By Rev. Matt Jury, pastor of Grace Bible Chapel, York Springs, PA.
Exodus 3:14 God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.'” (NASB)
You carry some form of identification every day everywhere you go: a driver’s license, a social security card, a security badge to enter a building, etc. The ID card proves your identity.
God shows us His ID card in our text. God speaks to Moses from the burning bush on Mt. Horeb, telling him to return to Egypt to lead his people Israel from bondage. Keenly sensing his exile, Moses naturally wonders upon what authority he would claim to lead. Moses asks God who he should say had sent him.
God tells Moses the foundational truth upon which all other truth rests. God declares: “I am that one who calls himself the I am.”
What does “I am” mean? The simple, present tense verb speaks a profound truth everyone can easily understand. God exists. No matter what anyone else thinks or says, God is, and He exists in the present.
You and I are creatures of the past or the future. The present lasts as long as the period at the end of this sentence. For us the present is a future thing that suddenly becomes the past with the blink of an eye.
God reckons time much differently. God is self-existent, uncreated and uncaused. There was never a time when He did not exist, and there will never be a time when He will not exist. God exists eternally in the present. For this reason a thousand years are like yesterday as God reckons time (Psalm 90.4). God constantly exists in the present.
“I am” means that who God is and what He does remains unaffected by anything we are or do. Yet we find a verse that tells us that God is pleased with us even though nothing we do or say can change Him.
Hebrews 11.6 says: “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” (NASB) The foundation of faith lies in the truth that God exists and has made Himself known to us.
We must believe the truth that God spoke to Moses on Horeb — “I am.” Faith says: “I believe that the God who revealed Himself is a good God who will reward me when I want to know Him.”
We do not have a burning bush like Moses, but Hebrews 1.1-3 tells us that God has revealed Himself to us in His Son Jesus Christ. Jesus Himself said that belief in Him was also faith in God (John 12.44; 14.1). No one can believe God unless He believes in Jesus Christ (John 14.6).
What makes such faith a motivating reality in your life? Let me answer the question with a question. Have you ever felt like you just cannot seem to make anyone happy? In the world of government, no one ever seems to be happy about some piece of legislation or other. Businesses constantly pursue chronically dissatisfied customers in the hope that
they will be happy with a product or service. If the customer is not happy, they just go somewhere else to do business.
Sometimes pleasing others seems like an exercise in futility. If you stood on your head and spit out fifty dollar bills, people would still complain that they came out upside down. Sometimes we think that way about God. “I know God loves me, but is He happy with me? Is He pleased with me? I hope He is, but I just don’t know for sure.”
Nothing pleases God more than genuine faith in Him and His Son, but we seem to find that concept too simple to grasp. Thinking faith is not enough, we effectively say to ourselves: “I can make the great unchangeable I AM love me more if I just go to church, read my Bible, pray, etc.,” as if He doesn’t already love us with eternally unchangeable
love. We please God when we simply trust that He is and that He demonstrated His ultimate, loving goodness in and through Christ. We then sense God’s pleasure not by tangible perceptions but by faith.
Rest in the glory of the truth that genuine faith in God pleases Him. Don’t stop doing what you know God requires, but allow God’s pleasure in your faith to motivate you to live as His child.
Consider this: I know God loves me, but do I know AND understand that God is pleased with me when I have simple, genuine faith in Him and His Son?