Exodus 3:14 – God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”

I’ve heard of short names before. Tom. Bob. Abe. You get the idea.

Short names don’t necessarily mean the names have special meaning. Assuredly, short names don’t set a flame within a bush without consuming the bush. 

I AM.

A profound short name. It has life-giving, life-sustaining, bush-burning authority.

This I AM statement in Exodus 3:14 took place as Moses, keeping the flock of his father-in-law, came to Horeb, the mountain of God. This passage details that the angel of the Lord appeared to Moses through a burning bush. Attention grabbing. This “great sight” was even more profound because the flame did not consume the bush.

It caught Moses’s attention.

Moses did not appear to be frightened. Nor did Moses understand the Author of the flame. Moses was unaware he stood upon holy ground.

God called to Moses out of the bush. He proclaimed his holiness and pointed to the eternal essence of his nature. Moses hid his face in fear.

God then revealed how Moses fit into this burning bush demonstration. God declared His intent to free Israel from their oppression in Egypt–his plan to have Moses approach Pharaoh and ultimately lead the Israelites out of Egypt.

Moses had at least a few questions.

If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, “The God of your fathers has sent me to you,” and they ask me, “What is his name?” what shall I say to them? (Exodus 3:13)

That’s when the mind boggling, authoritative NAME announcement from Exodus 3:14 rings out in power. I AM WHO I AM. God instructed Moses to tell the Israelites that the I AM sent him. 

I haven’t been to seminary, nor do I have a strong grasp on the historical origin of names. Yet God has allowed me to understand that this short profound identification of himself proclaims his eternal nature. His ultimate authority.

I struggle to digest God’s eternal nature. His authority. Perhaps Moses struggled to digest this as well. God continued on, in verse 15, to clarify His existence — The Lord, the God of your fathers… This is my name forever….

I have not experienced God’s voice through the unique experience of a burning bush that doesn’t burn. My mind begs the question, “What was the purpose of the burning bush? Was there more to it than letting Moses in on his role in freeing the Israelites?”

Perhaps the purpose was the revealing of God’s eternal nature and ultimate authority so that Moses could trust the I AM with the obstacles he would face in leading the Israelites out of Egypt. Perhaps the I AM displayed his power and authority over all things, including a flame that doesn’t consume a bush, to strengthen Moses’s trust for the journey ahead.

Though it’s intriguing to think about the possible purpose, how do I make this burning bush demonstration in Scripture personal? Moses was given a big gulp of responsibility from this burning bush experience. He spent much of Exodus 4 seeking affirmations from God about his role. Moses also tossed in seemingly viable excuses.

Why? The task he was given was daunting, dangerous, insurmountable.

My personal application: What in my life is daunting, dangerous, insurmountable?

I have my list. I’ve needed affirmation. I’ve offered excuses.

I shall not fully comprehend the I AM until I behold him. Yet I have needed to trust the Author of the burning flame. He has given me my own “burning bushes” to reveal himself, and he strengthens my trust along this sometimes-arduous life journey.

 He has proven trustworthy. I praise and proclaim his forever name.

I AM.


Kelly Packard began attending Faith in 1997. She loves affirming the promises of God from his Word through writing. Kelly has spent her professional career as a college/pro women’s basketball coach. In May 2020, Kelly and her husband Rich and their son Evan launched Living Hope Mountain Respite, a ministry geared toward helping couples who have lost a child. In her leisure time, she enjoys her family and friends, drinking coffee and exercise. 

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