We have been talking about Moses lately (see OT bible) page and to begin tonight I want to take you back to his first meeting with God at the burning bush (Moses part 1) when God revealed that His plan for Moses was that he should go down to Egypt and rescue the people. This being a great task that Moses had no idea he was called to do was quite a shock to Moses but he was quick thinking so he asked God what is your name? What should I call you and when I go down to Egypt who shall I say has sent me?
Ex 3: 13 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?”
14 And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” 15 Moreover God said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel: ‘The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. This is My name forever, and this is My memorial to all generations.
I AM who I AM God called Himself; this is My name to all generations He said so it is still His name today. Who is God is the question we all should ask; do I know Him and why did He put me here? The whole meaning of life question is answered for us here today. Well Moses asked all those questions too. Finally after forty years of pleasure and forty years of hardship in the desert Moses was ready to meet the God of his fathers. We saw how he met God for the first time at the burning bush; I AM the Lord, was the name God revealed to Moses from the flames; a timeless name with no beginning and no end because He is the beginning and the end. Having met God and knowing him by name only we saw Moses set off on his quest to rescue the slaves in Egypt. But he was unprepared for his second meeting with the great I AM. He needed to know God by name and by nature; he needed to know God personally before he could do anything. When the angel of God rose up against Moses he found out that God was a God who keeps his promises (read Moses part 2) and He expects all of us to keep our end of the bargain too. Moses needed to circumcise his own son according to the covenant God made with Abraham many years before. It was not good enough for Moses to go off on his quest without knowing God personally. It is the same for us we must make our relationship with God personal; it is not enough to say that we love Jesus we need to keep His commandments as he said. (Jn 15:14)
Fast forward a bit from the burning bush scene to Egypt when as you know Pharaoh has thrown the first punch in the Children of Israel’s fight for freedom and refused to give them straw for the mud bricks they had to make. The people have turned against Moses and refused to heed his words so Moses has to go to God in prayer asking why he was sent and why the situation is now worse than before he came.
In God’s answer to him he uses His name no less than 5 times in a couple of verses to focus Moses attention on who sent him not why. The great I AM sent him and no one could stand against Him if he remains focussed on that.
Moses asks Why?
22 So Moses returned to the Lord and said, “Lord, why have You brought trouble on this people? Why is it You have sent me? 23 For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has done evil to this people; neither have You delivered Your people at all.”
God’s answer to Moses.
6 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh. For with a strong hand he will let them go, and with a strong hand he will drive them out of his land.”
Focus on God not on your problems.
2 And God spoke to Moses and said to him: “I am the Lord. 3 I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty, but by My name Lord I was not known to them. 4 I have also established My covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage, in which they were strangers. 5 And I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel whom the Egyptians keep in bondage, and I have remembered My covenant. 6 Therefore say to the children of Israel:
I am the Lord;
I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians,
I will rescue you from their bondage, and
I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments. 7
I will take you as My people, and
I will be your God.
Then you shall know (Me) that I am the Lord your God who brings you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. 8 And I will bring you into the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and I will give it to you as a heritage: I am the Lord.’”
9 So Moses spoke thus to the children of Israel; but they did not heed Moses, because of anguish of spirit and cruel bondage.
In His answer to Moses God says I AM the Lord no less than five times (2,3,6,7&8). I AM the Lord He said five times to focus Moses attention on Him. Then he said, I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty, but by My name Lord I was not known to them. So God was revealing Himself as something new to Moses not just God almighty but “God The Lord” who has authority; the King of Kings and the Lord of all, even Pharaoh.
Today we recognise Jesus as the Lord of Lords and the king of kings; His last words before leaving this world were, “All authority has been given unto Me in Heaven and on Earth; go therefore and teach all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teaching them to observe all the things that I have commanded and I will be with you always even to the end of the age.” So Jesus has been given after His sinless life and subsequent death on a cross and after his resurrection from the dead; after He satisfied God with his sacrifice of Himself for the sins of all men everywhere; after all that Jesus did for us and for His Father He was given all authority in Heaven and on Earth. There is no one more powerful that Jesus therefore He is the King of all Kings. He says even today, I AM the Lord Jesus Christ; in his life here on earth there were certain things He said that have extra meaning when you realise what He is saying when He says I AM. When he uses His name I AM in this way he means I always am, I always have been and I always will be; I can be relied upon and whoever calls upon My name will not be disappointed.
- Jesus claimed while here on Earth;
- I AM… “ the bread of life”… (Jn 6: 35,41,48,51); He did not come merely to give bread but he said… I AM… “ the bread of life”… if a man eat bread he hungers again but he who eats my flesh will never hunger.
- I AM… “the light of the world”… (Jn 8: 12); He did not come merely to shed light but He said… I AM… “the light of the world”… the light shines in the darkness and the darkness does not understand it or quench it or overcome it.
