23After a long time the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned under their slavery, and cried out. Out of the slavery their cry for help rose up to God. 24God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 25God looked upon the Israelites, and God took notice of them.
1Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian; he led his flock beyond the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire out of a bush; he looked, and the bush was blazing, yet it was not consumed. 3Then Moses said, “I must turn aside and look at this great sight, and see why the bush is not burned up.” 4When the LORD saw that he had turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” 5Then he said, “Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” 6He said further, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.
7Then the LORD said, “I have observed the misery of my people who are in Egypt; I have heard their cry on account of their taskmasters. Indeed, I know their sufferings, 8and I have come down to deliver them from the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the country of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. 9The cry of the Israelites has now come to me; I have also seen how the Egyptians oppress them. 10So come, I will send you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.” 11But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” 12He said, “I will be with you; and this shall be the sign for you that it is I who sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God on this mountain.”
13But 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?” 14God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” He said further, “Thus you shall say to the Israelites, ‘I AM has sent me to you.'” 15God also said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the Israelites, ‘The LORD, the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you’: This is my name forever, and this my title for all generations.”
God hears the groaning of his people. It can be easy to forget in times when their seems like there is so much groaning—of pain, of fear, or of callous and selfish disregard for others. We live in a world of noisy groaning. Exodus reminds us that God hears it all. In hearing, God acts. God brings Moses to Horeb, this holy mountain where God was said to be. An angel directs Moses’s attention to God, and in that moment reveals himself: “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” Through the conversation it becomes clear that God has a job for Moses. God is going to send Moses to Pharaoh so that he will free Israel. Moses then asks the question that we all would, “”Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” And really, he’s right. He’s not anyone really special. But it doesn’t matter who Moses is. It matters who God is: “I will be with you; and this shall be the sign for you that it is I who sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God on this mountain.” Whether we think of ourselves as unequal to the challenge, then—of life or struggle or grief—the assurance we have isn’t that we’re special, but that God will be with us. Isn’t that enough?
Gracious God, be with us in the comfort and communion of your Spirit. Knit your people together in love, that we might support one another through prayer and service as a sign of when you will bring us together to worship you again, together in the love of Jesus Christ. Amen.