The Burning Bush
Exodus 3:1-3 “Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father-in-law,….and he led the flock to the back side of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb.
And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.
And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.”
The bush burned, yet was not consumed.
Moses had been in exile from Egypt, and had married, and was caring for the flock of his father-in-law.
Then he saw a sight that was so unusual that he left the herd, and went to see it.
It was a dry desert bush that was burning….the flame was in the “midst of the bush”……..
…….yet it was not getting burnt up….it was not being destroyed by the flame….but was manifesting the flame.
(I want to talk for just a moment about us…..as that dry wilderness bush.
We are in a wilderness of this world….but more, we are part of the landscape; as that bush was. We fit right in to this world’s scene.
There was nothing unusual about the bush……until it glowed with the Presence of God. [When the Lord manifested Himself to men in the Old Testament, He was often called “the angel of the Lord”.]
But when the Lord “enlightened” it…..it became something which drew men toward the Light.
God does not want to “burn us up”…..but rather burn within us, so we will manifest His light.)
Years earlier, in Pharaoh’s court, Moses had thought that surely he could deliver “his brethren”, the Israelites…..and tried (Exodus 2:11-14)…and failed….
……..but the years out on the desert had withered his pride and confidence in himself…..and he was like this dry bush…….waiting for God’s flame to light him,….call him,….and use him.
Exodus 3:4 “And when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses, and he said, Here am I.”
As Moses was coming to see this sight, a Voice spoke to him…..it was a Voice he recognized….
…….So when he heard this Voice, he answered: “Hear I am.”
He was answering a Person….a Person Who he believed in,…..for the scriptures plainly say that:
“by faith, Moses…refused to be called the son of Pharoah’s daughter……esteeming the reproaches of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt:…”(Hebrews 11:24-26)
Exodus 3:5-6 “And He said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet; for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.
Moreover He said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.”
Moses came forward….but not too far…….(there is that place where we must recognize the Almighty….and bow.)
Then the Lord began the process of calling Moses to do the work of deliverance.
The Lord said, “I am come down to deliver them….Come now…..and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou may bring forth My people…out of Egypt.” (Exodus 3:8-10)
But Moses, instead of rejoicing…..now the time has come…..says:
“Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt” (Exodus 3:11)
The wilderness had done it’s job….the confidence of Moses, the prince of Egypt was gone…..
…..but now hesitation was present. Moses felt that, if in his earlier might and vigor he could not persuade the Israelites…..what could he do now, that he was older, and had no power?
The Lord spoke again of His Presence…..(remember Moses is standing in front of a bush burning….and hearing God)…..”Certainly I will be with thee…”
(It is amazing how many times in the Word, the Lord says the same thing to HIs people….to us!
“I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” Matthew 28:20; “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” Hebrews 13:5)
Moses then asks, Who shall I say sent me? What is Your name?
God then explains His name: I AM THAT I AM. I am from everlasting…there was no time, that I was not….And I always will be.
God explains Moses ministry, first to Israel….
…..then before Pharaoh, who, God told him, would not listen, or let them go…..at first.
But God would deal with him and his nation…
Moses is still unsure…..not of God…..but of himself, and his ability to deal with the people and Pharaoh.
So God shows him another lesson…..Moses shepherd’s rod. The rod he had been using for years, taking care of sheep.
But by God’s Word, the ordinary rod became a tool of God.
Exodus 4:2-4 “And the Lord said unto him, What is that in thine hand? And he said, A rod.
And He said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it.
And the Lord said unto Moses, Put forth thine hand, and take it by the tail. And he put forth his hand, and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand:”
(You will notice, Moses ran from the serpent, but at the Lord’s command; picked it up by the tail. It was not fear for himself which hindered Moses….but fear of failing in the deliverance of Israel.)
Then God told him to put his hand into his bosom….and it was leprous.
Then put it into his bosom again….and it was whole.
God is able….the message is clear.
….but Moses turns to his speech….he was not a man of words….he did not think he could speak well enough to talk before Pharaoh and the people.
By this time, the Lord’s anger was “kindled” against Moses: The answer God gives comes as a rebuke (to backstrike with words)….
….God was displeased with Moses lack of zeal for his calling….for letting fear, rule his will.
God knew his heart….He knew that Moses wanted the deliverance of Israel….but Moses was letting imaginary hinderances block his sight.
Moses had “turned aside to see”…..and God had showed him that a bush can burn, and not be consumed by God’s Presence…
That a rod can be turned to a terrifying tool for God….
That disease can be given in a moment….and healed in a moment by the God of his fathers….I am that I am.
But Moses was letting his past failure blind his eyes from seeing that in all these examples…..God was saying “I am able….for you”.
God goes on to give him Aaron, his brother, who would speak to the people and Pharaoh, the words Moses would say.
“And thou shalt take this rod in thine hand, wherewith thou shalt do signs.” (Exodus 4:17)
But God says it in such a way, that there is no “backtalk” from Moses…..”And Moses went…” (Exodus 4:18)
How often do we “see” what the Lord is trying to tell us?
Are we letting past failures, or fear blind us to what God is calling us to do?
Moses went….and as we know, he dealt with Pharaoh…….”The Lord has said, Let My people go.”……..bringing the people out of Egypt, in triumph.
That rod stayed with him to the end…..he used it many times.
(The serpent before Pharaoh, the rod turned the rivers to blood, brought frogs out of the rivers, he held it up at the Red Sea, he smote the rock for water, etc.)
It was just a plain shepherd’s rod….which, when used in God’s service, became a weapon, and a guide for those that were brought out.
The lesson God showed Moses, from the fire in the bush, is just the same for us:
Deuteronomy 4:24 “For the Lord thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God.” (It is repeated in Hebrews 12:29)
Jealous means that He is zealous of His commandments and calling….He will not let anything else take His place in our hearts and lives….
He will lead us through failures,….speaking to us, to draw us on with Him…..rebuking us, correcting us….so that we may be instruments in His hands.
For Moses,…..and for all of His servants, that He calls……
……it is not what we are to start with…..but what we let Him make us; that makes all the difference.
1 Corinthians 1:27 “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;”
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 “And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”