This year has brought with it new opportunities and experiences for me. The Lord has provided a role for me on the national women’s ministry team for the PCA. I also took my first seminary class in January at RTS. I’ve had more opportunities to write and speak than ever before. I’m amazed at the Lord’s provision for these things. I’m excited about them and look forward to participating in them.
But at the same time, my weakness is ever before me.
To be honest, I wavered over the decision to register for seminary. When I finished graduate school in 2002, I said I’d never go back to school. Never say never, as they say! But part of me wonders, can I handle learning something new at my age? Will I even understand what I am learning? Can I perform at the level of the other, much younger students?
I feel my weakness in the other opportunities as well. I see all the areas in which I am lacking. I feel insufficient and unprepared. I fear letting people down, making mistakes, and being found out as an interloper. A fake. A fraud.
This semester, my kids and I have been reading and discussing the book of Exodus (we’re using Kristen Hatton’s book, The Gospel-Centered Life in Exodus). I see myself in Moses. God visited Moses in the wilderness where he had fled after killing an Egyptian. He told Moses he would use him to rescue the Israelite’s from slavery in Egypt. Like me, Moses had lots of questions. Why me? Who am I? Don’t you know my weaknesses? And most importantly: Who are you?
When I give my children instructions and they respond with questions and say “Why do I have to do it?” or “I can’t because _____” or “I’m not ready,” I’m not so gracious. But God met Moses’ questions with grace. He met him with his very self. God told Moses all he needed to know. “God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM.’ And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘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.’” (Exodus 3:14-15).
The most common name for God in Scripture is LORD, written in all capital letters in our Bible. It is YHWH, which we pronounce Yahweh. The Jews had such reverence for this name of God, they never said it out loud; instead they used the name, Adonai.
It is this name, Yahweh, that's used in Exodus 3 when God tells Moses his name. It’s an important passage because God is defining himself for Moses. He is telling Moses he has always existed and is not dependent upon anyone else. In Hebrew, the word is in the future tense, “I will be what I will be.” God is not a created being; he has always existed. John Calvin wrote concerning this name, “he claims for himself eternity as peculiar to God alone, in order that he may be honored according to his dignity… that our minds may be filled with admiration as often as his incomprehensible essence is mentioned.” God doesn’t rely on anything outside himself to keep and sustain him, as we do. This name also tells us that God is unchangeable; he always is and always was. It was also this name, Yahweh, I AM, that Jesus used in response to the Jews in John 8: "Jesus said to them, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am'" (v. 58).
Calvin also wrote that knowing God’s name gave Moses confidence in his calling: “Wherefore, in order rightly to apprehend the one God, we must first know, that all things in heaven and earth derive at His will their essence, or subsistence from One, who only truly is. From this Being all power is derived; because, if God sustains all things by his excellency, he governs them also at his will. And how would it have profited Moses to gaze upon the secret essence of God, as if it were shut up in heaven, unless, being assured of his omnipotence, he had obtained from thence the buckler of his confidence? Therefore God teaches him that He alone is worthy of the most holy name, which is profaned when improperly transferred to others; and then sets forth his inestimable excellency, that Moses may have no doubt of overcoming all things under his guidance.”
When I think about my own callings, knowing who God is gives me confidence and peace. Like Moses, I can’t do anything apart from God. I don’t have what it takes within me. I don’t have the wisdom, strength, or experience. But when God calls, he enables. He gives what is needed to accomplish his will. He meets us where we are with all that we need. He meets us with himself. And as he provided Moses with a staff and the support of his brother Aaron, he gives us gifts and the Body of Christ so that we are equipped to carry out our callings.
I am weak indeed. But just as God used Moses—in spite of his weaknesses—so that his glory might be displayed, I know he can do the same in me.