søndag 26. oktober 2014

Exodus 5:22-7:7 Our salvation depends on the LORD, not on us

Exodus 5:22-7:7

I don’t like today’s passage.

There is a part of me that rises up in great anger when I read today’s passage.

Because I want to be God in my life. I am me. I am independent. I am the captain of my destiny. No-one tells me what to do.

And this passage is all about GOD’S sovereignty.

But I love this passage.

Because God is sovereign, and I am not. Because my rebellion against him is forgotten, dealt with by him on the cross – not because I deserve it, or earned it, but because it is his nature to forgive. And because he is sovereign, because HE is God and I am not, he can override my sinful choices and compel me to come to him and be saved.

My pride might say I hate this passage. But I say, shut up, pride, for you are a fool. For this passage gives me eternal life!

1. I am the LORD, the sovereign God

2. I am the LORD God almighty. You are not.

3. I am the LORD, your saviour

1. I am the LORD, the sovereign God

Last week ended pretty badly, didn’t it. Pharaoh was angry, the Israelites were much worse off, now having to make bricks without the straw they needed to make bricks (and then being beaten for not making the bricks “it’s not our fault!”). Moses and Aaron are rejected by the Israelites for making them “stink” before Pharaoh. And Moses, the great hero of the Old Testament, the saviour of Israel… well he’s in a pit of despair and doubt.

How quickly we abandon the word of God! As soon as we run into trouble, we fall away.

But why? Why do we fall away? Isn’t it when things don’t go the way we had planned? That’s what we define as trouble isn’t it? Things didn’t go according to plan. But who’s plan? God’s plan? Or OUR (much better) plan.

Moses is in despair because things didn’t go the way HE wanted. Listen to his words Ex 5:22–23 Then Moses went back to the LORD and protested, “Why have you brought all this trouble on your own people, Lord? Why did you send me? 23 Ever since I came to Pharaoh as your spokesman, he has been even more brutal to your people. And you have done nothing to rescue them!”

The tone is accusatory, hostile. And he’s not so much worried about “the people” – he’s worried about him “Why did you send…ME”. I was having a nice quiet life in the middle of the desert – now you dragged me out here, nearly killed me on the way, put me in front of Pharaoh – only to make a fool out of me, and make everyone hate me.

And you’ve done nothing!!

Actually, God has done exactly what he said he would do. Remember a couple of weeks back, to 4:21 And the LORD told Moses, “When you arrive back in Egypt, go to Pharaoh and perform all the miracles I have empowered you to do. But I will harden his heart so he will refuse to let the people go.

We read sentences like “I will harden his heart” and we give a little nervous laugh, and a little cough, because this doesn’t fit in with our mental picture of God – and then we ignore it. Or try to explain it away. It’s unfair we say. Unfair? For God to pronounce judgement on a sinful, brutal, evil ruler like Pharaoh?

Many people, even Christians (especially Christians?) get very offended with the idea of God’s sovereignty. The idea that God is in control. That God decides.

The reason we struggle with that doctrine (idea or teaching), even though it is fundamental to our faith, should be painfully obvious to all of us who are Christian. The reason we struggle with it is that we want to be God! WE want to decide our fate (and indeed, the fates of others).

And so we simply filter what we want to hear. Moses heard “rescue” and “miracles” and power and prestige. God promised all that – but also hardship and refusal and a battle between Pharaoh and God that would reveal God’s glory. Moses ignored that bit.

It’s kind of like when Jesus said he would go to Jerusalem (yes, yes, to rescue your people, yes. Glory and power and all that) - well, not quite – more like my death, but don’t worry, I will conquer death and rise again. Yes, they say – and the first thing they do is say “I’d like to be on your right hand in the kingdom” – the position of power! They just… filtered away… his words about suffering and death. So they were shocked, SHOCKED, when he died. How could this happen.

Like Moses. Pharaoh will be hard-hearted and not let the people. And Moses is shocked, SHOCKED.

Like us. We live in a sinful world, as sinners, surrounded by sinners. We know we are not God. We know we are not in the new Creation. And we are shocked, SHOCKED, by hardship, or difficulties. Shocked when God calls us to lay aside our lives. To live self-sacrificially. To love the unlovable. To forgive deep, real, hurts. To pour out our lives in service to him. But what about ME and MY plans.

There is a God. You are not Him.

