One day, Moses was taking care of the sheep and goats of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian, and Moses decided to lead them across the desert to Sinai, the holy mountain. There an angel of the LORD appeared to him from a burning bush. Moses saw that the bush was on fire, but it was not burning up. “This is strange!” he said to himself. “I'll go over and see why the bush isn't burning up.”
When the LORD saw Moses coming near the bush, he called him by name, and Moses answered, “Here I am.”
God replied, “Don't come any closer. Take off your sandals—the ground where you are standing is holy. I am the God who was worshipped by your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”
Moses was afraid to look at God, and so he hid his face.
The LORD said:
I have seen how my people are suffering as slaves in Egypt, and I have heard them beg for my help because of the way they are being ill-treated. I feel sorry for them, and I have come down to rescue them from the Egyptians.
I will bring my people out of Egypt into a country where there is good land, rich with milk and honey. I will give them the land where the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites now live. My people have begged for my help, and I have seen how cruel the Egyptians are to them. Now go to the king! I am sending you to lead my people out of his country.
But Moses said, “Who am I to go to the king and lead your people out of Egypt?”
God replied, “I will be with you. And you will know that I am the one who sent you, when you worship me on this mountain after you have led my people out of Egypt.”
Moses answered, “I will tell the people of Israel that the God their ancestors worshipped has sent me to them. But what should I say, if they ask me your name?”
God said to Moses:
I am the eternal God. So tell them that the LORD, whose name is “I Am”, has sent you. This is my name for ever, and it is the name that people must use from now on.