By Sue Berry.
Proper 17, Sunday 30th August 2020, Readings: Matthew 16:21-28, Romans 12:9 – 21, Exodus 3:1 – 15, Psalm 105:1-6,23 – 26, 45b
This week’s Old Testament reading highlights the story of Moses meeting God at the burning bush. For forty years Moses has lived a nomadic lifestyle, he raises a family, works for Jethro and tends and herds the sheep. A far cry from forty years earlier as a Prince in the court of Pharaoh from which he fled.
All that is about to change through an encounter with the Living God. On a day like any other he has taken the flock to the far side of the desert to search for watering holes and pasture. Wilderness terrain and its extremes are part of the daily experience. Life is fragile in this environment and experience is needed to traverse it. Moses prepares himself for the next part of his journey collecting the flock and walking through the Wadi’s towards the bottom of the great mountain.
Suddenly something catches his eye a bush is on fire it remains alight. He turns aside to look at this sight more intently. God sees Moses’s response. As Moses walks towards the bush he hears his name called out loud from the bush itself. Moses responds with the words “Here I am.” Moses is told to stop and take off his shoes as he’s standing on holy ground. The enormity of the occasion begins to dawn on him.
God tells Moses He is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, who has observed the misery and suffering of His people and that He intends to deliver them to a good land of abundance, flowing with milk and honey.
Moses’s task is to go back to Pharaoh and bring the people out of the land of Egypt but he begins to give God reasons why he can’t do this. However, God has a plan and Moses is part of it. God tells Moses who He is
“I AM WHO I AM.”
This is my name forever, and this my title for all generations.
It’s a declaration of who God is. He is giving humankind the opportunity to receive the covering, protection and blessing that His name provides. It’s an invitation for relationship.Nowhere is that desire for relationship more evident to us than in His desire to send His Son Jesus Christ to earth to make a way for us to have a relationship with him. Whoever believes in Jesus and what He has done for us will not perish but have eternal life.
The cross was and is a door to heaven, a door to enter and come to the Father through, bringing us into a relationship with Him. God loves to draw near to His children and give them the benefits of His name. The Israelites were to come to know God through His name. He was their Deliver, their Healer. their Provider, their Peace, their Mighty Warrior and much more. God describes Himself to Moses in Exodus 34: 6 and 7 as being merciful, long suffering abounding in goodness, forgiving sin. He was their shield and their great reward.
John in his gospel tells us of the seven I AM’s of Jesus, who used them to speak about himself.
When God speaks about himself as I AM it means I will be everything you need.
Each and everyone one of us has needs, He can speak into our individual situations…..
I AM your Healer
I AM your Provider
I AM Your Wonderful Counsellor
I AM the Almighty
I AM your Comforter
I AM your Deliverer
I AM your Shepherd
That name never changes. There are many names for God many wonderful names. He will always be all we need if we let Him.
Each time we pray the Lord’s prayer we remember this.
Take one of God’s names and worship Him, thank Him and meditate upon it in His word.
This reflection can only give a glimpse of the I AM of God.
My prayer is that it will give you a hunger to know more.
We praise you and thank you there is none like you.
You created each one of us to worship and be in communion with you.
As we draw near to You, You will draw near to us.
Help us to discover more of who you are.
And in so doing share your love with others.
We ask this now in the precious name of Jesus. Amen