There is a version of the gospel which has been filtered to suit our comfortable Western existence. It is called the prosperity gospel (herlighetsteologi) – that God is on our side, that he will make us healthy and wealthy. That he will fulfil our dreams and grant us our deepest desires. Notice the focus? Me. Me. Me. My dreams. My desires. My health. My wealth. That’s not the gospel – that’s the American Dream – actually that’s insulting the American Dream, because that involves hard work – this is the American DayDream! Just have faith and God the magic genie will give it to you.

God is not there to do our will. We were made, by Him, to do His will. We are his servants – he is not ours. To disobey him is to rebel against the power at the centre of the universe, and is a foolish thing indeed. Pharaoh rebelled, and look at v 1! Then the LORD told Moses, “Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh. When he feels the force of my strong hand, he will let the people go. In fact, he will force them to leave his land!” 2 And God said to Moses, “I am Yahweh—‘the LORD.’

God is God. The Lord is the Lord. There is only one God.
Moses, God is God. Not you.

Daniel, God is God. Not you.

2. I am the LORD God almighty. You are not.

There’s a big puzzle in this story, and that’s vv14-25 – the random genealogy (list of names). Let’s have a break here and bore you to death with a list of births and deaths! Just as the story’s getting interesting.

That might be just a clever literary device. God has just said “I am the LORD” and v13 The LORD commanded Moses and Aaron to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt. Ooh, the stage is set – and then we cut away to this list of names. It’s like an advertising break at a crucial point in a TV program. “And the murderer is….” Pause. Fade to black. “Buy our nappies”… argh!

But I suspect it’s more than just old style “advert break”. This list of the ancestors of some of the clans of Israel has been deliberately placed here, and the names carefully selected. Why?

That’s a question you should be asking when you read the Bible, and it’s a big part of my job in explaining it. Why? Why is it said like this? Why is it said here? It’s a surprise, and surprises should make us sit up and concentrate. A bit like Jesus’ surprising the apostles with “I’m going to Jerusalem…” (yes, yes, to be crowned King!) “…to die”. Huh? But they dismissed it – it didn’t fit with their framework – their preconceived ideas of God and the world – and so they ignored his word. Oops. And missed out on the very reason he came, the central work of Jesus, the message they would spend their lives proclaiming and die for: Christ crucified – the righteous who died for the unrighteous (us) to bring us to God.
Watch for the surprises… and allow God to shape your framework, instead of trying to shape God to fit your framework. If you don’t let the Bible shape your view of God, you will eventually find that you are worshipping a lie – a God made in your own image – a Jesus who does not exist – an idol. And that is extremely dangerous.

So, why the genealogy? Why only 3 sons of Israel? Why these sons? Why these families?

Well, let’s examine it. 14 These are the ancestors of some of the clans of Israel: The sons of Reuben, Israel’s oldest son, were Hanoch, Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi. Their descendants became the clans of Reuben. 15 The sons of Simeon were Jemuel, Jamin, Ohad, Jakin, Zohar, and Shaul. (Shaul’s mother was a Canaanite woman.) Their descendants became the clans of Simeon. 16 These are the descendants of Levi, as listed in their family records:

The author is not really interested in the descendants of Rueben and Simeon, is he? He mentions them only to get to Levi – because that’s Moses and Aaron’s clan. So why mention them at all? It’s to point out that Levi is not even the firstborn. He’s not the most important son. He’s down the list. Number 3. Then we get the sons of Levi Gershon, Kohath, Merari. Again, Moses and Aaron are not even from the firstborn of Levi. They are number 2.

The point is this: Moses, and Aaron his brother, are not anything special. They’re just ordinary guys, from an ordinary family, from an ordinary tribe. They have no special skills, no special promises, no special position in life (and even if they did, Moses showed how quickly you can mess that up: from the palace to the desert in one easy move!).

They are ordinary.

Actually, not even that. Reuben lost his birthright because of sexual sin. Simeon and Levi ransacked an entire town, murdering everyone out of revenge for their sister Dinah being assaulted. Moses and Aaron’s parents did something forbidden in the law: Amram married Jochebed his father’s sister. Korah, mentioned in v24, was the one who rebelled against Moses and who was swallowed up by the ground in Numbers 16.

Their family line is a mess. Rebellion and evil all over the place. There is nothing special about them.

But God.

God has called Moses, and together with him, Aaron, to be part of his salvation work. This whole story is God’s initiative – from the baby floating in the river to growing up in the Palace, to fleeing to the desert, to seeing the Burning bush – all to bring him to this point: The Aaron and Moses named in this list are the same ones to whom the LORD said, “Lead the people of Israel out of the land of Egypt like an army.” 27 It was Moses and Aaron who spoke to Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, about leading the people of Israel out of Egypt.

