But Moses protested, “If I go to the people of Israel and tell them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,’ they will ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what should I tell them?”
God replied to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. Say this to the people of Israel: I AM has sent me to you.” God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel: Yahweh, the God of your ancestors—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.
This is my eternal name, my name to remember for all generations.
In our verses today Moses meets God in the flames of a bush that burns, but isn’t consumed. God has an important job for Moses to do. He is to be the catalyst that begins the process of liberating God’s people. But Moses isn’t so sure he is up for the job. He doesn’t think the people will listen to little old Moses, so he asks God who he should tell the people sent him. God’s response is “I am who I am”, tell them “I am” sent you. This is a strange response in our western understanding but takes on new meaning if we look to the language it was written in. The Hebrew translation of “I am who I am” is ehyeh asher ehyeh. Ehyeh in Hebrew is the first person singular form of the verb to be.
God’s description of himself as “I am” is the ultimate expression of self-existence. There is no qualifier of time or space in “I am.” He is ever present and unchanged by circumstances or people. He is…always has been…always will be. How does knowing that we are created and loved by “I am” – the one who is and will be and never changes – change the way you see yourself? Our prayer is that no matter who you see yourself as now…or a year from now, that you can rest in the idea that since the beginning of time you have been loved by an unchanging, merciful and grace-filled God who promises to continue to love you no matter what.