God never asked Moses to consider himself or his abilities. God implored Moses in Exodus 3:14 to consider who He is: “I am who I am.” God never tried to convince Moses that he had what it took to get the job done. He never reminded him how he had received the finest education in the ancient world. He didn’t replay the scene when Moses single-handedly drove away a crowd of shepherds, coming to the rescue of Jethro’s daughters. God never mentioned one single attribute of either Moses’ skills, life experiences, or character.
God simply asked Moses to believe Him.
When we walk methodically through the dialogue between God and Moses in the burning bush encounter at Horeb, the mountain of God, we notice a couple of striking truths. God says the following things to Moses in Exodus 3:7–10:
“I have surely seen the affliction of my people.”
“I have . . . heard their cry.”
“I know their sufferings.”
“I have come down to deliver them.”
“[I will] bring them up . . . to a good and broad land.”
“I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.”
Take a look at that list. Who is doing all the work? Whose plan and power does God invoke? Moses is simply the messenger. Yet even in this, he wavers, asking God, “Why me?”
“We will never be adequate within ourselves, but I AM will always be enough.”
God doesn’t really answer Moses’ question. He doesn’t remind Moses how he grew up in the Egyptian royal household learning both the culture and the language, so he can converse effectively with Pharaoh. He doesn’t gesture with His almighty arm reminding Moses how he has pastured flocks all over the Sinai and knows the land inside and out to effectively lead the people on the quickest route to the promised land. He doesn’t bring up Moses’ past failures, reminding him how he had tried to deliver the people years ago by his own power and plan. He doesn’t actually mention one thing about Moses’ abilities at all. Instead, God offers Moses a promise: I will be with you, and when it’s all said and done, Moses, you’ll end up right back here at Horeb, where you started. We’ll make it all the way back home again, together.
Why doesn’t God affirm Moses’ skills and background? For a guy who clearly struggles with identity and inadequacy, a few props from God would’ve been welcomed. But God doesn’t give them to him. Instead He gives Moses the promise of Himself—His presence with Moses the whole way there and back. I think the significance of God’s answer goes even deeper than just the comfort of His continual care. I think God knows Moses is really asking an even deeper question than “Why me?” Maybe what Moses really wanted to know sounded more like this:
What if I’m too afraid?
What harm will come to me?
Will they recognize me as the chosen deliverer this time? What if I blow it again?
Will I be able to cope if I face another failure?
God answers the unspoken cries of Moses’ heart, not the rash words he blurts out of his mouth. In God’s simple answer of “I will be with you,” God assures Moses of so many things.
You won’t be doing it alone this go-around, Moses.
You will make it out alive and return to this very place along with the people of Israel and worship Me here.
They will believe you and you will not fail.
The One who knows our thoughts before they are uttered on our lips knows what Moses is wondering deep down within the caverns of his heart. The promises of God pierce into the inner cries of our soul giving voice and peace to our silent fears. And it is often when these fears are spoken we can process them effectively.
If I’m honest, though, I often do what Moses did. I don’t ask God to reassure me regarding my deepest fears; instead, I bombard Him with superfluous questions, too afraid to address what I’m really feeling. And sometimes, even when God does answer the deep questions I’m too afraid to verbalize, I still swim in a sea of doubt and emotion looking for someone or something else to bring me to shore.
God’s reply did not convince Moses, so he asks God some more questions. He asks God what His name is. “If ancient cultures considered something to exist when it had a name and a function, the name of a deity is more than simply a moniker by which he or she can be invoked. It is the god’s identity and frames the god’s ‘existence.’”
Moses is trying to get to the root of who God is and what function He serves. In the ancient world of polytheism, “gods” were much different than I AM, the God of Abraham, Jacob, and Isaac who was speaking to Moses. Each had a purpose, such as overseeing the weather or crops or fertility. Moses is essentially asking God, “Okay, what exactly is Your purpose, and how trustworthy are You in fulfilling it?” The Egyptian gods of Moses’ time were not always reliable either in their actions or their character. What Moses really wants to know is if God can guarantee the outcome He has promised or not. Can he trust God to be enough?
When we face a situation in which we cannot secure the outcome, our loss of control makes us afraid. While we believe that God is all powerful and is able to deliver any outcome He so desires, we wrestle with whether or not He wills it. In other words, we believe God is able to make good on His promises, but we wonder if He is willing to be good on our behalf. Our definition of God being good usually equates to Him giving us what we really want. Is God’s character truly good even when He doesn’t give us the outcome we ask Him for?
“As Moses’ relationship with God grows, so does his confidence in God’s character.”
God’s answer to Moses’ question addresses both His capability and His character. I am who I am (Ex. 3:14). This is the same as the Hebrew “Lord” that we see written so many times in the Old Testament. It is the name that the Hebrew people would not dare utter and wrote without vowels because they held such reverence for it. It is the covenant name with Abraham: Yahweh. It means “a God who creates” in the sense of “a God who enters a relationship.” The Israelites had heard the name Yahweh before, but this function of relationship was one they had not yet experienced. It is in the context of a relationship that we become confident of one’s character.
What is God explaining to Moses? “I am the God who creates a people for Myself for the purpose of having a relationship with them.” He tells Moses that He is “the God of your fathers.” Relationship. Remember, Moses does not identify with the Egyptians, is not accepted by the Hebrews, and does not consider himself a Midianite. He longs for relationship, to understand who he is and where he belongs. Suddenly, Moses’ prospect of finally finding his identity burns through the flames of self-doubt: Yahweh has appeared, issuing His call on Moses’ life.
God, the creator of relationship, is both capable and kind. He invites us into a place of intimacy where we can become confident of His character . . . even when He secures an outcome we would not have chosen. He loves us too much to give us anything less than what is best. When God calls us to a circumstance or season of life that is out of our control, He doesn’t remind us of all the reasons we can rely on ourselves. Instead, He promises His presence will go with us and we’ll make it back home.
As you trek through Moses’ journey toward the promised land of silencing self-doubt and those nagging feelings of a fear of not being good enough, you’ll see Moses’ fear of inadequacy envelop him. Each time, God tenderly meets Moses in his moment of angst. He speaks to the fear and promises His aid. Never once does God ask Moses to focus on his own introspection, skill set, or strength. Instead, God patiently and faithfully reveals a new aspect of Himself to Moses— calming his fears and lifting his gaze above the circumstances. As Moses’ relationship with God grows, so does his confidence in God’s character.
We see God call Himself by new names, reminding Moses that He would always and forever be enough to deliver on His promises. This is the care of the great I AM. As we rest in our identity that we are chosen, called, and equipped by our loving heavenly Father, our own fear of inadequacy becomes enveloped within His mighty arms of grace. We will never be adequate within ourselves, but I AM will always be enough. He’s got this.
 John H. Walton, Ancient Near Eastern Thought and the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2006), 92.
 Ibid., 93.
by Erica Wiggenhorn
Everyone thinks you’ve got it together. But inside, you’re asking, “Am I enough?” No matter how good we look to others,...
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