The Burning Bush
3 Now Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian, and he led his flock to the west side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. And the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed. And Moses said, “I will turn aside to see this great sight, why the bush is not burned.” When the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” Then he said, “Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” And he said, “I am the God of your 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 at God.
Then the LORD said, “I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters. I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. And now, behold, the cry of the people of Israel has come to me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them. Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.” But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” He said, “But I will be with you, and this shall be the sign for you, that I have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.”
Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations. Go and gather the elders of Israel together and say to them, ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, has appeared to me, saying, “I have observed you and what has been done to you in Egypt, and I promise that I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt to the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, a land flowing with milk and honey.”’ And they will listen to your voice, and you and the elders of Israel shall go to the king of Egypt and say to him, ‘The LORD, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us; and now, please let us go a three days’ journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the LORD our God.’ But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless compelled by a mighty hand. So I will stretch out my hand and strike Egypt with all the wonders that I will do in it; after that he will let you go. And I will give this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians; and when you go, you shall not go empty, but each woman shall ask of her neighbor, and any woman who lives in her house, for silver and gold jewelry, and for clothing. You shall put them on your sons and on your daughters. So you shall plunder the Egyptians.”
Exodus 3 Commentary
by Hank Workman
“Where can I go from Your Spirit? Where can I flee from Your presence?”Psalm 139:7
40 years of Moses’ life he was in Egypt. 40 more additional years he was in the land of Midian. The calling of his last 40 years would be something far beyond what he ever imagined – a leader.
It’s hard to fathom all Moses personally felt through his first 80 years. At one point he was an Egyptian prince then was marked as a murderer on the run. Being a shepherd for the last 40 would have been the last thing he imagined himself doing. He lived as a foreigner within the land. It was a lesson only God could orchestrate as all he had experienced was training for the greatest moment of his life. Although he had fled from Egypt in fear and spent these years tending sheep, there was nowhere he could flee from the presence of God or His calling.
The burning bush experience for Moses was his fork in the road, his turning point. God was calling him. No matter what excuse he gave, how much he personally did not want to do what was being asked – there was no way for him to flee from it. Yes, what God asked of him was on the insane radar and made no sense. Yes, what God told him would happen seemed far from the rational. Yes, Moses was reluctant. But God’s calling was firm.
Often times God calls us to things we feel completely inadequate to take up. He many times leads us to places that have been hard but training ground for the next chapter of our life. The fact remains though, no matter what our own logical excuses may be, when God calls – He follows through. There is no escaping the calling upon our lives. Mark Batterson says quite often, “God doesn’t call the qualified. He qualifies the called.”
Where has God been calling you? What has He been asking of you that makes no sense and quite honestly you really are hesitant to embrace? God’s plans stand firm. He has marked you for purpose and destiny that is far beyond what you could ever imagine even. Just as there is no way for us to flee from His presence, we must realize His presence that has sought us will walk with us through that calling.
Exodus 3 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
God shows His character to Moses by both coming down to him and promising to be present with him. We read the details in verses 8 and 12.
“So I have come down to deliver them from the power of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and spacious land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanite and the Hittite and the Amorite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite.Exodus 3:8 NASB
And He said, “Certainly I will be with you, and this shall be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God at this mountain.”Exodus 3:12 NASB
The plan that God had for His creation was to first come down. It’s an act of grace that He would even show Himself to us. For us as believers today, we know that God showed the ultimate act of humility by sending His Son Christ down to atone for our sin. This single act is what separates Christianity from any other religion or worldview. Man doesn’t work his way to God, but rather, God comes and pursues man.
Coming down was a huge deal for Moses, but it wasn’t the end. To only come down would really only benefit Moses (and Israel) in the short term. God promised to remain with them as a sign. He knows we are weak and led easily astray by our flesh, so he made a covenant to pursue His people. Today, as believers, we know that this mean the Holy Spirit has taken up residence in our body. He has sealed us as belonging to Christ. Coming down was gracious, but choosing to be with us forever is indescribable.
At the end of verse 12, we see clearly what our response should be. It’s the response God had planned all the way back during Moses’ time and it’s the same response He desires today. It’s worship. The only logical conclusion to a God who comes down and promises to remain with us is to praise Him with our lives. This is the same command that Jesus asks of us – to sacrifice.
Have we ever really thought about how appalling grace is? God didn’t have to come down or remain with us, but He did. Jesus went to the cross willingly. The Holy Spirit was sent, not because we earned Him, but because God loves us. These are truths that lead us to a place of incredible humility – the worship of our Creator. Take time today to think about this. Take time today to worship.