Here I Am: Moses

Here I Am: Moses

Here I Am: Moses.

“Moses said, “I must turn aside now, and see this marvelous sight, why the bush is not burned up.” When Yahweh saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush, and said, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” (Exodus 3:3-4).

Hineni (Hebrew word, literal meaning, “Behold, I am!” but is generally translated in Bible as “Here I am.”) In Scripture it is a response of someone to someone else asking for attention. It could be a response to God, to an angel, a response of a child to a parent, or a servant to a master. Sometimes it is even a loving response of a parent to a child. The Biblical Here I am means you have my full attention; I am at your service; I am completely available to you; whatever you want, I am all in; I am in total readiness to hear and obey you; I have no hesitation in responding to you. Most of the time in Scripture the person saying Here I am doesn’t yet know what the caller wants from him. So hineni can essentially be a statement of faith. When someone in authority initiates Here I am, such as God, it is a declaration of presence and readiness to speak or act. Generally, hineni is often stated in a pivotal moment of that person’s life. Here I am can just be a casual response to a caller, but it often is an important moment in the life of the person responding.

Moses was simply minding his own business as a shepherd on the Sinai Peninsula. He had been doing this humble work for forty years, which makes Moses eighty years old at the time of this totally unexpected and mystifying encounter with God. Moses witnessed an amazing sight there on a mountain that has been traditionally thought of as Mt. Sinai. Moses saw a big thorn bush that was burning but was not being consumed in the fire. He wondered at this perplexing sight, so when he decided to investigate it, the Angel of Yahweh appeared in the midst of the fiery bush and spoke to him. “Moses, Moses!” said this Messenger in the middle of the fiery bush. And Moses responded with the line that is music to God’s ears, “Here I am.” (3:4). Moses at this point was convinced that this was indeed the Lord he was talking with, so he hid his face. This Angel, this Messenger of God, was certainly Jesus Christ before His incarnation. And could it be that this unusual fire was the shekinah glory from the Angel’s presence? Could it be that Jesus had brought this unique fire from glory?

Moses and the Angel then engaged in an extended conversation, in which Moses received the Hebrew Bible’s version of the Great Commission. Moses was asked by the Lord to go to Egypt, liberate His chosen people from their slavery, and lead them to the Promised Land. Speaking the words of the Lord, the Messenger then told Moses God’s inexplicable name Yahweh, I AM WHAT I AM, or maybe it’s I AM HE WHO EXISTS. The ground near the burning bush was holy due to the presence of God. So Moses took off his sandals in reverence and bowed low. Speaking the mind of God, Jesus informed Moses of the whole scenario with Pharaoh, including the signs and wonders he will demonstrate to the Egyptians. To convince Moses that He could indeed perform these miracles, Jesus demonstrated a couple of on-site wonders. Moses’ staff turned into a snake and then back again to a staff. And Moses contracted leprosy, and then was immediately healed of that leprosy. If anything would encourage Moses to go on this adventure, the Lord is thinking, this should be sufficient. But Moses remained unconvinced, mainly because Moses felt he wasn’t equipped to be a spokesman for the Lord. He said he was slow of tongue, that he couldn’t speak well enough to represent the Lord in Egypt. So Moses stubbornly responded to God with, thanks but no thanks, please pick someone else. God became angry at this point, and He accommodated Moses somewhat by picking his brother Aaron, a well-spoken man evidently, to be at his side throughout the interaction with Pharaoh. I will be with you and teach you what to say, so let this be the end to your resistance, the Lord says to Moses. Jesus the Messenger, from the midst of the burning bush, sent Moses on his way back to Egypt, the land of his birth. And the rest is history. Would any of this have even happened if Moses hadn’t responded, “Here I am?”