Vicar Matt Doebler
Matins Devotion: March 28, 2023
The call of Moses is a strange story if you think about it. Here Moses is on the backside of the desert. He’s now eighty years old. The last forty of those years have been spent laying low from his criminal past—working as a farm hand for his father-in-law. Whatever ambitions Moses had once had. However he had once envisioned his life working out. Those fantasies were, by now, long forgotten. Dried up and turned to dust along with everything else that he could see out here in this wilderness.
Except...Except for that bush over there. The one that seems to be burning, but isn’t burning up. Better go check it out.
The burning bush turns out to be much more than that, of course. As Moses approaches, the Lord himself speaks from the midst of the flame. The Lord calls Moses by name. The Lord reveals his plan to rescue his people from their slavery in Egypt. And then the Lord commissions Moses as his prophet.
Now what makes this story so strange is not every detail up to this point. You and I would like think that if we were in Moses’ sandals that a supernatural fire and the voice of the Lord would be enough of a sign. We would like to think that we would immediately spring into action. That we would immediately turn towards Egypt and not stop walking until we saw the pyramids.
But not Moses. He wants to see some ID. He asks God for his name.
“I AM WHO I AM.” Is the reply he receives. Another way to translate this is “I am the one who is” or “I am the Be-ing One.” But no matter how you translate it, it’s so much more than a name. It’s a theological statement of who God is. His nature. His authority. His power. His presence.
God is not “I was” or “I will be.” He is. Right now. He is present with his people—even though they can’t see him—remember what we’re told? “God heard their groaning, God remembered his covenant, God saw the people—his people—and God knew.” God is the one who is.
Jesus got it. He is the prophet greater than Moses. Like Moses, he is sent to rescue God’s people, but unlike Moses, Jesus doesn’t stall. Doesn’t object. Doesn’t ask his Father for ID. He and the Father are one. And so, Jesus shows us the Father. Jesus shows us the One Who Is by showing us who he is. When Jesus is saying, “I am…” that’s exactly what he’s doing.
I am the bread of life.
I am the light of the world.
I am the good shepherd.
I am the door.
I am the resurrection and the life.
I am the way, the truth, and the life.
I am the true vine.
Every “I am” is Jesus telling us who God is. Who he always is. What he is always doing. For Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. For his people. For you.
God is. God is seeing. God is knowing. God is loving. God is acting. God is moving. God is forgiving. God is redeeming. God is never absent from the present. God’s mercy is never lacking for right now. God’s salvation is never for yesterday or tomorrow—but always for today. Today is the day of salvation. Today, God is for you.
Because that’s his name. That’s who he is. That’s his name forever.