You know, you might be sitting there thinking “God could never use me, I’m not qualified. I’m no good at this. I’m born into the wrong family. I don’t have this skill or that skill. God can’t use me.” Guess what? You’re wrong! God doesn’t need the skilled, or those born into the right family, or with power, or connections. He can provide all that, if necessary. He is sovereign, after all. Your job is to simply be obedient. 7: 6 So Moses and Aaron (eventually) did just as the LORD had commanded them.

To share a personal story - I felt the same way when God called me to plant this church. Ridiculous, I said, I’m the wrong person for the job. I’m an accountant, for goodness sake. I don’t have these skills, or these, etc. And yet here we stand, 2 years old, God’s grace evident throughout this congregation. God is the difference. He works in our weakness.

But I also want to talk to those of us here who don’t really know God. If you’re sitting there thinking “God can’t accept me”, or “Daniel, if you really knew me and what I have done, you wouldn’t be saying that God can use me, God can accept me”. Well, you’re wrong. The whole Bible is story after story of God accepting the unacceptable. So if you’re unacceptable to God, you’ve got good company: Moses, Aaron, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, the apostles Peter, John, Paul, for example!

Why? Because

3. I am the LORD, your saviour

6:6 “Therefore, say to the people of Israel: ‘I am the LORD. I will free you from your oppression and will rescue you from your slavery in Egypt. I will redeem you with a powerful arm and great acts of judgment. 7 I will claim you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the LORD your God who has freed you from your oppression in Egypt.

God is in the business of saving people. And did you see why he saves people? It’s a repeated saying, again and again. It’s there in v6 “I am the LORD”

Notice that LORD is in capital letters. This indicates the letters YHWH or Yahweh (or older translations had Jehovah). It is his name – his personal name revealed to Israel.

The reason he saves is because he is the LORD, Yahweh. He saves because that’s who he is. That is his character, his very nature.

That’s what v2-3 means: And God said to Moses, “I am Yahweh—‘the LORD.’ 3 I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob as El-Shaddai—‘God Almighty’—but I did not reveal my name, Yahweh, to them.

This doesn’t mean that they didn’t know his name, Yahweh, before now. A number of names have a “yah” as part of them, like Joshua (Yeshu-yah) and Jochebed (Yah-kebed, meaning “Yahweh is glory”); and also because Genesis uses the name Yahweh 162 times! For example, after Isaac is redeemed from the sacrifice, Abraham names the place Yahweh-Yireh (the LORD provides).

So they knew his name – but now he will reveal to them what it means – who he really is. The saviour God.

The Exodus is an object lesson on the character and nature of our saviour God. That is why it is so important. We see in one great event the hostility of God towards sin and injustice: he is the Judge of the world, and he is irresistible. Justice will be done, must be done. And in the midst of his just judgement on the pride and arrogance and cruelty of Pharaoh and his people – we find mercy and salvation and patience and tenderness. We find a God who covers over the sins of his people.

For who is this Moses who speaks back to God in unbelief? He is nothing, a no-one – yet in 5:22-23 he moans against God. In 6:12 he tries to wiggle out of obeying God. In v30 he does the same “No God, I won’t do it”.

And yet God’s reaction is not judgement…but mercy. So, too, his reaction to the Israelites who reject his Word. 9 So Moses told the people of Israel what the LORD had said, but they refused to listen anymore.

God had every right to simply walk away. To abandon them. To terrify them in his wrath and subdue them. But instead he deals tenderly with them, patiently repeating his words and sending Moses and Aaron to rescue them anyway. He covers over their sins, the sins of Moses and the sins of the people of Israel, and says you will be my people, and I will be your God. (6:7). Why? Because I am Yahweh – the LORD – the covenant keeping God.

Exodus reveals the heart of God.

But Exodus is only a shadow of the reality to come. In Exodus we see in part who this LORD, this Yahweh, is – on the Cross we see it in full.

On the Cross we see the full extent of God’s justice as he pours out his wrath, his anger, on the sins of the world upon the shoulders of his Son. We see his justice as Jesus cries out “My God, my God why have you abandoned me”, and the sun goes dark and the earth splits open as with a loud cry Jesus dies. And we see in that same moment his amazing mercy as the one who is on the cross, the one paying the penalty for my sins, the one carrying all my wrongdoing on his shoulders is not me – but him. God himself, bearing the cost of our rebellion. Even Moses’ sin is there. The sins of the Israelites ignoring God is there. All the sins past, present and future committed by his people, all focused like a huge magnifying glass on that one moment in history, that one Man on the Cross, bearing our sin. What love! What mercy!

