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As strangers in the strange land of mortality, we all find different ways of getting reassurance. Some of those are like whistling in the dark; they do not sustain us. Others reassure effectively because they are from God.
Moses had as much reason as any mortal to feel lost. Was he a cast-off son of Israel, a prince in Egypt, a fugitive from the law, or a messenger for God? He was all of those. And he was as confused as any of us. He felt lost and powerless.
When Moses was called to confront Pharaoh as God’s messenger, he resisted. “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh?” “O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.” Even when God promised to fill Moses’ mouth, he resisted, “O Lord, please send someone else to do it.” (Exodus 3:11, 4:10, 13 NIV).
God helped Moses transcend his confusion by cementing a heavenly identity. Each of the four points in his conversation with God (Moses 1) is essential for any of us who hope to get our bearings.
1. “And God spake unto Moses, saying: Behold, I am the Lord God Almighty, and Endless is my name; for I am without beginning of days or end of years; and is not this endless?” (Moses 1:3)
This is the foundational truth on which all understanding of our identity, mission, and purpose can be built. We have no meaningful identity without this fundamental truth.
A person might wonder why God would introduce Himself to Moses with a boast. Does He love to impress and frighten mortals? The reason for the unique introduction becomes clear with the second point.
2. “And, behold, thou art my son” (Moses 1:4).
Wow! God introduced Himself to Moses, clearly describing His exalted status, to give meaning to the statement: “Thou art my son!”
First and foremost in Moses’ identity is the reality that he is the son of the Most High God. No other identity matters next to this supreme reality!
Where does God go from there in teaching Moses his true identity?
3. “I will show thee the workmanship of mine hands” (Moses 1:4).
God showed Moses “the earth, yea, even all of it; and there was not a particle of it which he did not behold, discerning it by the Spirit of God. And he beheld also the inhabitants thereof, and there was not a soul which he beheld not; and he discerned them by the Spirit of God; and their numbers were great, even numberless as the sand upon the sea shore. (Moses 1:27-28) We are told that Moses “greatly marveled and wondered” (Moses 1:8).
Can you imagine that vision? If we think Disney nature documentaries are awe-inspiring, imagine being shown every particle and every inhabitant of the earth! That had to fill Moses with amazement and wonder!
Why did God show Moses His creation? The reason is stunning!
4. “And I have a work for thee, Moses, my son” (Moses 1:6).
“I who created the earth and its inhabitants have a work for you!” That is supremely inspiring—and humbling.
God’s message is also profoundly personal when He addresses Moses in a very personal way: “Moses, my son.” How those words must have filled Moses’ soul! Imagine God addressing you that way: “I have a work for thee, Ryan, my son.” “I have a work for thee, Chanelle, my daughter.”
Three times in one chapter, God addresses Moses as “Moses, my son.” I think God was making a point. Moses—and each of us–is a son or daughter of the supreme God!
But there was more. To help Moses understand his eternal value, God added: “And thou art in the similitude of mine Only Begotten; and mine Only Begotten is and shall be the Savior, for he is full of grace and truth” (Moses 1:6).
Can you imagine being told that you are like the beloved son who reigns in heaven and earth? How would our identities be impacted by such words from God? Let’s see how Moses was impacted.
“And the presence of God withdrew from Moses, that his glory was not upon Moses; and Moses was left unto himself. And as he was left unto himself, he fell unto the earth. And it came to pass that it was for the space of many hours before Moses did again receive his natural strength like unto man; and he said unto himself: Now, for this cause I know that man is nothing, which thing I never had supposed” (Moses 1:9-10, emphasis added).
Man is nothing. In the context of this great revelation, Moses realized that he was totally dependent on God.
The message is not that Moses was unimportant. He was eternally valuable! He was and is a cherished son. But his power came from his connection with God.
That is the great paradox. We are of vast value and importance. Yet we are nothing without God.
You can see why the self-esteem movement feels hollow. Reciting “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!” is insulting to the God who is the source of power.
Announcing “I am enough” feels laughable. We are not enough.
The key to our power is not in self-celebration but in acknowledging Him.
The truth is that He has all power, He loves us, and He wants to partner with us in His holy work. As we honor Him, our power grows. As we minimize Him, our power wanes.
That is the message of Nephi’s psalm (2 Nephi 4), King David’s ministry, Ammon’s rejoicing (Alma 26), King Benjamin’s address (Mosiah 2-5), and the brother of Jared’s piercing of the veil (Ether 3). It is the fundamental lesson of scripture.
Our motto can be: “I can do everything through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:20 NIV).
Invitation: Imagine yourself having a conversation with God following the 4-part pattern of His conversation with Moses.