Here I Am

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Here I Am Exodus 3:1-6,9-12

When Moses saw the burning bush up on the mountain, he approached it and saw that though it was burning, it was not being consumed, or destroyed. It was no natural fire he witnessed, but something supernatural. “The Angel of God appeared to him in the shape of a flame of fire, coming from the middle of the bush.” Then Moses heard the very voice of God, “Moses, Moses!” And Moses responded, “Here I am.” And God said, “Come no closer. Take off your shoes, for the place on which you stand is holy ground. I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. I have heard the cry of my people, I have seen their misery…I send you to Pharaoh to tell him to set my people free.” Moses said, “Who am I to do such a thing?” And, “But if they ask for your name, what shall I tell them?” And God said to Moses, “I Am who I Am. Tell the sons of Israel that I Am has sent me to you.”

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If you have been reading carefully, you will have noticed the verb “to be” has been expressed here, both in Moses’ response to God’s call, and in God’s own revelation of his name. Those who have studied any language will remember that the first verb that is taught is the verb “to be.” This is the most fundamental verb in any language. It is the ontological predicate, it is the very recognition of reality. While the term recognizes both “being” and “reality,” when God uses the term, it reveals a much more profound meaning of being and reality. When Moses says, “I am here,” he is stating a fact based on observable space and time. When God says, “I Am who I Am,” he is stating something far greater than a mere recognition of space and time. His “I Am” encompasses and surpasses the fullness of reality, it transcends all time and all space. He is saying I Am the the Being out of which all existence comes to be and is sustained. I Am the cause of all that is. I Am that to which all time, space and existence owes its being.

Christians know that God is the Ground of Being, that he made all that is seen and unseen, that it is I AM who, “created my inmost being, who knit each one of us together in our mother’s wombs. (Psalm 139:13) Like Moses we are humbled by this knowledge. We know that we are nothing without God. Like Moses, we too, are stunned that God wants us to serve his people in the here and now. Like Moses, we are fearful when we contemplate the risks of doing what God asks us to do in this world so full of cynicism, ignorance and even hatred. But we know, too, as Moses was reassured by God on that mountain, that God will always be with us. We know that he has charged us to be his instruments for good. We know that he knows the dangers and toils we will face. And we know that in his asking us to do this there is also the promise that he will always be with us. He will never abandon us. Let us, then, live each day in this faith. For HE WHO IS will always and everywhere be with us, now and forever. Amen!

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Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site blog.