I’ve been doing a lot of reading of and about Exodus 3 lately, Moses at the burning bush.
God reveals and explains his name to Moses. God says to Moses at that mountain, in response to Moses asking what he should say when the Israelites ask “what is his name?”:
And God said to Moses “I will be who I will be. You are to say to the sons of Israel “I will be” has sent me to you.
And God said again to Moses: “You are to say to the sons of Israel:
Yahweh, God of your fathers, God of Abraham, God of Isaac and God of Jacob has sent me to you.”
This is my name for ever, and this is my remembrance from generation to generation.”
“I will be who I will be” has puzzled many commentators. Much ink has been spilled on these verses, and maybe I’ll put more up here on that at some point. But for now, one of the more refreshing quotes I came across, from an article by Alec Motyer:
“The God whose name is ‘I will be’ is One who calls His servants to a life of faith, and who vindicates Himself and declares His nature in the event itself to the mind of the authorized interpreter of that event. He is empirically revealed. In particular, this is the message of the burning bush. Like all similar manifestations, the purpose behind the ‘flame of fire out of the midst of a bush’ was to declare the nature of God. And this is the revelation: that the God who addressed Himself to Moses is the living and indwelling God. We speak of the burning bush, but in point of fact the notable thing was that the bush did not burn. The vision is rather of the flame which needed no fuel to feed it because it contained all life within itself. So God is revealed: the One who is All-sufficiency in Himself. But such a God could be utterly remote in self-sufficient isolation; in that case He would not be the God who showed Himself ‘out of the midst of the bush’. This all-sufficient God takes up His abode in the humble, and lowly, and ordinary, and illuminates, but does not consume, them with His divine nature. Thus, He can appropriately say: ‘I will be with thee.'”
It seemed kind of appropriate as we come to Advent and remember the God who comes to be one of us. The God who comes to be our Immanuel. (God with us).