Moses was born into an Israelite nation (Exodus 2:1-10) who had been experiencing tremendous persecution from the Egyptians because of Israel’s uncontrollable growth and power (Exodus 1). Pharaoh, king of Egypt, attempted to slow down their prosperity but they could not be stopped. Through a series of circumstances, Moses fled from Egypt to Midian where he took a wife and settled down as a shepherd (Exodus 2:11-25). After Moses had been living in Midian for 40 years, God remembered Israel’s hardship in Egypt and decided to take action to relieve their suffering (Exodus 2:23-25). The first step God took in releasing Israel from her bondage was to raise up a deliverer, so the following instance in Exodus 3 puts God’s plan in motion. Moses was tending to Jethro’s (also known as Reuel) flock in the desert when the Angel of the Lord (God Himself) supernaturally appears in the midst of a burning bush, although the bush was not consumed by the fire (3:1-2). Out of the bush God clearly spoke to Moses saying, “I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows. So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey…” (3:3-9). The news of God’s deliverance of Israel must have been welcomed by Moses until God revealed that Moses would become the spokesman for Israel before Pharaoh (3:10). Moses immediately objected to God’s call to be the deliverer of Israel saying that he was inadequate to carry out this mission (3:11). In response to Moses’ objection, God promised His presence and power to deliver the Israelites from Egyptian bondage (3:12); however, Moses was fearful that the Israelites would ask, “What is His name?” (3:13). Moses knew that the Israelites would not ask for the identification of the One who sent him, but rather what His name had to do with their circumstances; in other words, they wanted to know if this One who sent him cared about their hardship. ”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’” (3:14). This title for God would have demonstrated to the Israelites that their God would be with them in time of trouble as He had been with their fathers such as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (3:15).
God commanded Moses to gather the elders of Israel to inform them of their upcoming deliverance from Egyptian bondage (3:16-17) and then he was to take the elders of Israel and approach Pharaoh saying, “The Lord God of the Hebrews has met with us; and now, please, let us go three days’ journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God” (3:18). God revealed that Pharaoh would not respond to Moses’ request to let the Israelites go, so He promised to demonstrate His power against the nation of Egypt (3:19-20a). His display of power and might would cause Pharaoh to let the Israelites go (3:20b) and they would also plunder the Egyptians (3:21-22). Although the Israelites had remained in bondage to Egypt for 400 years, God was about to deliver them through his servant, Moses.
Dear God, thank You for never abandoning Your people.