God’s Word was put into writing over many centuries through the efforts of men like Moses, whom the Holy Spirit inspired to give us a supremely authoritative written revelation. The biblical writers devoted much attention to Moses, the one through whom our Creator mediated the old covenant, and to Moses we now turn to see how his mediation is developed and fulfilled throughout the Bible.
We all know the story of Moses — the Levite child whom God providentially rescued from the hand of a wicked pharaoh only to have him grow up in the Egyptian court (Ex. 1:1–2:10). By the time today’s passage begins, Moses has killed an Egyptian slavemaster and has fled to Midian, resigning himself to the life of a simple shepherd who tends the flocks of his father-in-law Jethro (2:11–25).
As is often the case, however, God’s plans for His people are far different than our plans for ourselves. In the wilderness of Horeb, God appears to Moses in a bush that is burning without being consumed (3:1–5). He has heard the cries of His enslaved people and has chosen to send Moses to Pharaoh to gain their freedom (vv. 6–10).
The Almighty grounds His redemptive goals in His own nature. He tells Moses that He is “the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” (v. 6), identifying Himself as the One who always keeps His covenants and who is moving to accomplish His promises to the patriarchs and their progeny (Gen. 12:1–3; 26:1–5; 28:10–15). God underscores this point in revealing to Moses His covenant name — Yahweh (“i am,” Ex. 3:14). The Lord is who He is; His character cannot change. He will remain utterly faithful and keep all of His promises.
Moses doubts Yahweh’s choice, replying, in essence, “Why me? I’m not the man for the job” (v. 11; see also 4:1–17). We too often feel this way when God calls us to hard things, even if they pale in comparison to Moses’ task. It is a feeling J.R.R. Tolkein captures in The Fellowship of the Ring when Frodo, chosen to face great evil and destroy the One Ring, says to Gandalf the wizard: “I am not made for perilous quests. I wish I had never seen the Ring! Why did it come to me? Why was I chosen?”
Yet the God who calls us to service also equips us to serve (2 Peter 1:3). Moses learned this during his life, and believers continue to experience this truth today.