Waynedale United Methodist Church
Tuesday, October 24, 2017
Making Disciples of Jesus for the Transformation of the World!
   

Feb 14, 2016 Sermon

“Knowing the Great I AM”
Exodus 3:1 – 14
Ted Jansen  February 14, 2016  Waynedale UMC
 
1.)        “I look at your heavens, which you made with your fingers.  I see the moon and stars, 
which you created.  But why are people even important to you?   Why do you take care of human beings?”
  (Psalm 8:3, 4 New Century Version)
            Consider our universe and how vast it is as you consider your life.  Listen to this quote.  “You are one of the billions of people on our Earth. Our Earth orbits the Sun in our Solar System. Our Sun is one star among the billions in the Milky WayGalaxy. Our Milky Way Galaxy is one among the billions of galaxies in our Universe.”   (Quote from Google page galaxy and universe) 
            One person among the heavens that God created.  That is what David was wondering in the Psalm that he wrote.    
 
2.)        The Solar System in which we live is comprised of the sun and planets.  From the Sun to the earth is a distance of 93,000,000 miles.  From the Sun to the outer ends of our solar system is 1.87 light years distance.  This measure of distance, light years, is not in miles because it is so far, but in the time traveled in a year.  
            A light year is the distance traveled by light in one year.  We know that light travels at 186,000 miles each second.  Take number of seconds in a year, 31.5 million and multiply this by 186,000 miles and you will come up with a distance.  That is a huge number!        
            Our Sun and Solar System is one among billions in our Milky Way Galaxy.  The center of our galaxy is about 27,000 light years from us. Our sister galaxy, called M31, is two million light years away! It is part of the 'local group' of galaxies.  There are billions of galaxies that comprise the universe.  Do you get the idea of how vast the universe is that God created?      
As we consider the universe we read the words David wrote when he said, why are people important to you, why do you take care of human beings?  You, God, who created, all this and is even beyond the universe, why do you care?     
            Why?  Why?   Why?  God wants a personal relationship with us, one of God’s creatures.  God does not just want to admire the work of creation and the billions of galaxies but to know us. 
             
3.)        Exodus 3:14 is the account of Moses and a holy moment with God, the God who created the universe and each person.  Moses was spared the death penalty as a baby boy and grew up in the house of Pharaoh.  He lived for forty years and one day came to the defense of a fellow Israelite and killed an Egyptian.  He then fled into the wilderness. 
In Midian he married and watched sheep of Jethro for 40 years.   All during this time the Egyptians made the Israelites suffer more and more as slaves.  The people were miserable. 
God had a special job for Moses in bringing the people out of Egypt. 
            While Moses was up on the mountain with the sheep God spoke to Moses in a unique way from a burning bush.  God told Moses to take off his sandals because it was holy ground.
God told Moses that He had seen the suffering of the Israelites and was going to rescue them.  God was going to bring them into a new land and needed Moses to go to Pharaoh to let the people go. 
God loved the people of Israel and cared for them. 
 
4.)        Moses said to God, “who am I to lead the people out of Egypt?”   Moses pleaded that he is not qualified for the job.  God tells Moses that he will not be alone, God will be with him. 
            You can tell that Moses is reluctant and asks God how he will answer the people when they want to know the name of the one who sent him?    
            We read these words in Exodus 3:12, “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.”  
   
5.)        The words, I AM, describe the God of the Universe.  The Hebrew for I AM is YHWH, or Yahweh, as we understand the term.  The word describes God in a total and in a relational sense. 
As I consider God’s answer to Moses, tell them “I AM” sent you.  I liked what the book, “The God We Can Know,” said on page 16 about the term I AM. 
            “Everett Fox in his commentary on Exodus explains there is not a precise interpretation of God’s name, which clarifies the mystery behind it.  Some translate the word phrase, I Am who I Am”; but Fox says others also interpret it to mean, “I will be there,” so that what God is saying to Moses is, “I will be there howsoever I will be there.”
            Moses did not have to have everything figured out but to be in relationship with God who was with him.  God was in a relationship with Moses as he cares for the Israelites. 
 
