A Burning Bush
TEXT: Exodus 3:1-15; Isaiah 43:1-2
A great God speaks to a humble man through a burning bush.
The shepherd awoke with the sun on his face. Thanking the Lord for another new day, he arose and wrapped his cloak around him. It was time to begin moving the sheep on toward Mt. Sinai. As he walked among the sleeping animals, something caught his eye over to the side of the area where they had rested through the night. A bush was on fire!
There was hardly enough food on this dry plain for the sheep, as it was. A fire burning up the available pasture would be a disaster. He hurried over to investigate—something was strange here! Although there was fire, the bush was not burning up.
Suddenly a Voice sounded forth from the very heart of the burning bush. “Moses, Moses.” Startled, and not seeing anyone nearby, Moses answered, “Here am I.” The Voice called out again, “Don’t come any closer. Take off your shoes, for the place where you are standing is holy ground. I am the God of your father and the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” The Almighty God was speaking to him! Moses hid his face, afraid to look on God.
God spoke again. He told Moses that He had heard the cry of the Children of Israel in Egypt and He knew they were in trouble. God promised to deliver them out of Egypt and to bring them to a land flowing with milk and honey. Then God said, “I will send you to Pharaoh, to bring my people, the Children of Israel, out of Egypt.
Moses was stunned. “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Children of Israel out of Egypt?” Talk about an impossible job! Moses felt that he couldn’t go to the rulers of Egypt and tell them that he was taking the Israelites away. They would never let all of their slaves go just at his word. How could God ask this of him?
God spoke again. “Certainly I will be with you, and this will be a sign that I have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will serve God upon this mountain.” All the Children of Israel at this mountain? God would bring them all to this very place? Moses felt unsure. “The people will ask who sent me. How will they know that I am the one to lead them? How do I know they will follow me?” Again the Voice spoke, “I Am That I Am . . . Say unto the children of Israel, I Am has sent me to you.”
Then God told Moses exactly what He wanted him to do. He was to meet with the elders of Israel and tell them what God had said. Together they would go to Pharaoh, and Moses would tell him all the words of God. The Lord told him that Pharaoh would not let the people go, and that He would smite Egypt with all His wonders. What were the wonders of God? How would these things come to pass? Moses felt so helpless.
The Voice of God continued, “What is that in your hand? Throw it on the ground.” As Moses threw down his rod, it became a snake! Moses ran! The Voice spoke again, “Take it by the tail.” Moses obeyed. He reached down and grabbed the serpent by the tail. It became a rod again.
Once more God spoke, “Put your hand inside your coat.” Moses obeyed, but when he took it back out it was covered with leprosy—a dreaded disease! Then God said, “Put it back inside your coat.” Moses obeyed again, and this time when he took it back out, it was normal. Moses was beginning to realize that he must obey God’s commands.
He turned the sheep toward home. The call of God had come and changed the course of his life. Somehow Moses knew that things would never be the same. But God had promised to be with him. The Voice of God echoed in his mind just as it had sounded in the desert, “Certainly I will be with you . . . Certainly I will be with you . . . Certainly I will be with you . . .”
God’s call to Moses came in a dramatic and unusual way, didn’t it? He was called to a tremendous job, but do you know, God has a call for you too? It may not be to lead a whole nation hundreds of miles away to an unknown land. It probably won’t come through a Voice from a burning bush. But it is just as important as the call that God gave to Moses.
You may feel you can’t do what God has asked you to do. That was the way Moses felt. But just as God promised to be with Moses, He has promised to be with you and to help you in whatever He asks you to do. Trust Him! Then, as Moses, you can hear God say, “Certainly I will be with you.”