The second sign God gave him was a leprous hand. He was to put his hand inside his cloak, and when he pulled it out it had turned white with leprosy. When he put it back in again, it was cured. I suppose the power of that came from the fact that the Egyptians were very fastidious about personal cleanliness. They didn’t want defilement, and leprosy was the ultimate defilement. So here you have a revelation of a God who is able to inflict with illness and also to cure. Later on in the plaques, we are going to find out that the gods of Egypt who were supposed to do that were unable to do it. They were powerless before God. 

The name also points to God’s self-sufficiency. Self-existence means that God has no origin; self-sufficiency means that God has no needs. “I am that I am.” That’s what God is saying to Moses. Now it is true that God graciously uses us to carry out His plans. He was doing that with Moses, after all. He was calling Moses because He was going to send Moses to Egypt to be His agent in bringing the people out to their own land. But He didn’t need to use Moses, and He doesn’t need to use us either.

When God revealed Himself to Moses by saying “I am,” the very fact that he said “I” indicated how personal He was. That’s a very important thing to bear in mind because when we are talking about God, we are not talking about some cosmic force. You can’t worship a force any more than you can worship gravity. God reveals Himself here to be a person who is able to interact on the personal level with Moses, a human being.

God is also holy. And when Moses approached this bush he had to take off his sandals. Sandals of course would be dirty, picking up dust of the ground. Thus, they became a symbol for defilement or impurity. But the significance of putting off the sandals is to approach God in holiness, and that’s what Moses had to do. 

There’s a phrase that’s used in Old Testament and New Testament scholarship that you may have heard; it’s the phrase, “the silent years." What that refers to is the period between the last of the Old Testament prophets, Malachi, and the appearance of God to Zechariah in the New Testament to announce the birth of John the Baptist—four centuries in which there was no new revelation from God. God was silent. Now there’s a period like that in the early history of Israel, and about the same length of time.