The Old Testament Lesson for this Sunday is from the second book of the Torah, Exodus. The text is Exodus 3:1-15. As we are nearing the end of the Church Year, we begin to pick up the focus on preparation for the eschatological coming of the King. There is a strong sense of calling to be about the work of the Kingdom to make ready for the King of Kings and our text from Exodus easily fits into this focus as it relates the Call of Moses. He is commanded to return to Egypt, bring the Israelites out of the land of bondage and take them to the Promised Land of Canaan. Certainly, Moses clearly comes across as a Messianic figure and we see the One who is to come and rescue us from the land of our bondage to sin and death and lead us to the Promised Land of Heaven above.

There are many noteworthy points in this pericope. First note Moses, who has fled Egypt after having killed an Egyptian, has become a shepherd. In Scripture the greatest leaders have all been shepherds: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, the 12 sons of Jacob, Moses, David, and, of course, Jesus, the Good Shepherd. Several ancient scholars have pointed this out and written that if a man would be a good leader of people he should first tend to sheep. The experience of shepherding is easily applied to being a king, etc.

Moses has been in the land of Midian for 40 years. This time proves to be helpful later when he brings the people of Israel back to Horeb, the Mountain of God (Sinai). Not only does he know the way, Moses also has a strong working knowledge of the whole region through which the chosen people will travel.

We also have the reality of what it means to be in the presence of God. Because of man’s sinful condition, he cannot survive His holiness. And so, we have an incident of the pre-incarnate Son of God—who appears in the bush that burns but does not burn up. Still, Moses recognizes the God is in this place. Man’s access to the Holy One in both Old and New Testaments is through the Son, Jesus Christ.

The LORD God makes it clear to Moses He is aware of the plight of the Israelites and knows His responsibility in the covenantal relationship He established with them. He is sending Moses to fulfill the LORD’s promise. Of course, Moses is quite concerned about taking on this role. He spends a bit of time attempting to talk the LORD out of this by saying he cannot speak well—a little ironic! Note Moses’ big question is, “Who am I?” However, this is the wrong question. It matters not who Moses is, or who we are. What matters is who God is. This is how the LORD answers Moses question. He points to Himself and assures Moses He will be with him.

3:1 חֹתְנוֹ (cho-te-No) from: חתן (khaw-than) “father-in-law”

וַיִּנְהַג: (vai-yin-Hag) root: נהג (naw-hag) Qal: “to lead; to drive”

3:2 מַלְאַךְ יְהוָה; (mal-Ach Yah-weh) “the Angel of the LORD” (the pre-incarnate Son of God)

בְּלַבַּת. (be-lab-bat) from: לבה (lab-baw) “flame”

הַסְּנֶה; (has-se-Neh) “thorny bush; briar; bush”

בֹּעֵר (bo-Er) Qal: “to burn; to be burning”

אֻכָּל (uk-Kal) Pual: “to be devoured; to be consumed” Qal meaning, “to eat; to dine”

3:3 הַמַּרְאֶה; (ham-mar-Eh) root: מרא (mar-eh) Hiphil, participle used as a noun: “the sight”

מַדּוּעַ (mad-Du-a) “on account of; why”

3:4 לִרְאוֹת (lir-ot) root: ראה (raw-aw) Qal, infinitive: “to look; to see”

3:5 הֲלֹם (ha-Lom) “this place; this far; here; hither”

שַׁל; (shal) root: נשׁל (naw-shal) Qal, imperative: “to loosen; to draw off; to take off”

נְעָלֶיךָ (ne-a-Lei-cha) “sandal” “your sandals”

3:6 וַיַּסְתֵּר (vai-yas-Ter) root: סתר (saw-thar) Hiphil: “to hide; conceal”

מֵהַבִּיט (me-hab-Bit) root: נבט (naw-bat) Hiphil: “to look”

3:7 רָאֹה רָאִיתִי (ra-Oh ra-I-ti) Qal, infinitive with perfect: “I have surely seen”

עֳנִי (o-Ni) “affliction; misery; oppression”

צַעֲקָתָם; (tza-a-ka-Tam) “cry of distress; cry for help”

נֹגְשָׂיו (no-ge-Sav) root: נגשׂ (naw-gas) Qal, participle used as noun: “task-master; slave driver; overseer; oppressor”

מַכְאֹבָיו; (mach-o-Vav) “suffering”

3:8 וָאֵרֵד (va-e-Red) root: ירד (yaw-rad) Qal: “to go down; to descend”

לְהַצִּילוֹ. (le-hatz-tzi-Lo) root: נצל (naw-tsal) Hiphil, infinitive: “to save; to rescue; to deliver”

וּלְהַעֲלֹתוֹ (u-le-ha-a-lo-To) root: עלה (aw-law) Hiphil, infinitive: “to bring up”

*Note the movement as well as the Actor!

זָבַת (za-Vat) Qal: “ to flow; to drip; to gush”

3:9 הַלַּחַץ (hal-La-chatz) “oppression”

לֹחֲצִים (lo-cha-Tzim) root: לחץ (law-khats) Qal: “to oppress; to torment”

3:10 וְאֶשְׁלָחֲךָ> (ve-esh-la-cha-Cha) root: שׁלח (shaw-lakh) Qal: “to send” In this case: “and I will send you”

3:12 הָאוֹת (ha-ot) “sign; omen”

תַּעַבְדוּן (ta-av-Dun) root: עבד (aw-bad) Qal: “to serve”

3:15 זִכְרִי (zich-Ri) Qal, imperative: “to remember; to be remembered; memorial”

Sample Sermon Outline:

TITLE: Who Am I?

TEXT: Exodus 3:1-15

  1. Who Am I?
    1. Moses, when asked to serve says, “Who am I?”
      1. Why do you want me?
      2. I do not want to do it!
      3. I cannot do it!
    2. We are like Moses
      1. We are excited to see God (burning bush; worship; sacraments)
      2. We are excited to be His people.
      3. We are NOT excited to do His work.
        1. Who am I?
        2. I cannot do what is asked.
        3. I am afraid/too busy/ not qualified
  2. Who is God?
    1. It is not important who we are—what matters is who God is.
      1. Moses asks, “Who am I?” God tells him to ask, “Who AM I?”
      2. God identifies Himself to Moses as the great I AM.
      3. God tells us the same.
    2. God is the One who sent His Son.
  3. Who are we because of Christ?
    1. Christ has changed us.
      1. Once we were no people—no way we could serve God—no way He could use us.
      2. Now, Christ has made us God’s people and we serve God and He uses us.
    2. God uses us after Christ changes us.
      1. God shows His grace in Christ and then calls upon us to serve Him.
      2. We need not worry or question who we are—we belong to Christ and it is who He is that makes all the difference.

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Additional Resources:

Concordia Theology-Various helps from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, MO to assist you in preaching Exodus 3:1-15.

Text Week-A treasury of resources from various traditions to help you preach Exodus 3:1-15.