This is why in the New Testament he is not called Yahweh, but the Lord Jesus. Jesus is the full and complete revelation of Almighty God, El-Shaddai, Yahweh, the LORD.

1. He is the LORD, the sovereign God

2. He is the LORD God almighty. I am not.

3. He is the LORD, my, your, saviour

He is our Lord, our saviour.

søndag 5. oktober 2014

Exodus 2:21-3:17 Who are you, Lord?

Exodus 2:21-3:17

Who do you worship? What kind of God do you serve?

How do you know what he/she/it is like?

We claim to worship God, but how do we know him? What do we expect of him?

So often our expectations of him are driven by other people’s words, or our own wish fulfilment. We often make God in our own image. So when God actually appears, when he breaks in, when he does something we are often worried, afraid. Who is he REALLY, and what will he DO?

This is the question Moses asked when God revealed himself. What is your name? Now he doesn’t mean what collection of letters should I use to refer to you (“Bob”, “Lord Bob”) but Who are you? What is your identity? What kind of person are you? What will you do? How do we approach you?

It’s like meeting a big tough guy in a dark alley – who are you? I don’t want to know his name, I want to know what type of person he is and what he will do. If he said “It’s Billy” I would immediately relax – see I know Billy, he was in my Bible study, and although he’s huge and very intimidating, I know his character. “Billy” sums up what I know about him.

What we know about God is revealed to us primarily in the Bible. And we need to test what we think we know about God against what the Bible said. Otherwise we are worshipping a false god, a god that we have made up, an idol. What kind of God did do you think the Israelites may have thought he was at this point? Doesn’t care. Has forgotten us. Doesn’t see us.

But what is the reality? 2:24-25 He sees, he cares, he remembers. He comes down.

Our experience, our reason, what the church tells us – these are all very faulty, sin-affected ways to know who God is. Only the Bible is trustworthy. So when the Bible and our experience conflict – trust the Bible. Trust God’s word, because as we saw last week, God keeps his promises.

So who is God? Let’s find out.

1. The I AM sees and restores Moses

Moses was a man born to greatness. God’s hand was upon him, protecting his chosen rescuer. In miraculous circumstances he was protected from being murdered at birth, he was adopted and raised in the palace of Pharaoh as a Prince of Egypt. Seems a perfect setup, doesn’t it, for the rescuer of God’s people. He’s got power. He’s got prestige. He’s got influence. He’s exactly where he needs to be, we think. From a human perspective, everything is set.

But God sees the hearts of men: and Moses’ heart is a problem. He is not a man who loves God. He is not a man who loves his people. Moses is wrong. Moses is all about his own glory, and tries to do things his way.

And so, Moses tries to single-handedly rescue his people, murders an Egyptian, tries unsuccessfully to cover up his crime, and then is immediately rejected as any sort of leader of his people. 2:14 “Who appointed you to be our prince and judge?”

So when we left Moses last week, we left a man destined for greatness, but now a failure. A man who is rejected, living out his days in exile. 2:22 Moses named [his son] Gershom, for he explained, “I have been a foreigner in a foreign land.”

But even this terrible failure, even Moses’ sin, God turns around for good. In these wilderness years of exile, Moses learns humility. He is brought low in order to trust the Lord instead of his own strength. He learns to identify with his people, be one of them, a foreigner in a foreign land, before he can be their representative and saviour. The 40 year prince becomes the 40 year exile. And now he is ready.

So God sees, God hears, God remembers his promises. 24 God heard their groaning, and he remembered his covenant promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 25 He looked down on the people of Israel and knew it was time to act.

And how does he act? By appearing to Moses. Moses, the failure. Moses, the exile. 40 YEARS he had spent living in the desert, tending the flock of his father-in-law. He doesn’t seem to have any animals of his own. He doesn’t seem to have done very much of anything. Just existed.

And then he sees something. 2 There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a blazing fire from the middle of a bush. Moses stared in amazement. Though the bush was engulfed in flames, it didn’t burn up. 3 “This is amazing,” Moses said to himself. “Why isn’t that bush burning up? I must go see it.”

He sees a miraculous sight. A bush that’s on fire, but not being consumed. The bush is being preserved in the fire. What is this?

