The Burning Bush (Part 2)
God's reply to Moses' first question should have been sufficient. He promised to be with Moses and to bring him and the nation back to Mt. Sinai to worship Him. Moses should have had nothing to fear. But, the shepherd is not yet on board with God's plan.

"Then Moses said to God, 'Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they say to me, 'What is His name?' what shall I say to them?" (Exo. 3:13). Had I been there, I might have asked him: "Moses, are you genuinely concerned about the possibility of being asked this question? Or, are you merely looking for an excuse to be relieved of this duty?" But, God bears with this second question, answers it, and spends the rest of this chapter explaining how Israel could be sustained if they left the slavery of Egypt. Let's consider some of the details.

"And God said to Moses, 'I AM WHO I AM.' And He said, 'Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you'" (3:14). This reply is deep, and it shows two attributes of God: His eternality and self-existence. God is both timeless and sufficient to Himself (cf. John 8:58; Rev. 1:8).

God instructed Moses that when he returned to Egypt he would first explain his mission to the elders of Israel and then bring them with him to stand before Pharaoh. Interestingly, the initial request to Pharaoh will not be for complete liberation (though that is the ultimate goal). Instead, God would have Moses make a much simpler request - "Let us go three days' journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the LORD our God" (Exo. 3:18). God is not being deceptive here but rather showing Himself to be quite just. If Pharaoh would not even grant a small request for a short journey away from Egypt, then surely he will not yield to the larger request for total freedom. God is merciful in only asking a small favor initially that Pharaoh should have granted. God foresaw Pharaoh's hardheartedness and made it is as easy as He could to get Pharaoh to submit to the divine plan (in stages). Pharaoh will show himself to be without excuse (both before his people and before God) and deserving of the punishment that will befall him. God knew it would take a powerful hand and many wonders to break Pharaoh's will (albeit temporarily) so that he would release the people. And, when this happened, the Israelites would not leave Egypt empty-handed. The Egyptians would share with them richly (cf. Gen. 15:14).

At this point, Moses should be excited! He has been given a great and important mission and he has God's backing. What more could one ask for? Sadly, Moses is still not ready, however. He continues to show a spirit of reluctance through his questions (excuses) as we will see in Exodus 4. Lest we be unfair, let's be clear: There is nothing wrong with properly preparing oneself (including acquiring necessary information), but there comes a time when one can overanalyze a situation to the point of paralysis. In Moses' case, the impression becomes more and more clear that he simply doesn't want to do what God wants him to do and is searching for a "reasonable" way out. We today need to seriously reflect upon this in light of Matthew 28:20 ("I am with you always") and the duties of New Testament Christianity. God is with us. Are we ready to do His will or would we prefer to excuse ourselves from that which is difficult and uncomfortable for us by bringing up questions of doubt and uncertainty (implicitly questioning the very wisdom of God!)?