I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. – Exodus 20:2
If someone were to ask you God’s name what would you say? Jesus? The Lord? Both would be correct. But one most people won’t get is I AM. Back when God spoke to Moses out of the burning bush, God gave his name as I AM. “When I speak to Pharaoh; who shall I say sent me?” Says Moses. “Tell him I AM WHO I AM” replies God. Later, in John’s Gospel, on seven separate occasions Jesus refers to himself as I AM. On each of those occasions Jesus teaches people something about who God is. I AM the light of the world. I AM the good shepherd. I AM the bread of life.
The Book of Exodus teaches us something about who God is as well. God’s name, I AM, has power. I AM sees our afflictions. I AM hears our cries. I AM knows our sufferings. I AM comes down to us. I AM delivers us out of bondage. I AM brings us into freedom. God, the great I AM sees, hears, and knows us; he comes, delivers, and frees us. This is who I AM is and this is what I AM does. Just look at Exodus chapter 3!
You see, back at the beginning of time I AM created the heavens and the earth. I AM hovered over the waters. I AM spoke and things started to happen; light shined out of darkness, creepy things crawled, life happened. Here in Exodus I AM comes down and Pharaoh is defeated, the raging waters of the Red Sea were pushed back, water flowed from a rock, manna and quail came from the sky. Why? because I AM was here.
I imagine that being one of the Israelites on the day I AM parted the sea wasn’t easy. You see, in ancient times water represented chaos, the unknown, the uncontrollable. With the great and powerful Egyptian army bearing down on them I AM makes a way where there is none. But its a way through the sea out into the barren, unknown, wilderness we call a desert. “You want me to go through there? Out into that place?” It couldn’t have been easy nor must it have been pleasant. Often I AM’s work in our world on our behalf isn’t easy, or pleasant, or even something we desire. The way that he makes for us is through chaos…the place we’re called to walk through is inhospitable. Yet all the time there is God…there is I AM. He sees us and hears us. He knows us and comes to us. He delivers us and frees us.
For the Israelites he parted the sea and made a way through the desert. For his chosen people he gave them a law to follow, water from a rock, and manna and quail for nourishment. In Jesus, I AM delivered us from sin, freed us for eternal life and service to others. He teaches us with his word and nourishes us with his sacraments. What great need does I AM see in your life today? What cries of yours does he hear? I Am knows your sufferings. He comes to you…again and again this is what Scripture teaches us. Amen, thanks be to I AM! How are you being delivered…into what freedom is I AM leading you? What chaos do you see all around you? Into what wilderness are you looking? Fear not, for I AM is with you! He holds back the chaos and directs you through the wilderness. He provides for you what you need, when you need it, for as long as you need it. So, whatever is going on with you, when people ask what your plan is, what you’re going to do…just tell them I AM.