Exodus 3-4New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
Moses at the Burning Bush
|The Burning Bush, Contemporary, Phillip Parham|
The Divine Name Revealed13 But Moses said to God, “If I come to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” 14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am.”[a] He said further, “Thus you shall say to the Israelites, ‘I am has sent me to you.’” 15 God also said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the Israelites, ‘The Lord,[b] the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you’:
and this my title for all generations.
Moses’ Miraculous Power
10 But Moses said to the Lord, “O my Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor even now that you have spoken to your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.” 11 Then the Lord said to him, “Who gives speech to mortals? Who makes them mute or deaf, seeing or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? 12 Now go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you are to speak.” 13 But he said, “O my Lord, please send someone else.” 14 Then the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses and he said, “What of your brother Aaron the Levite? I know that he can speak fluently; even now he is coming out to meet you, and when he sees you his heart will be glad. 15 You shall speak to him and put the words in his mouth; and I will be with your mouth and with his mouth, and will teach you what you shall do. 16 He indeed shall speak for you to the people; he shall serve as a mouth for you, and you shall serve as God for him. 17 Take in your hand this staff, with which you shall perform the signs.”
Moses Returns to Egypt18 Moses went back to his father-in-law Jethro and said to him, “Please let me go back to my kindred in Egypt and see whether they are still living.” And Jethro said to Moses, “Go in peace.” 19 The Lord said to Moses in Midian, “Go back to Egypt; for all those who were seeking your life are dead.” 20 So Moses took his wife and his sons, put them on a donkey, and went back to the land of Egypt; and Moses carried the staff of God in his hand.
21 And the Lord said to Moses, “When you go back to Egypt, see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders that I have put in your power; but I will harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go. 22 Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the Lord: Israel is my firstborn son. 23 I said to you, “Let my son go that he may worship me.” But you refused to let him go; now I will kill your firstborn son.’”
24 On the way, at a place where they spent the night, the Lord met him and tried to kill him. 25 But Zipporah took a flint and cut off her son’s foreskin, and touched Moses’[e] feet with it, and said, “Truly you are a bridegroom of blood to me!” 26 So he let him alone. It was then she said, “A bridegroom of blood by circumcision.”
27 The Lord said to Aaron, “Go into the wilderness to meet Moses.” So he went; and he met him at the mountain of God and kissed him. 28 Moses told Aaron all the words of the Lord with which he had sent him, and all the signs with which he had charged him. 29 Then Moses and Aaron went and assembled all the elders of the Israelites. 30 Aaron spoke all the words that the Lord had spoken to Moses, and performed the signs in the sight of the people. 31 The people believed; and when they heard that the Lord had given heed to the Israelites and that he had seen their misery, they bowed down and worshiped.
- Exodus 3:14 Or I am what I am or I will be what I will be
- Exodus 3:15 The word “Lord” when spelled with capital letters stands for the divine name, YHWH, which is here connected with the verb hayah, “to be”
- Exodus 3:19 Gk Vg: Heb no, not by a mighty hand
- Exodus 4:6 A term for several skin diseases; precise meaning uncertain
- Exodus 4:25 Heb his
Some questions to ponder:
1. When was the last time you felt the closeness of God? What was that feeling like?
2. "Who am I," says Moses. Have you ever felt inadequate or unworthy to take on a particular task?
3. What promise does God give Moses in 3.12?
4. God gives us this same promise in Holy Baptism; does that make you feel empowered or scared?
5. Moses has all kinds of excuses, have you ever used excuses in order to get out of a project you knew you should have been involved in?
6. In 4.13 Moses flat out says: "Please send someone else!" Have you ever done that to God?
7. What do you think was the reason for Moses reluctance?
8. Though God was not pleased with Moses he brought Aaron in to help at just the right time. Have you ever gotten help just in the nick of time?
9. In this story God reveals that he is "I AM WHO I AM," What does this say about God? (This is translated as Yahweh). Is God more like a noun or a verb?
10. What is the big story that Exodus 3 and 4 is trying to tell us?