Signposts: Daily Devotions

Tuesday, June 24

Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” God said, “...I will be with you.”
—Exodus 3: 11,12

I sometimes wonder, reading this part of the remarkable story of the voice of God commissioning Moses from the burning bush, if Moses wasn’t fishing for compliments a bit, wanting God to boost his self-esteem. “Who am I to do such a thing?” he asks, and I can’t help but think he is hoping God will respond with praise. “Why Moses, you are just the man for the job–you are brave, articulate, compassionate, powerful; Pharaoh is bound to do whatever you command.”

Instead, God responds to Moses’ question of who he is with an apparent non sequitur: God doesn’t seem to have noticed that this is a question of personal identity: God replies with presence. Who is Moses? God is with him. And that is all Moses needs to know.

If we really believe that God is with us, doesn’t that change our own sense of who we are? If we so deeply belong to God that that belonging is the core of our identity, what can we not attempt for God? Perhaps we could even, like Moses, demand the release of God’s own captive people, could proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord on behalf of those burdened and bound by hunger and thirst, poverty and injustice.

God who is with us always, your presence in our lives is the only thing we really need. Forgive us for wanting other, lesser things instead.

The Signposts for June are written by Deborah Smith Douglas and originally appeared on in May 2005.