Saturday, 27 February 2010

I am not but I know I AM

Who am I? What is my identity? The first time we find someone in the Bible asking that question is in the third chapter of Exodus. In this chapter, God reveals Himself to Moses out of the burning bush and tells him that he is chosen by God to deliver the Israelites from their bondage in Egypt:

Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt. (Exodus 3:10)

Moses immediate reply is,

Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt? (Exodus 3:11)

Who am I? This is actually more a rhetorical question than anything else. What Moses is really saying is, "I am not fit enough for this great task. Surely I am not the right person to do this. I don't have the necessary courage, strength or ability to do this. I am a nobody."

It is interesting to note God's answer to Moses. He does not tell him, "No, Moses, you are the man! You have great qualities. You received an excellent education in the house of Pharaoh. You are a trained military leader. You showed that you are in charge when you killed that Egyptian. Nobody can stand against you. You are amazing! You must believe in yourself!"

None of that. In fact, God never really directly answers Moses' question
"Who am I?". Instead, He says,

Certainly I will be with thee; and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee: When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain. (Exodus 3:12)

God's answer to Moses' question "Who am I?" is "I will be with you." God does not in any way contradict Moses' own assessment of himself as a nobody. But He gives him this amazing assurance: "I will be with you." This is all that matters. I doesn't matter who you are. It doesn't matter that you see yourself as incapable. It does not even matter that you are incapable. With God, all things are possible. You and God make a majority in any given situation. In fact, God alone makes a majority. He is in sovereign control over all things. He is with you. Just trust in His power, not your own.

God then for the first time reveals His personal name: "I AM" (Exodus 3:13-14). God is the self-existent One. He has no beginning and no end. He has no need of anything. He is the ultimate and greatest reality in the universe. And He is the One who says to Moses, "I am with you."

Based on this promise, Moses obeys God's command and goes to Pharaoh to tell him to let the Israelites go. Initially, there is a setback, and things only seem to get worse, so that Moses asks God, "Why did you ever send me?" (Exodus 5:22, ESV). But God knew what He was doing and used Moses in a mighty way to fulfill His purposes and bring glory to His name.

I am not.

I am not able.

I am not sovereign.

I am not God.

I am a nobody.

But I know I AM.

Even though I am not, I know the One who calls Himself "I AM".

I know the self-existent, eternal, all-powerful God.

And I know that He is with me.

That is all that matters.

I am not but I know I AM.

How about you? Do you know who you are? Do you recognise that you have nothing good in you apart from God?

If you are a Christian, God has given you a similar command to go. Before ascending to heaven, Jesus Christ told His followers,

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. (Matthew 28:19-20)

This is an enormous task that still applies to all of Christ's followers today. We might ask ourselves the same question as Moses did: "Who am I that I should go?" And God gives us the same answer. Christ introduced this command by saying,

All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. (Matthew 28:18)

And immediately following the Great Commission, He gave us this promise:

I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. (Matthew 28:20b)

What a great promise! Yes, you can fulfill God's great purposes on earth and bring glory to His wonderful name! But you cannot do so in your own strength. You must recognise that you are nothing and trust fully in Jesus Christ and in His power working in you and through you. In this way, all the glory goes to Him.

I am not but I know I AM.

Do you know I AM?

("I am not but I know I AM" is the title of a book by Louie Giglio.)


Cande said...

Hola, sólo quería felicitarte por tu blog, lo descubrí hace unos días y me parece muy interesante. Precisamente este post me ha venido muy bien y en general todo el blog, aunque no lo he leído completamente, pero sí bastante. Sobre todo me gusta el respeto y el optimismo con el que te expresas, es algo que hoy en día no abunda. Espero que cuando estés de misiones sigas mostrando el mismo respeto allá donde vayas, estoy segura de que lo harás. Que Dios te bendiga.

(escribo en español porque mi inglés no es lo suficientemente bueno, estoy intentando mejorarlo...)

Michael said...

Muchas gracias! Me alegro oír cuando las cosas que yo pongo en mi blog son una bendición por alguién. Ciertamente han sido de bendición por mí y por esto me da gozo compartirlas en esta manera.

MichaelLJ said...

Hello Michael,

interesting thoughts about this classic true story.

Sometimes self esteem is really low, I think "I am not but I know I AM" is a good thing to remember when difficulties arise while walking in God's ways.