Moses thought he was a failure. He thought God did not see him, paid him no attention. But God’s hand was upon him - while Moses had turned aside from the path of leader and rescuer, and gone off to become a foreign shepherd, forgetting his people – God had not forgotten. He had not forgotten his people or his chosen rescuer. He sees Moses

4 When the LORD saw Moses coming to take a closer look, God called to him from the middle of the bush, “Moses! Moses!”

Here is our God: he sees, he is personal (he knows Moses by name), he speaks …and he is terrifyingly holy.

5 “Do not come any closer,” the LORD warned. “Take off your sandals, for you are standing on holy ground.

Now that doesn’t mean that the ground there is special. The ground is holy because God is there. Holy means “set apart”, dedicated to the Lord. People or objects are holy in relation to God. For example, as Christians we are holy because God’s Spirit lives in us.

But he is terrifyingly holy saying “Moses, look out” because to approach God as a sinner in rebellion against God is immensely dangerous. He is apart, he is other, he is pure. He is a consuming fire and we need a way to be made right with him. For Moses, in this instance, it was to obey God’s Word “take off your sandals”. And he does so, able to approach God.
Why? Well, it’s not anything special about taking off your sandals! But it is faith. Faith in God’s Word – which simply means trusting in and believeing what God tells you. Because he obeyed God, God made him holy by forgiving his sin, so that he could meet with Moses.
How did God do that? Well, Moses didn’t know, he just had to trust the word of God. But we know that it is through Christ that sins are dealt with. Moses’ sin was stored up, and laid upon his shoulders.

Praise God that he forgives sinners! Because like Moses we are sinners. And like Moses we are called by God, not out of a bush that does not burn, but by his Son, God made flesh, the true revelation of God.

6 I am the God of your father—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” When Moses heard this, he covered his face because he was afraid to look at God.

Just as Moses was seen by God, and not destroyed; so you too are seen by God, and offered restoration. Will you turn aside from your life and allow God to take control, to restore you to who you were born to be? Probably not, like Moses, the saviour of your people, but, like Moses, called to know God and to follow him and serve him all the days of your life.

Moses life was a dead end – and the Lord called him to a new path. Which way are you going?

God, the I AM, see and restores Moses

2. The I AM sees and rescues his people

But Moses is not the only reason God has come down. Moses is just the messenger.

9 Look! The cry of the people of Israel has reached me, and I have seen how harshly the Egyptians abuse them. 10 Now go, for I am sending you to Pharaoh. You must lead my people Israel out of Egypt.

Imagine being an Israelite in those times. Enslaved by a brutal overlord, with seemingly no hope. Trapped by a king, the Pharaoh who believed himself a god. Egypt had many gods, attached to various bits of creation: the sun god Ra, for example, and the various gods of the River Nile. Up to 2000 gods. And on the evidence those gods certainly appeared more powerful than Israel’s God. Where was he? Why was he not doing anything? Was he powerless? Had they done something wrong?

Some may have mourned living so long in Egypt. Oh if only we’d left when we had the chance – now we’re outside of God’s plan. We’ve fallen out of his hand and he cannot get us back. We are lost.

Some may have abandoned the God of their fathers for the clearly more powerful gods of Egypt. They dismiss the stories of God calling Abraham and rescuing him out of Egypt (Gen 12) as myth and legend. If that were true, show me the evidence now. They ignore the judgement in the flood as mere nonsense to frighten the weak-minded. We are more advanced now, science has proved that there are many gods – the evidence is overwhelming. How can God be both the sun and the river – the water would put the fire out! Why cling to your out-dated beliefs.

But there would have been those who would have remembered God’s word to Abraham in Gen 15:13–16 Then the LORD said “You can be sure that your descendants will be strangers in a foreign land for 400 year. They will be oppressed as slaves. 14 But I will punish the nation that enslaves them, and in the end they will come away with great wealth. 16 After four generations your descendants will return here to this land, for the sins of the Amorites do not yet warrant their destruction.”

Which one would you have been? Impatient? Blaming yourself for having fallen out of God’s will, as if that were possible? Or turning aside to the popular gods of the day, and justifying it with appeals to reason or science or experience, ignoring the Bible. Or trusting in God’s word, patiently trusting that he keeps his promises? Which Israelite would you have been?

Actually, which one are you?

For nothing has changed, except we know more of who God is and what he does and how he does it. For the God we serve is this God: 14 God replied to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. Say this to the people of Israel: I AM has sent me to you.” 15 God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel: Yahweh, 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 eternal name, my name to remember for all generations.

