of one’s sinfulness and unworthiness before God.
And whether Moses was humble or unwilling to fulfil God’s purpose, one thing was certain – God used the name “I AM” to spark REVIVAL in Moses’ heart. Moses had fled into Midian for many years. He drew away from the plight of his people and was content to be a sojourner in a foreign land (Exo 2:21-22). But that was not the purpose by which God was calling him to. God used ‘I AM’ intentionally to revive Moses, that he might lean fully into God’s all-sufficient power; so that the purposes of God might be fulfilled through him and in him.
As we enter into this season of Lent, I urge us to examine our own Posture & Purpose before the Lord. Doing house church online through Zoom can often have an effect on whether we approach God reverently or flippantly; the consumerist lure of modern day Singapore can numb our hearts to the purposes of God. So I pray that the next 40 days of journeying to the Cross & Resurrection (Good Friday & Easter) might bring us fresh and transformational encounters with Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
By Asst. Ps Adrian Ow
Reflection for the week:
- How might an awe and reverence for the Lord be demonstrated in your life?
- God desires to bring revival to His people. How might we be agents/channels of revival for His purposes?