Episode 1. I Am Who I Am
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When we hit the odd bump in the road, it’s great to know that there’s someone that we can call on. Someone that we can depend on. And that’s why it’s so important to understand exactly …
When we hit the odd bump in the road, it’s great to know that there’s someone that we can call on. Someone that we can depend on. And that’s why it’s so important to understand exactly who God is.
There are times in life when we need to know that we’re safe; times of turmoil, times of uncertainty, times when we’re down or alone, times when we need help and advice. That’s not to say that you or I are a bunch of losers, that we can’t look after ourselves, not that but it’s a simple acknowledgement that we can’t do it all on our own.
And no matter how strong we might be, some days we need some assurance. That’s why last week and again this week on the program, we’re taking a look at some promises. Promises that we can depend on, promises from God.
Last week, we looked at five awesome promises from God about what He would do for us. And this week, we’re going to take a look at some more promises from a bit of a different angle, promises about who He is and they’re important because at the end of the day. If you and I are going to trust anyone, that trust is rooted in who they are isn’t it? And the more we know who they are, the more we know whether or not we can trust them.
Now you may have heard me, in the past, talk about a man called Graham. This man had a huge influence in my life. When I was serving as a captain in the Australian Army, he was a colonel, a set over me, he was my boss. I got to know him and eventually we both left the army and together with another man, a guy called Mark, we formed a consulting business in the Information Technology industry.
Now Graham is 20 years my senior and he mentored me for the best part of 2 decades. The man was perfect by no means but then again, you’re not and I’m not but he was probably one of the smartest and wisest men I have ever known. And Graham had the patience to invest in me.
Now, I used to talk over the top of people, he had to teach me to be ahead of the game, he had to teach me to think ahead as a leader, to anticipate, to collaborate, to deal with difficult people. And much of the practical stuff I share on this program from day to day has it’s genesis in the mentorship and the guidance that Graham gave me and invested in me over almost two decades. Now 5 or 6 years ago we sold that business, he’s retired now and I’m in full time ministry doing what I’m doing right now and where, back then, he was the head of our organisation, I was his pupil, today I’m the head of an organisation, this ministry that I’m involved in, Christianityworks.
Now, over that time I got to know him really, really well. We each have our different approaches, we each have our different styles but I would trust this man with my life and I still call him for advice and input and to talk. If he came to me and made a promise, you know I would trust that promise implicitly because I know, through experience, who he is, I have experienced him.
There are other people though, people I know who would be at the complete opposite end of the scale. Why? Because I’ve seen them in action, I know what’s in their heart. I know one man who cheated on his wife while she was dying of cancer. I know a woman who says one thing in public but behind people’s backs says something quite different. If either of those people came to me with a promise, how much value do you think I would place on it?
I can think of another man, the pastor of my Church. I have just started attending a new Church in the last few months. Now I think this guy, Warwick, is an awesome man. He has this wonderful mix of strength and compassion, he’s humble yet he’s clearly an anointed leader. He’s a great teacher and he’s a man I have enormous respect for but I hardly know him. I don’t know him through 20 years experience as I did Graham. I haven’t served with him in the trenches yet and so, as much as I respect and admire him, his promises yet wouldn’t carry quite the same way as Grahams, makes sense doesn’t it? It’s obvious.
I want to look today at the story of Moses. Moses is one of the “A” list in the Old Testament; he’s an Israelite who grows up in Pharaoh’s house in Egypt. He kills a man, he flees to the desert, he’s an old wreck in the desert, he’s tending some sheep, he’s 80 years old and God comes to Moses and says, “go tell Pharaoh to let My people go”.
That’s daunting, so Moses comes up with five excuses. He has a defence like, “leave me alone to tend my sheep, I’m a burnt out old wreck” and the first one, the first defence is, “well the Israelites would never listen to me, who am I? Who will I say sent me?” That’s not an unreasonable thing to say, lets have a look at it, Exodus, chapter 3 beginning at verse 11:
Moses says to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” He 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.” But Moses said to God, “If I come to the Israelites and I say to them, ‘the God of your ancestors has sent me to you’ and they ask me, ‘what is His name?’ What am I going to say to them?” And God says to Moses, “Tell them I am who I am.” He said, “Further thus you shall say to the Israelites, ‘I AM has sent me to you’.
Interesting response from God. Where does your certainty come from? Where does your protection come from? How will Israel know? Well tell them, “I am who I am sent you”. Why would that make a difference? What benefit is that odd response? God is relying on His very character; God is relying on who He is. And see, sometimes the problem is, we don’t know who He is. Of course we know the story; probably God did use Moses to bring His people out of slavery through the Red Sea, through the 40 years in the desert into the Promised Land. Over and over after that, you read in the Old Testament, God saying to His people:
I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt to be slaves there no more. I have broken the bars of your yoke and made you walk erect.
“This is who I am, this is why you can trust me, this is why when I make promises to you, they are promises you can depend on, I am who I am.” And that is why getting to know God and who He is and the promises that He makes about who He is, that’s why getting to know that is so important. That’s why my life has been transformed and continues to be transformed because I’ve taken the time to get to know the God who reveals Himself to us in His word, the Bible.
Now that may seem to you perhaps like an incredibly old fashioned thing to do, read the Bible, but in those pages I discovered the God whom I can depend on. You discover what He’s like, you discover what grace means, you discover what judgement means.
It takes time, I told you about my friend and mentor, Graham. Now that relationship goes back now almost a quarter of a century with that man and I have a deep trust in who he is because I know who he is and it’s the same with God; it takes time.
Now you see people bobbing around like small boats being tossed on a stormy ocean, grabbing for this and grabbing for that when the anchor that they need in their lives is God Himself. But if you don’t know about the anchor you can’t use it and if you don’t know God, you can’t rely on Him and this is not something you can lay hold of by not knowing Him.