God is the same yesterday, today and forever. And people are pretty much the same – and our reaction to God is pretty much the same! Will we believe his words, or not?

Sometimes it seems that God is so slow to act. We look at the suffering in the world and we despair. Doesn’t he care?
Maybe we have been through terrible personal suffering – do you care Lord?
The Israelites must have wondered as the whip cracked down, as their baby boys were murdered, as life seemed hopelessly hard. But what they could not see was the whole of Heaven mobilising for action, for a great rescue. God sees, God hears, God will come down.

Or maybe we think that we have failed. Maybe, like Moses, we’ve made wrong choices, stepped off the path of our destiny and gone into the wilderness. Well, as we shall see, God is pretty good at leading people through the wilderness and to the promised land! 11 But Moses protested to God, “Who am I to appear before Pharaoh? Who am I to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt?” (I’m a failure, I’m nothing. I stepped out of your will. Look at God’s amazing answer: 12 God answered, “I will be with you. I will be with you. Do you think that our sin and failure stops God? No! God sees and restores the sinner. And he can bring us through the wilderness. And this is your sign that I am the one who has sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God at this very mountain.”

And for those who had rejected that Lord, turning to other gods and justifying it with “science” or clever philosophy, and dismissing Genesis as fairy tales… well they would soon see the power of God, exposing their new gods as false gods, ripping the veil off their eyes. 2 Pe 3:9–10 (NLT) The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent. 10 But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief. Then the heavens will pass away with a terrible noise, and the very elements themselves will disappear in fire, and the earth and everything on it will be found to deserve judgment.

Who is God? He is the one who will judge the oppressor, rescue his people, and lead them to safety. He is the one who keeps his promises. His words are trustworthy and true.
He is the great I AM, the one who IS. He is the God who is there.

And he is our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, because the God who reveals himself in the Exodus rescue is only pointing forward to the day when he is fully revealed. Moses knew the I AM in part. We can know him in full.

3. The I AM is Christ Jesus, our crucified, risen, Lord

Jn 8:28–59 So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man on the cross, then you will understand that I AM … 52 The people said, “… 53 Are you greater than our father Abraham? He died, and so did the prophets. Who do you think you are?” 54 Jesus answered, “…56 Your father Abraham rejoiced as he looked forward to my coming. He saw it and was glad.” 57 The people said, “You aren’t even fifty years old. How can you say you have seen Abraham?” 58 Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was even born, I AM!” 59 At that point they picked up stones to throw at him. But Jesus was hidden from them and left the Temple.

John’s gospel is structured around seven “signs” (miracles revealing who Jesus is) and seven “I am” statements (I am the bread of life. I am the resurrection and the life, etc). Jesus’ actions of rescue and blessing reveal who he is. And Jesus’ words reveal who he is: He is the great I AM of Exodus. I AM “Ego eimi” in Greek – and the Greek Old Testament (the Septuagint) translates Exodus 3:14 as God replied to Moses “Ego eimi”.
No wonder they picked up stones to stone him! How DARE this man claim to be God! How dare he use his name! Jews never even dared to speak God’s name, and here Jesus doesn’t just speak his name but says “it’s my name”!
And he was probably not speaking Greek, but Hebrew, the language of the Old Testament – and so the connection would be even stronger. God replied to Moses “I AM WHO I AM” “eh-YEH a-sher eh-YEH”.
Jesus says Before Abraham “eh-YEH a-sher eh-YEH”

Who are you, Lord? Who is the God we serve? We serve the great I AM, Yahweh, the rescuer and restorer of his people. The Mighty Saviour. The Holy One. And his name is Jesus, the Christ, the Son of God. He is the full and final revelation of God.

This is our God. The God who is there. The great I AM. He is the one who saves and restores sinners like Moses. He is the one who rescues those in slavery and bondage, like the Israelites. He is the one who sees, who hears, who comes down to rescue.

Look with eyes of faith and see the rescue of the Lord. If you doubt his goodness, look to the cross. If you think you have failed, look tot hthe cross. If you have fallen off the path of blessing – look to the cross. If you are in pain, wondering is he cares – look to the cross. If you are wondering if it is worth it to keep followinghim – lookto the cross. For there we see our God revealed. There we see him enter our world and suffer with us, weep with us, mourn with us. He is not high and distant and aloof, but right there beside us in the blood and guts and heartache and pain of life. Christ in you, the hope of glory. Our Saviour and Lord. He has come down.

And he is the one who is with us, as he was with Moses.

Matt 28:20 [Jesus said] “Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”