One day Moses was tending the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, a the priest of Midian, and he went deep into the wilderness near Sinai, b the mountain of God.
Suddenly, the angel of the LORD appeared to him as a blazing fire in a bush. Moses was amazed because the bush was engulfed in flames, but it didn't burn up.
"Amazing!" Moses said to himself. "Why isn't that bush burning up? I must go over to see this."
When the LORD saw that he had caught Moses' attention, God called to him from the bush, "Moses! Moses!" "Here I am!" Moses replied.
"Do not come any closer," God told him. "Take off your sandals, for you are standing on holy ground."
Then he said, "I am the God of your ancestors -- the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." When Moses heard this, he hid his face in his hands because he was afraid to look at God.
Then the LORD told him, "You can be sure I have seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard their cries for deliverance from their harsh slave drivers. Yes, I am aware of their suffering.
So I have come to rescue them from the Egyptians and lead them out of Egypt into their own good and spacious land. It is a land flowing with milk and honey -- the land where the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites live.
The cries of the people of Israel have reached me, and I have seen how the Egyptians have oppressed them with heavy tasks.
Now go, for I am sending you to Pharaoh. You will lead my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt."
"But who am I to appear before Pharaoh?" Moses asked God. "How can you expect me to lead the Israelites out of Egypt?"
Then God told him, "I will be with you. And this will serve as proof that I have sent you: When you have brought the Israelites out of Egypt, you will return here to worship God at this very mountain."
But Moses protested, "If I go to the people of Israel and tell them, 'The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,' they won't believe me. They will ask, 'Which god are you talking about? What is his name?' Then what should I tell them?"
God replied, "I AM THE ONE WHO ALWAYS IS. c Just tell them, 'I AM has sent me to you.'"
God also said, "Tell them, 'The LORD, d the God of your ancestors -- the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob -- has sent me to you.' This will be my name forever; it has always been my name, and it will be used throughout all generations.
"Now go and call together all the leaders of Israel. Tell them, 'The LORD, the God of your ancestors -- the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob -- appeared to me in a burning bush. He said, "You can be sure that I am watching over you and have seen what is happening to you in Egypt.
I promise to rescue you from the oppression of the Egyptians. I will lead you to the land now occupied by the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites -- a land flowing with milk and honey."'
"The leaders of the people of Israel will accept your message. Then all of you must go straight to the king of Egypt and tell him, 'The LORD, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us. Let us go on a three-day journey into the wilderness to offer sacrifices to the LORD our God.'
"But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go except under heavy pressure.
So I will reach out and strike at the heart of Egypt with all kinds of miracles. Then at last he will let you go.
And I will see to it that the Egyptians treat you well. They will load you down with gifts so you will not leave empty-handed.
The Israelite women will ask for silver and gold jewelry and fine clothing from their Egyptian neighbors and their neighbors' guests. With this clothing, you will dress your sons and daughters. In this way, you will plunder the Egyptians!"
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)