Words of Worth

Not “Who am I?” but “Who is God?”

October 27, 2014

imgresAsking questions is a curious activity.  In classrooms, asking good questions on the part of both the teacher and student leads to construction of knowledge. On TV, asking questions can lead to a big win on Jeopardy. In elementary school, asking questions often led to a reprimand if I didn’t raise my hand before asking, or if I raised my hand while the teacher was working with the Blue Jay reading group and not my Cardinal reading group. I cannot remember ever feeling good about someone skirting my question. But maybe it was good for me when some questions went unanswered because maybe my focus was wrong.  Like Moses.

As many times as I have read Exodus 3, I saw something for the first time the other day. In Exodus 3, God told Moses he was the man who would bring the sons of Israel out of Egypt:

Therefore, come now, and I will send you to Pharaoh, so that you may bring My people, the sons of Israel, out of Egypt.” (Exodus 3:10)

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?” (Exodus 3:11)

How humble of Moses to ask, I’ve always thought. Just 40 years before, Moses thought he knew who he was: he was a prince of Egypt and a Hebrew, God’s chosen instrument to deliver Israel. After forty years of chasing sheep around the desert, Moses didn’t have the same self-confidence that he once had. And here’s where God would answer by telling Moses all the wonderful qualities he possessed that would make him the perfect man for the job. But God doesn’t answer that way. And that’s what I noticed for the first time ever the other day.  God didn’t answer Moses. Instead, God took the focus immediately off Moses and placed it on Himself. He didn’t mention one good quality of Moses, but simply said:

Certainly I will be with you…” (Exodus 3:12)

“Who am I?” isn’t the right question; “Who is God?” is the proper question. God’s identity is always more important than ours!

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