A Close Look

He’d been doing this job for forty years, and what he now saw was a first for him. That desert shrub was still afire. It should have been consumed. Why wasn’t it? Curiosity getting the better of him, the shepherd decided to take a close look.

“When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, ‘Moses! Moses!'” (Exodus 3:4 NIV).

In their ensuing conversation God, for the first time, revealed his personal name. “Moses said to God, ‘Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, “The God of your fathers has sent me to you,” and they ask me, “What is his name?” Then what shall I tell them?’ God said to Moses, ‘I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: “I am has sent me to you.’” God also said to Moses, ‘Say to the Israelites, “The Lord, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.” This is my name forever, the name you shall call me from generation to generation'” (Exodus 3:13-15 NIV).

In saying that His personal name is I am, God was disclosing He is the God Who is always present. Never absent. Forever involved with humankind to correct and to bless such as the time He sent poisonous snakes because people grumbled about their living circumstances. When they reached their tipping point and abjectly admitted to Moses they were in the wrong to speak against him and God, “The Lord said to Moses, ‘Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.’ So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived” (Numbers 21:8-9 NIV).

Anyone who wanted to be delivered from certain death by snake bite must look up at the bronze snake on that pole. Not a nod or a passing, casual glance, however, but a fixed, riveting gaze.  This was serious business. Whoever looked closely–intently–lived!

More than a millennium had passed when Jesus Christ raised the image higher. Predicting His inevitable crucifixion, He said, “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up” (John 3:14 NIV). Later the Savior promised:  “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself” (John 12:32 NIV). When, like a magnet, Jesus Christ pulls us, it is our decision whether or not to take a close look.

While praying one day, a girl asked,
“Who are You, Lord?”
He answered, “I Am.”

“But Who is I Am?” she said.

And He replied, “I Am Love, I Am Peace,
I Am Grace, I Am Joy,
I Am The Way, The Truth, and The Life,
I Am The Comforter,
I Am Strength, I Am Safety,
I Am Shelter, I Am Power, I Am The Creator,
I Am The Beginning and The End,
I Am The Most High.”

The girl with tears in her eyes looked
Toward heaven and said,
“Now I understand.
But Lord, Who Am I?”

Then God tenderly wiped the tears
From her eyes and whispered,
“You are Mine.”


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