Yahweh and Our Identity Crisis

Yesterday morning, our pastor dealt with the section of Exodus 3 about God’s revelation of the divine name. So at the risk of plagiarism, I’m going to do a blog series throughout this week and draw from some of the stuff he said.

To set the context, remember that Moses is now 80 years old. 80 years – that’s 40 years he spent as a prince of Egypt, and then another 40 spent as a shepherd in the desert. After those 40 long years, Moses came upon an incredible sight – a bush on fire but was not burning up. And God spoke out of the bush, telling Moses that he was going to be sent to Pharaoh as the deliverer of the Israelites. Moses response? “Are you kidding me?”

So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”But Moses said to God, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.”

This is really interesting, especially because Moses is having an identity crisis. He’s a long way from the brash young man who killed an Egyptian 40 years ago. Gone is the self-confidence. Gone are the assumptions about who he was. Now he’s just a shepherd. He’s just a nomad. He’s just a regular guy. So it’s no wonder he asks, “Who am I to do this thing?”

As Pastor Scott pointed out, we often have the same issue, or at least we should: “Who am I to teach this passage? Who am I to raise these children? Who am I to deal with this life circumstance?”

God, in an almost maddening way, answers Moses question with a statement that really doesn’t answer his question at all. In response to Moses’ doubts, God says, “I will be with you.”

We can take from that, I believe, that God Himself is the answer to our own identity crises. We have self-doubt, questions, and apprehensions, and God Himself is the answer. Or to put it another way, our fundamental identity must be rooted in who He is, rather than who we are.

That’s where it all starts. We must first see ourselves in our relationship to God, not as teachers, doctors, students, janitors, or preachers. The first question is not, “Who am I?” but “Who are You?” Fortunately, God goes on in the coming verses to speak to that issue as well…

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