- I AM… “ the door ”… (Jn 10: 9); He did not come merely to open the door but he said… I AM… “ the door”… if any man tries to enter by any other way he is a thief and a robber but If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.
- I AM … “The good shepherd”… (Jn. 10: 11-14); He did not come merely to name a shepherd but he said… I AM … “The good shepherd”… the good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
- I AM… “the resurrection and the Life”… (Jn. 11: 25); He did not come merely to raise the dead but he said… I AM… “the resurrection and the Life”… he that believeth in Me though he were dead, yet shall he live and whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die.
- I AM… “the Way, the truth and the Life”… (Jn xiv. 6); He did not come merely to point the way but He said… I AM… “the Way, the truth and the Life”… no man cometh onto the Father but by Me.
- I AM… “the true vine” (Jn 15. 1,5); He did not come merely to plant a vine but he said… I AM… “the true vine”, abide in me.
The Lord’s message was… HIMSELF; he did not come to preach the gospel he is the gospel; so the sinner who checks out and responds to Jesus’ claims about himself will not be disappointed. These claims are timeless I AM the bread; I AM the Light; I AM the Door; I AM the good shepherd; I AM the resurrection and the Life; I AM the way, the truth and the life; I AM the vine and you are the branches. I AM the Lord Jesus and you can be a branch grafted on to my vine and bear fruit that is sweet. The good news today is I AM the Lord Jesus who takes away the sins of the world; I AM, always has been, always will be, could be your Lord Jesus if you respond to Him.
What does it mean when Jesus says I AM?
When I say, “I am a builder.” Or Tory says, “I am a mechanic.” Or Jamal says, “I am an apprentice mechanic.” We mean just that, these are true statements about us and it doesn’t go much deeper than that. Unless we let our imagination go and start saying we are something we are not like “I am a doctor,” or “I am a wealthy man’ we can’t get in much trouble stating our occupation. When asked your name one can say, “I am Noni,” or “I am Sid,” or whatever your name is but it doesn’t mean that much.
God’s Name and His Nature are revealed when He uses I AM.
The statement God made when Moses asked His name at the burning bush was quite different. (Ex 3:14-15 14 And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” …This is My name forever, and this is My memorial to all generations.’) This is a statement of the nature of God not so much just the name of God. It is a true statement and reminds us that God is eternal. I AM who I AM who I AM who I AM goes on forever as God does. It is like a circle without beginning or end as God is, so His name I AM who I AM reminds us He is the beginning and the end. Taken on its own I AM is the answer to the question, “Where did God come from?” I AM, I always have been and I always will be.
When you are in trouble focus on; I AM-the Lord of the past the present and the future. I will help.
When Moses ran into trouble he returned to The Lord in prayer and God told Him five times I AM The Lord (6:2) the God of your fathers (past); then He said by my name Lord I was not known to them they knew Me as God Almighty not I AM the Lord; so this is something new to Moses never before revealed. So God is a God of the present as well as the past; and finally He said I AM the Lord; I will bring you out, I will rescue, I will redeem, I will take you and I will be your God; meaning He is the God of the future as well. Trust Me He says I will do it. Then you shall know Me that I AM the Lord yourrr God but the people did not heed Moses when he told them this. That is still what God wants today for us to know Him personally, not by name only. You may not yet believe in His Name but the Name I AM who I AM tells us He is a God of the past, the present and the future and He holds your future in His hand; if you trust Him he will rescue, He will save He will do what He says He will do you can be sure of that.
All authority in Heaven and on Earth.
Last week we saw that all authority in Heaven and on Earth has been given to Jesus (Matt 28:18-20) and in His last words He told us what to do; do all I have commanded and I will be with you He said. The things He said in His life were recorded for us to know all He commanded us to do.
There is no one more powerful than Jesus if He has been given all authority. We should take a look at what He said in His life here. We saw last week Jesus used His Name I AM a number of times in the NT; and when He uses it it is quite different from when we use our name or state our occupation.
His claims are timeless, forever, always have been, always will be. I AM the bread; I AM the Light; I AM the Door; I AM the good shepherd; I AM the resurrection and the Life; I AM the way, the truth and the life; I AM the vine and you are the branches.
I AM the Lord Jesus and you can be a branch grafted on to my vine and bear fruit that is sweet. The good news today is I AM the Lord Jesus who takes away the sins of the world; I AM, always has been, always will be, could be your Lord Jesus if you respond to Him. In fact The Lord’s message was HIMSELF; he did not come to preach the gospel he is the gospel; so the sinner who responds to Jesus’ claims about himself will not be disappointed.
I have prepared a graphic for you to help you understand what is meant when Jesus uses His name I AM in this way.