“I am” Encouragement

At the end of chapter 5, Moses lays out a very reasonable complaint to God. The situation of the Israelites has only become worse. As a result of Moses going to Pharaoh, their work has become exponentially harder, and no one is listening to him, neither Pharaoh nor the Israelites.

God responds by telling Moses that he is going to see what will come of this situation; Pharaoh will listen, but the next six verses are punctuated by one declaration: “I am Yahweh” (אֲנִי יְהוָה). It bookends the speech (6:2, 8), and it is in the scatterd througout as well (6:6, 7).

Moses did what God told him and he seemed to fail, he was shamed, and seemingly God was not coming through. God’s response, over and over, is “I am Yahweh.”

After Aaron’s geneaology is presented at the end of chapter 6, the last few verses briefly review the story told in the first six chapters. In this review, what is the first thing that God tells Moses? “I am Yahweh” (6:29).

“I am Yahweh” (אֲנִי יְהוָה) occurs over two hundred times in the Hebrew Bible, but this is the first time we see it so heavily concentrated in one chapter, and it is remarkable that here the person to whom the words are spoken is in distress. Moses is frustrated at God, his life sucks, and the repeated comfort given is “I am Yahweh.”

It reminds me of Job, it calls to mind the way that some try to unite scripture around God’s self-revelation, and it echoes my experiences. At some of my lowest points, I have been carried by a fresh revelation, or at least reminder, of who God is.