When we left Moses and God in Exodus 3, Moses was having an identity crisis. God’s answer to Moses’ doubt and apprehension was Himself. So Moses followed up with a pretty logical question:
Then Moses asked God, ‘If I go to the Israelites and say to them: The God of your fathers has sent me to you, and they ask me, ‘What is His name?’ what should I tell them?’
It’s probably a good idea at this point to clear up a couple of things, especially since at one time I looked at this passage and thought Moses was asking for a secret password. Like he was going to knock on the Israelites door and they would say, “If you know God’s secret name, then you can be our leader.”
Moses wasn’t trying to validate his leadership here or get God to disclose some secret information, especially since God’s name was previously known to His people. He was, however, asking the fundamental question that plagues us if we have ever been though a period of pain, doubt, and difficulty.
The significance of the name in biblical times is much greater than now. The name was the one word description of a person. It was more than a title; it was the summation of one’s personhood. So Moses was asking, “Who are you really?”
It’s a valid question. After all, Moses had been in the desert for 40 years with no communication from this so-called God. And that’s not to mention the people. Though God had promised them a land of their own and deliverance, they had been in back-breaking slavery for 400 years. Doesn’t it make sense that they would look up to the heavens with outstretched hands and say, “Are you there? Do you care? You say you are and that you do, but where are you?”
I’ve asked that question. So have you probably. It’s the fundamental question of pain – “Who are you really, God? Do you care? Are you emotionally invested in what’s happening here, or do you simply rule from heaven without care for the earth?” And God answered Moses. He answers us. He answered with the revelation of who He is and will always be…