The God Who Is
Moses met the Living God at a burning bush in the wilderness.
Moses was there because he had fled Egypt under threat of death. He killed an Egyptian slave master who was beating a Hebrew slave, and word of it got to Pharaoh, king of Egypt. Moses met a man named Jethro and entered his service, tending his flocks. He married Jethro's daughter, Zipporah, and became his son-in-law.
Then it happened. One day Moses was tending the flock, and he noticed a bush that was burning, but not burning up. This was no artificial log in a gas fireplace. This was something miraculous. And Moses was curious, so he went over to see the fire in the bush.
As Moses approached the burning bush, God spoke to him from the midst of the fire. "Moses, do not come any closer. Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground."
God tells Moses He has seen the misery of His people and heard their cries, and He is sending Moses to deliver them from their slavery in Egypt. And Moses' reaction is basically, "Who, me? I think you've got the wrong guy, God."
As Moses and God debate whether Moses should go to Egypt to demand freedom for God's people, he asks God a question: "Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they ask me, 'What is His name?' Then what shall I tell them?"
In whose Name will deliverance come to the Hebrews, enslaved in Egypt? All the Egyptian gods have names. What is the Name of the one, true God?
God's response is confusing. God says, "I AM who I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: I AM has sent me to you." Huh? In our English translations, that answer sounds more like a riddle than an answer. It seems odd that God's driver's license would say "I AM" as His name.
But in Hebrew, "I AM who I AM" is jehov jehovah. Jehovah had not yet been understood to be God's name, but one of his attributes. Jehovah, in Hebrew, means "existent one." I am the Existent One. I am the God who exists. I am the God who really is, and not an idol made with human hands.
It is here, at the burning bush, that God takes the name His people will call him: Jehovah (or an alternate spelling/translation into English, Yahweh--same word in Hebrew). And God's name, Jehovah, means the God who is.
God takes Moses to Egypt, eventually, and uses him to deliver the Israelites from slavery. God sends ten plagues upon Egypt, leads Israel by a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, parts the Red Sea, brings water from a rock, sends manna and quail so they have something to eat and proves He really is the God who exists by His actions in their lives.
And the God who is proves He is God and proves His love for his people eventually by sending His Son, Jesus, to die a sacrificial death on a Cross for the sins of humanity. He proves who He is by sacrificial love. He proves who He is by making Himself real in our lives today, by answering prayer, and by speaking to us--not from a burning bush but from the pages of Scripture and by the whisper of His Holy Spirit.
There is only one true, living God. Jehovah--the existent One--is His name. Jesus is His Son. In Him deliverance from the slavery of sin and death is accomplished. And the God who is makes Himself real in our lives every day in response to our faith. And that is a miracle bigger than a burning bush!