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The Calling of Moses

"As the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell on Abram; and lo, a dread and great darkness fell upon him. Then The Lord [see also "Jehovah" and Abraham] said to Abram, "Know of a surety that your descendants will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs, and will be slaves there, and they will be oppressed for four hundred years; but I will bring judgment on the nation which they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions. As for yourself, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried in a good old age. And they shall come back here in the fourth generation; for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete." When the sun had gone down and it was dark, behold, a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch passed between these pieces. On that day The Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, "To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates" (Genesis 15:12-18 RSV)

"Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring forth My people"

As stated in the verses above, Abraham was made aware that the Exodus would happen, centuries before it did. The human leader by which The Lord would deliver Abraham's descendants (there were no Israelites in the time of Abraham; Israelites began from the descendants of Abraham's grandson Jacob, who The Lord renamed Israel - see Hebrew) was a man named Moses who was chosen for that purpose after he himself had fled Egypt and was living in the Sinai with his father-in-law Jethro.


"Now Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian; and he led his flock to the west side of the wilderness, and came to Horeb [see Mount Horeb and Why Did Paul Say That Sinai Was In Arabia?], the mountain of God. And the angel of The Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush; and he looked, and lo, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed. And Moses said, "I will turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt."

When The Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, "Moses, Moses!"

And he said, "Here am I."

Then He said, "Do not come near; put off your shoes from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground." And He said, "I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God." (Exodus 3:1-6 RSV)

Moses was not a volunteer. The Lord simply declared what needed to be done, and that Moses had been chosen to do it.

"Then The Lord said, "I have seen the affliction of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters [see The Goshen Captivity]; I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. And now, behold, the cry of the people of Israel has come to Me, and I have seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them.

Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring forth My people, the sons of Israel, out of Egypt." (Exodus 3:7-10 RSV)

Despite his royal upbringing (see the Fact Finder question below), Moses had a very humble opinion of himself.

"But Moses said to God, "Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and bring the sons of Israel out of Egypt?"

He said, "But I will be with you; and this shall be the sign for you, that I have sent you: when you have brought forth the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God upon this mountain." (Exodus 3:11-12 RSV)

The Lord then identified Himself by Name.

"Then Moses said to God, "If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they ask me, 'What is His Name?' What shall I say to them?"

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': this is My Name for ever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations." (Exodus 3:13-15 RSV)

Fact Finder: (a) How was Moses' calling actually something that The Lord had been preparing him for all of his life before then? (b) What did Moses' name mean?
(a) See The Education Of Moses
(b) See The Baptisms of Moses

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