Week 1: main session
THE GREAT I AM
Widowed. Four children ages twelve and under. Teaching full time. Groceries to buy. Ten loads of laundry to do. Sports activities to attend. Fun parties with the teachers. Laughter. Tears. Grief. Joy in the classroom. Devotions at 7:00 a.m. Chores assigned to the kids. Cleaning the remainder of the house. Sons flying off the roof. Daughters missing their dad. Strep throat. Helping with homework. Checking school lunchboxes. Fixing evening meals. Emptiness in my heart. Sleepless nights. Fear! And all this happens in one week. Father, there is so much to do in my seven-day period, and I’m doing it all alone. This task-filled life is overwhelming me. I’m not sure I can do it much longer. I need a superhero to carry me away – away – away – away!
Prayer: Dear Father in heaven, open my heart and my mind to the wonders of Who you are – the Great I AM. Prepare me for the pleasures that are yet to come and the grace with which I will be blessed. In Jesus’ name I ask this. Amen.
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” (Exodus 3:13-14).
It all begins here – the search for the Great I AM – the One who said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And he said, “Say to the people of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you’” (Exodus 3:14). The Sovereign One, the God only wise, the immortal One, the servant example, my Hiding Place, and my Deliverer is the true I AM that I yearn for. He is the One who is all I need, holds my everything together, is resplendent in glory, and yet loves me enough to humble Himself to death, even death on a cross (Philippians 2:5-8).
And He did it all for me – and you – His beloved. Our precious Lord and Savior is the superhero we need, but not to take us away from it all. Rather He chooses to guide us through the maze called life, whether as a single parent, in a safe and secure marriage, or in a troubled marriage. On even our busiest of days, this Great I AM, the King of kings, the Lord of lords, desires to be our light, salvation, stronghold, shield, and shelter. He has not only given us His Word to sustain our hidden lives but also provides His Holy Spirit to open our hearts to the love of God that pierces our hearts with truth, comfort, and forgiveness. The Great I AM is a God who stretches through time and space, a God who enables us to view Him not only as a God of the past, but also of the here and now. He lives and loves to care for us, supplies our spiritual needs, and provides strength for our multi-faceted, task-filled lives.
IT’S HARD TO SAY…
IT’S HARD TO SAY – I’M VALUABLE.
Overwhelmed we often cry out with the need to be appreciated, loved, and valued by others based on all the work we do. When we don’t receive it, we wonder where we can turn as our emotions hit the fan or we feel empty inside. Where is the Great I AM when we need Him?
Blessed is the man [whose]…delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers (Psalm 1:1-3).
God’s Word is the means to discover the greatest love we need. Meditating and delighting in God’s love letter, we discover that we are compared to a tree that yields its seasonal fruit and is continually in bloom. As the love, wisdom, and power of “I AM” exposes Himself through the Holy Spirit, we blossom for Him. When things are going well, we blossom. When disappointments come, we blossom. When life changes course, we blossom. When struggles seem to swallow us up, we blossom. And it’s not because of anything we have done but because of the blossoming spiritual sap of Christ that runs in and through us. We don’t see it or feel it, for it is the continuing nourishment within that is received through His Spirit as we remain in the Word. From it grow the flowers of grace, mercy, and truth as it is received in and through Christ.
We are loved beyond comprehension. Read Ephesians 3:14-19 and 1 John 4:9-10 as God’s Word reveals this love. In your group, share your thoughts regarding how Christ’s love can enable you to feel more appreciated, loved, and valued. Remember, it’s not about you but about what He has already done for you.
IT’S HARD TO SAY – I NEED HIM.
O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens (Psalm 8:1).
Pride steps in when we need to ask God for help as it means we have to humble ourselves. Viewing His awesome majesty, we assume He is too busy to listen to our concerns or to find time to help us with our daily struggles. Besides, we know we can handle life on our own. We have done it before and we can do it again. Those daily mundane tasks are ours to accomplish and we assume there are no limits to our own personal power and energy. Right? Wrong!
