Moses and the Burning Bush (Exodus 3:3-12)
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 wilderness 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.”
When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, 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.
The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”
But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”
And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.”
I love the story of Moses for many reasons. If you have not read it, it’s worth the time to invest in reading and studying the life of this man who encountered God in the wilderness and then led God’s people out of the grips of slavery. It’s simply one of the most miraculous stories aside from the birth and life of Jesus.
Moses had fled his place of nobility after killing a man for his mistreatment of his people. We find him tending flocks. No one was looking for Moses. He was an outcast.
Have you ever felt like an outcast? Unseen, unheard, unloved by peers, or that you’ve been stranded on the back side of the desert? If so you’re in a good place to encounter God.
You may be thinking, “That’s ludicrous!” But it’s not. God encounters us in the mundane, the hidden seasons, our brokenness, our pain and suffering, and in our wilderness experiences.
We normally ask the questions:
Why am I here? When will this be over?
The great questions to ask are…what is God attempting to do in me? What can I learn from God in this situation? What is God teaching me? Isn’t this just a setup for a miracle? How can I listen for and learn the voice of God in this hard place, the hidden place, the wilderness? How can I go deeper with God in this place?
I dare not glorify suffering and I’m not talking about sickness or disease or poverty. I’m talking about those hard situations in relationships and family, being abandoned by those who said they’d always be there, finding yourself as an outcast in society, etc…
I want you to know that God knows where to find you and He wastes nothing. You are not hidden or forsaken by God.
If you allow it, the wilderness can be a place of deep intimacy with God. Since He is the only support system, there is a daily learning to trust Him for manna. There is more time to be with God and converse with Him.
There’s sanctification and strengthening of the inward man in the wilderness. Our pride is exposed in the wilderness. The sense of entitlement rises up within us, “Why me God? This isn’t fair!!! You’re blessing everyone but me. Why are they being promoted? What about me?”
Trust me as one who’s had long seasons on the back side of the desert, it’s worth it…though it’s painful. There were days I felt forsaken or I could not take another step forward. God didn’t deliver me from, He delivered me through. I learned and am learning to lean. He placed me in many situations that required miracles, and He provided.
God longs to be known and loved. The wilderness exposes who and what we are worshipping and who or what we love.
We become humble or bitter in the wilderness.
If we seek God in the wilderness, we find the sweetest encounters with the Living God.
One of the greatest thing about this story with Moses is that when the angel of the Lord appeared in the burning bush, he turned to see what was happening.
We can miss God in the wilderness if we are busy trying to get out of the wilderness or hosting pity parties. God is always up to something good. He says, “I want you to know me in this place. The hidden place, the place of complete dependence on me, so you can know me.” God is speaking in your wilderness. God is showing up every day to meet with you. Don’t mistake His silence for absence. Sometimes He wants to be pursued, or He’s silent during a test. Yet He never leaves or forsakes.
Intimacy is fueled by desire…
I’ve found people who have never had to depend on God know less about Him and aren’t as hungry for Him. I know it’s a generalization, those are not good…here me out. When I go to Brazil on missions, people will get in canoes and travel hours even at night for a church service. They are so hungry for God and prayer for the sick. They have no healthcare. In the USA, we have worship services and sometimes people don’t come at all or they are on their iPhones or talking or looking at their watches. If it’s not a big name worship leader, prophet, teacher, healer, evangelists…then there’s no packing the church or venue. It’s not my place to judge. Yet I’ve not seen any worship in the USA that compares to the worship in the villages on the interior of the Amazon Jungle. People so hungry, one night we had worship by lanterns and we’re all most eaten alive by mosquitoes (slight exaggeration, yet it was a bug fest)…people came by the canoe full and never complained.
May you and I seek God in the hard places, the hidden places, the wilderness experiences. May we abide in Him and grow to know His miraculous love and provision. May we choose knowing and loving Him above all…
God bless you! You are deeply loved and prayed for.