Who am I? We’re all bound to ask the question at some point. Even Moses asked it the day he encountered God at the burning bush. And what’s really interesting is to see where in the dialogue Moses brings it up, and how God responds.
First, Moses’ question.
But Moses said to God, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the sons of Israel out of Egypt?” (Ex. 3:11)
God had just proclaimed to Moses that he was to lead the most astonishing mission he’d ever heard of. We could go in several directions from this point, but let’s focus on what Moses seemed to have been forgetting. For instance:
- How his life had been miraculously preserved as an infant, to be raised as a prince in the house of Pharaoh, or
- How he once cared about his Hebrew brethren who suffered under the hands Egypt’s abusive taskmasters, or
- The stories he had been told of how God preserved and raised up Joseph in Egypt to save His people, or
- That the One before him at that very moment was Almighty God.
Observing Moses in this scene, it’s easy to relate to his forgetfulness. Who doesn’t lose momentary sight of the past or notice the obvious that’s right before you in the present when suddenly God interrupts your idea of what your life is supposed to be?
Next it’s time for God to respond.
And He said, “Certainly I will be with you, and this shall be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God at this mountain.” (Ex. 3:12)
Do you notice how God doesn’t go into it with Moses? He doesn’t try to convince Moses that he is anyone other than the one He chose. Instead, God simply assures Moses that His presence will be with him throughout the mission.
It’s in the next question and response that we arrive at today’s forget-me-not.
Moses asks God for His name. And God responds,
“I AM WHO I AM,” and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, I AM has sent me to you.” God, furthermore, said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is My name forever; this is how I am to be remembered from generation to generation.” (Ex. 3:14-15)
Those two words—I AM—seem so small, so simple. Even without a word study, most Christians find no problem understanding their eternal meaning. (That it is from this name the tetragrammaton YHWH is formed, which essentially means “Presence,” is relevant to note here.)
So, what’s the forget-me-not? What’s the importance of it?
Look again at Moses’ question, “Who am I?” Look at the words God chose to reveal as His memorial-name, “I AM.” The central meaning of both is “to be.”
God proclaims to Moses who he is to be (Israel’s deliverer). In Moses’ eyes, he doesn’t see it. His state of being doesn’t match up with what God is telling him. God’s reply is simple: “Moses, you will be who you are destined to be, not because of who you are, but because of who I am.” Or, put another way, Moses can be Israel’s deliverer because God is first Israel’s deliverer. That’s how God answers the question, “Who am I?”
It’s the same for you and me. I am because He is eternally I AM. I am because of His plan, His purpose, His power, His presence.
Taking It To Another Level
Here’s where this truth gets personal for everyone. God told Moses that it is by this name He is to be remembered from generation to generation. Do we remember God as I AM, and do we remember that it is because of and within that name that we exist? The answer is probably we don’t, at least not consciously day by day, moment by moment.
Think about this, though…
- How do you respond whenever you introduce yourself to someone? “Hi, I am ….”
- What do you say to convey what you are doing or plan to do? “I am ….”
We may not realize it, but whenever we refer to who we are or what we are doing, we start by first proclaiming His memorial-name. And this is true for both those who know and follow Him as Lord, and those who don’t!
Do you see why we’re starting our forget-me-not journey from here? (From this point on, you’ll see it as forget-Me-not.) Over the next days and weeks, ask the Holy Spirit to help you take notice every time “I am” is spoken, and let it remind you to:
Forget-not our God, the great I AM, and
Forget-not who you are because of I AM
Note: I want to make certain that there is no misunderstanding in the connection that I am making between “I AM” and “I am.” It is not in any way to suggest that “I AM,” being God, means “I am” makes us gods, in whole or in part. Rather, the connection is between the Creator and those who He created in His own image and likeness (Gen. 1:26).