We couldn't find what you are looking for. Try searching for something else.
“And God said to Moses, ‘I am Yahweh—‘the Lord.’ I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob as El-Shaddai—‘God Almighty’—but I did not reveal my name, Yahweh, to them.’” - Exodus 6:2-3 (NLT)
My name is Allison, and as much as I wanted to adopt the “Allie” nickname in my teen years, my parents weren’t fond of it and it never stuck. My college friends, however, started calling me “Al” and it caught on strangely quickly. And though I first resented it, I have now surrendered to it as a term of endearment because of my love for the people who call me that. Our names can carry a lot.
Names in the Bible in particular are meant to reveal someone’s character - that’s why it’s so powerful when the Lord renames people, because He’s giving a new identity (like Jacob in Genesis 35). But this passage is important because it’s the first time God gives His people this name for Himself - Yahweh, which means “I Am Who I Am.”
Until now, Moses would have known God as the god of his father. But this name is more personal, and it comes with promise. This name “I Am Who I Am” means He is consistent; that whatever He is, He embodies it fully. He isn’t simply loving and just and gracious - He is love and justice and grace, and He always will be.
As you look at Moses’s story, you will quickly realize that God is constantly using this narrative to declare His faithfulness and redeem His people. But the foundation of it all starts here --- in declaring a new name and a new way to see Him as He charts a new, glorious path. God gives this personal name because He doesn’t just want distant, obedient reverence from His people. He knows us, and He wants us to know Him. His name means that the answer to all our fear and doubt boils down to who He is, and He is faithful to reveal it because He wanted redemption for us and relationship with us. In order to trust His faithfulness, we have to trust His name.
“Then the Lord asked Moses, ‘Who makes a person’s mouth? Who decides whether people speak or do not speak, hear or do not hear, see or do not see? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say.’” - Exodus 4:11-12 (NLT)
I relate to this passage so deeply every time I read it. God Himself is before Moses, laying out a grand plan, and Moses is so stuck in insecurity and fear. In fact, even as he performs miracles and watches the Lord work, at nearly every turn, he pleads “I’m not very good with words,” or “I’m a clumsy speaker” (Ex. 4:10, 6:12). Following his pleading, the Lord sends his brother Aaron with him as his speaker. God was not insensitive to Moses’s concerns, but He did see beyond them even though Moses couldn’t.
We all have our self-doubts; fears and insecurities stored up that if the Lord was to come to us and ask something of us that exposed it, we would have a lot of buts and I can’ts. So easily we forget that the Lord isn’t limited or surprised or ashamed by our humanity; He knows it deeply and He chooses us.
God is faithful to work with us and despite us -- the poor choices we may make or the abilities we naturally lack or a whole list of shortcomings. He would have worked through Moses and his insecurities with speaking - and how powerful would that have been! - but He gave what Moses was willing to accept.
All through Moses’s narrative, despite all his protests and excuses, God makes a way. We tend to assume our limitations disqualify us. But our insecurity isn’t a limit for God; it’s a vessel - it’s only our doubt that limits us.
“...‘I am the Lord. I will free you from your oppression and will rescue you from your slavery in Egypt. I will redeem you with a powerful arm and great acts of judgment. I will claim you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God who has freed you from your oppression in Egypt.’” - Exodus 6:6-7 (NLT)
Is anyone else familiar with the sacred and revered practice of our younger years, commonly known as the pinky promise? You may have also used this throughout your childhood to secure promises in an unbreakable bond; I still do this with friends on occasion when I really mean business. Maybe we haven’t grown out of this; we all want some kind of guarantee for our trust, but the reality of a fallen world dictates anything human is also fallible.
However, God rewrites the narrative. Throughout Exodus (and all of Scripture), He not only promises, and promises big, but He reassures and He delivers. This verse is one of many that speaks a promise of redemption for His people, but His people struggle to believe it; When Moses relays the message, the people are “too discouraged by the brutality of their slavery” (Ex. 6:9).
In the thick of trial or opposition or even everyday life, we can struggle to believe the truth and promise we are armed with. The story tends to play out a bit messier and more difficult than we would write for ourselves, and our experience has taught us we will be let down. How easily we forget He’s so different and exponentially better than anything we’ve known.
Scripture carries these reminders not only so that we can be confident in His promises, but so we can learn to trust His character. Our confidence comes from His faithfulness to keep His promises, not because we are guaranteed what we want, but because we know who He is and His heart for us.
“And in the future, your children will ask you, ‘What does all this mean?’ Then you will tell them, With the power of his mighty hand, the Lord brought us out of Egypt, the place of our slavery.” - Exodus 13:14 (NLT)
I, like most of you, love a good story - in movies or books or my barista’s life or any narrative the Lord is spinning through our community. We add pages daily, crafting what we think our story ought to look like. But you know what makes the best stories? The absolutely impossible.
The impossible, in God’s hands, is not a setback, but an opportunity for spectacular provision. It means we get to the end of ourselves and regardless of the outcome, we get to say, “it was only God.” The most miraculous, glory-filled stories I’ve heard all started at the end of a rope.
But we usually only see the problem in front of us, right? Our temptation in these instances will be to figure it out for ourselves rather than look at the work the Lord is doing. We think we know better. We want to avoid failure or difficulty at all cost. But what if instead of waiting until we run out of options, we come to the Lord in every day and every story and say from the beginning, “I’m more interested in Your blessing than my ingenuity” (podcast by Alex Rettmann, Make Room for the New Thing.)
This is what the Lord maps out here for His people. They only see the impossible and the struggle, but He sees a grand and glorious narrative that will exclaim His goodness and redemptive power forever. What a story to tell.
In Dallas Willard’s words, “God’s provision for us and for His work through us is adequate. We do not have to ‘make it happen.’ We must stop shouldering the burdens of ‘outcomes.’ These are safely in His hands.” Surely, the Lord asks for our efforts. But ultimately He’s more interested in our hearts and our trust; in return, we get to be more interested in His glory than our plans.
“But Moses told the people, ‘Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.’” - Exodus 14:13-14 (NLT)
I moved to Lexington shortly after graduating college and jumped into a few opportunities, all of which fell apart or I walked away from in less than six months. At the time it felt like a lot of failure, and I was in panic mode asking God why I even moved here. Surely non-coincidentally, I started working at Southland a month later. But it was only in surrender and stillness and time that I could say how I grateful I am none of my plans worked out.
Our plans tend to be a lot smaller than God’s because our view is a lot more limited. At this point in Exodus, the Israelites have escaped slavery, but are inconsolably certain they are about to die in the desert at the hands of the Egyptians chasing them. Even after God laid out the plan in full, the people panicked and insisted it would be better to return to slavery. Their view was distorted because they were so focused on the present issue.
In these moments, we are not promised understanding - the Israelites didn’t know God was about to split the Red Sea - but we are promised peace.
Most of us have become experts in busyness and stress management. But God didn’t intend this for us, and when we are distracted by our attempts to bring the provision He has promised, we lose sight of His goodness and His plan. We were never asked to put on a fake smile or “figure it out;” we were asked to abide in peace, and watch the Lord work on our behalf. As Moses says here, “just stay calm.” Other translations read, “you need only be still” (Ex. 14:14 NIV).