6.)        One way of understanding I AM as it related to Moses and our lives, is that wherever we are God is there.  There is a place that we are right now and God is there.  There is a place that we will be and God will be there as well.  I will be thee.  I will be with you. 
As we think about how God described Himself in the Old Testament we look to the New Testament as we affirm Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, as a God who also wants to be known. 
Jesus describes His life in some I AM statements about how He wants to be known.  We are going to explore the God who wants to be known, the God who wants to know us, and the God who has a role for us to play in His story! 
 
7.)        How would you describe yourself?  What would you start with?  What is the way you want people to remember you? 
You could describe yourself physically.  Then you could describe your personality, your emotional life, your financial life, your spiritual life, your vocational life, etc.  There are lots of ways to describe yourself.  
As you consider your description of your life let these statements that Jesus used to describe Himself give you insights into God, your life, your role in the Kingdom of God.   
 
8.)        Jesus said, “I AM: the Bread of life, the Light of the world, the Good Shepherd, the True Vine, the Way, Truth and Life, the Resurrection and the Life.”
May you have a picture, a symbol in your mind, of Bread, Light, Shepherd, Vine, Path, Tomb.  I hope that each week we can gain an image and insights into Jesus Christ, the God We Can Know.    
 
9.)        I was reminded while in the Holy Land how Jesus used common items to describe eternal truths to people when he was here on earth.  He told stories about seeds, birds, flowers, water, rocks, etc. 
The items that we visualize, Bread, Light, Shepherd, Vine, Path, Tomb, were common in Jesus day.  They were meant to be thought of each day and when you saw the object you would remember Jesus’s words and teaching.   
           
10.)      We are invited to take the Lenten journey, our spiritual pilgrimage, for 40 days.  Lent is the journey that starts on Ash Wed and ends on Resurrection Sunday.  I had known but was reminded by our Bishop in Israel that in Lent we don’t include Sunday in the 40 days.   
Each Sunday, the Bishop reminded us was a mini Resurrection celebration, like the first day of the week when the tomb was empty.  Sunday was a special day, not an ordinary day.     
            Lent focuses on the six days of the week that we work, take care of our home, live life together and tend to our duties and needs.  As we look at our routine may we see the presence of God in those moments.  This is what Lent is about.      
 
11.)      Brother Lawrence wrote a book called, “The Practice of the Presence of God.”  Brother Lawrence, who lived in the 1600’s, described how he experienced the presence of God in the kitchen of the monastery where he lived.  John Wesley had read and recommended this book.  The book reminded John of the importance of seeing God in the everyday living.  Here is a quote from the book to teach us how to know God’s presence around us.      
“He does not ask much of us, merely a thought of Him from time to time, a little act of adoration, sometimes to ask for His grace, sometimes to offer Him your sufferings, at other times to thank Him for the graces, past and present, He has bestowed on you, in the midst of your troubles to take solace in Him as often as you can. Lift up your heart to Him during your meals and in company; the least little remembrance will always be the most pleasing to Him. One need not cry out very loudly; He is nearer to us than we think.” ― Brother LawrenceThe Practice of the Presence of God
 
12.)      We need to know God in the midst of the ordinary.  One of the ideas that Pastor Rob Fuquay, (author of the book, The God We Can Know), shares is that the statements of Jesus shine a light on our needs we have in our lives.  As we learn about the I AM statements we will learn about ourselves.   
             
13.)      In the book there is a story about Michael Jr who spoke to group of prisoners without having anything prepared but sensed God wanted him to go.  Michael Jr discovered that, “God would give him what he needed when his feet were where God wanted them to be.”  (The God We Can Know, page 17)  Michael Jr knew that I AM was there with him in that prison. 
            In the next 6 weeks let us put our feet in the place they need to be so that God can be known. 
            Place your feet each week in worship as we discover God in a fuller way, place your feet before God as you read the scriptures, read a chapter of our book, read devotions, get into a small group, and take the time to see God in the ordinary of life.   
 
I invite you to hold in your heart the memory verse for today.  It is Exodus 3:14.  “God said to Moses, I AM who I AM.”