Paul states in 1 Corinthians 10:13 that God will not let us be tempted beyond our ability to withstand and will provide a way of escape. He will use that way of escape to enable us to endure it with His strength and guidance. However, we need to remember that it is often a great temptation to assume that we can manage our hectic, over-crowded lives without God’s help.
God lovingly reminds us in His Word that He desires for us to seek Him first, to spend time with Him in prayer, and to cease from worrying (Matthew 6:33-34). Yet we continue to let pride and personal ego prevent us from heeding the path to a calmer rest in Him. Time in our task-filled lives is often a challenge, so spending time in the presence of the “Great I AM” often remains as last on our agenda. Getting up an extra hour earlier in the morning is not an option as we assume we will only become more stressed and more tired. We forget it is when we are in His presence that spiritual rest and renewal takes place. It is through the Word and the Spirit that we are strengthened, encouraged, and guided. Our spirits are revived, and our hearts become more receptive to His love and generosity.
Read Psalm 8 together and pray the Holy Spirit open your hearts and minds to view not only the majesty of I AM but also His love for mankind. List examples of God’s generous mercy toward man and how God’s majesty and glory can impact the privileges He grants us.
One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple. For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock (Psalm 27:4-5).
IT’S HARD TO SAY – WORDS OF PRAISE WHEN MY TASK-FILLED LIFE IS HECTIC.
God desires that we acknowledge and praise Him for who He is, no matter the schedules pressing in on us at the time.
You have multiplied, O Lord my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us; none can compare with you! I will proclaim and tell of them, yet they are more than can be told…But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who love your salvation say continually, “Great is the Lord” (Psalm 40:5, 16)!
Our view of God can become clouded when the storms of life roll in. Whether complicating our roles as children, parents, or employees, praising God in the midst of our storms of life is not unlike the disciples who became terrified when the gigantic waves began filling the small fishing boat on the Sea of Galilee. Because they couldn’t believe the obvious scene that was happening, they wondered why the sleeping Jesus wasn’t fixing things, and so they cried out in absolute fear.
Before we judge their actions, we need to realize that the Sea of Galilee is subject to sudden storms and that the waves can reach up to ten feet high. Knowing that, read Luke 8:23-25 to discover the disciples’ fear and how Jesus reacted to that fear. Share any moments in your task- filled lives when you wondered if Jesus was asleep and how His reaction with the disciples might bring strength and encouragement to you now.
As His children of faith, we grow in our trust of Him as a result of His promises, provision, peace, and yes, problems. To the very core of our being, the Holy Spirit strengthens our spirits as we choose to praise the “Great I AM”. Even in the midst of our struggles, it is His Spirit that sanctifies and awakens us daily with renewal and regeneration. He enables the Word to make us receptive to who He is and who He desires us to be. Enlivened with a passion that only He can create, we move forward in loving service for Him, regardless of our hectic lives.
STUDY TIME FOR THIS WEEK
In this week’s lesson, we learned how God revealed Himself to Moses. We will now go on a deeper journey of faith with Moses and discover more about this “Great I AM” and how He is all we need in this life and throughout eternity. We will learn of a great God of all gods and King of all kings. Just like Moses, excuses may appear to keep us from the Lord’s chosen tasks, but God’s Word can develop and enlarge our love and trust for Him as a result.
Over the next five days, you are going to review the five excuses of Moses when faced with an enormous challenge. Read Exodus, Chapters 3 and 4. As you do so, mark or record the excuses that Moses gave and God’s responses to each excuse.
Prayer: To the “Great I AM”, awaken in my heart and soul a desire to know You more clearly and love You more dearly. Help me treasure each precious moment because You are truly divine and holy. Amen.
Hark the voice of Jesus crying, “Who will go and work today?
Fields are white and harvests waiting – Who will bear the sheaves away?”
Loud and long the Master calleth; Rich reward He offers thee.
Who will answer, gladly saying, “Here am I, send me, send me”?
LSB #826, v. 1