Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the desert and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, ‘I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.” –Exodus 3:1-3
God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!”
And Moses said, “Here I am.”
“Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” Then he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God, (Exodus 3:4-6).
The God of the Burning Bush
Some of the clearest and dearest revelation of God’s character is found in verses 11-15. Moses, who had failed the first time to deliver the Israelites by his own strength, had 40 years to ponder his actions and consequences of stepping ahead of God’s time table. He wanted some clarification before stepping out in this deliverance mission God had for him. Moses’ questions to God boiled down to: “Who am I?” and “Who are you?”
God’s answer to Moses’ questions directs his attention to God and away from himself.
The basis for Moses’ obedience—as well as the nation of Israel—stems from God’s revelation to Moses.
The eternal, powerful, and compassionate God reminds Moses of His unchanging nature through His covenant promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob hundreds of years earlier. God wasn’t changing His plan, but simply working out the old plan through Moses.
Layman’s Bible Commentary asserts: “The character of God who is calling and commissioning Moses is the basis for Moses’ faith and obedience. The God of the burning bush is a holy God, an object of fear and reverence. . . . How is the holiness of God a significant factor in the Exodus? The sins of the Egyptians must be dealt with, and additionally, the possession of the land of Canaan by the Israelites (Exodus 3:8, 17) is a judgment on these peoples for their abominations in the sight of God (see Genesis 15:16; Leviticus 18:24-28).”
After receiving the revelation of who God is, Moses is given God’s plan for him and for Israel. The commands are based upon the prophecy and promise given Abraham (Gen. 15:12-20). Moses is to do the following: Tell the Israelites the God “I Am” sent him; request a three-day leave for the Israelites to worship God in the desert; collect the wages due to God’s people for their hard work in Egypt.
God invites and commissions people to participate in His purposes.
God did not change Moses’ personality, or give him new abilities. Instead, He took Moses’ unique training and characteristics, then molded them for His purposes. Instead of asking God, “What should I change into?” maybe we should ask, “How do you want to use my gifts and abilities?”
While training is important, our usefulness for God is only as good as the object/person we place our faith in. God knew how the details would play out for Moses, the Israelites, and Pharaoh. Because He is all-knowing and good, we can trust Him with our future.
Finally, Layman’s Commentary has some great observations:
- The measure of our faith is proportionate to our grasp of the greatness and the goodness of our God.
- Moses’ authority is wrapped up in the presence of God, which is assured when he is obedient to God’s command.
- Just as the burning bush was not consumed by the fire, so Israel will not be consumed by the fires of affliction and adversity, now or forever (see Malachi 3:2-3, 5-6).
Have a wonderful weekend!