The Burning Bush
1One day Moses was taking care of Jethro’s flock. (Jethro was the priest of
Midian and also Moses’ father-in-law.) When Moses led the flock to the west
side of the desert, he came to Sinai, the mountain of God. 2There the angel of the
LORD appeared to him in flames of fire coming out of a bush. Moses saw that
the bush was on fire, but it was not burning up. 3So he said, “I will go closer to
this strange thing. How can a bush continue burning without burning up?”
4When the LORD saw Moses was coming to look at the bush, God called to
him from the bush, “Moses, Moses!”
And Moses said, “Here I am.”
5Then God said, “Do not come any closer. Take off your sandals, because
you are standing on holy ground. 6I am the God of your ancestors—the God of
Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” Moses covered his face
because he was afraid to look at God.
7The LORD said, “I have seen the troubles my people have suffered in Egypt,
and I have heard their cries when the Egyptian slave masters hurt them. I am
concerned about their pain, 8and I have come down to save them from the
Egyptians. I will bring them out of that land and lead them to a good land with
lots of room—a fertile land. It is the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites,
Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. 9I have heard the cries of the people of Israel,
and I have seen the way the Egyptians have made life hard for them. 10So now I
am sending you to the king of Egypt. Go! Bring my people, the Israelites, out of
11But Moses said to God, “I am not a great man! How can I go to the king and
lead the Israelites out of Egypt?”
12God said, “I will be with you. This will be the proof that I am sending you:
After you lead the people out of Egypt, all of you will worship me on this
13Moses said to God, “When I go to the Israelites, I will say to them, ‘The
God of your fathers sent me to you.’ What if the people say, ‘What is his name?’
What should I tell them?”
14Then God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.ﾣ When you go to the people of
Israel, tell them, ‘I AM sent me to you.’”
15God also said to Moses, “This is what you should tell the people: ‘The
LORD is the God of your ancestors—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and
the God of Jacob. He sent me to you.’ This will always be my name, by which
people from now on will know me.
16“Go and gather the older leaders and tell them this: ‘The LORD, the God of
your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, has appeared to me. He said, I care
about you, and I have seen what has happened to you in Egypt. 17I promised I
would take you out of your troubles in Egypt. I will lead you to the land of the
Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites—a fertile land.’
18“The older leaders will listen to you. And then you and the older leaders of
Israel will go to the king of Egypt and tell him, ‘The LORD, the God of the
Hebrews, appeared to us. Let us travel three days into the desert to offer
sacrifices to the LORD our God.’
19“But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go. Only a great power
will force him to let you go, 20so I will use my great power against Egypt. I will
strike Egypt with all the miracles that will happen in that land. After I do that, he
will let you go. 21I will cause the Egyptians to think well of the Israelites. So
when you leave, they will give gifts to your people. 22Each woman should ask her
Egyptian neighbor and any Egyptian woman living in her house for gifts—silver,
gold, and clothing. You should put those gifts on your children when you leave
Egypt. In this way you will take with you the riches of the Egyptians.”
The Holy Bible, New Century Version
Moses, who saved the Hebrews from bondage, was born and raised under extraordinary circumstances. Son of a Hebrew slave, he became a member ofthe Egyptian royal family. Later he became an outcast to the Egyptians and fled to the desert, where God prepared him for his future role.
God's plans for us contain a lot of surprises. God leads and provides the means to reach his goals.
Consider the rod of Moses. By this time in his life, Moses had been a shepherd as long as he had been a prince, and he'd grown accustomed to it. Herding sheep wasn't as lively as living with Egyptian royalty, but it had its moments, especially the moment God spoke to him through a burning bush that didn't burn up. God announced that Moses was his man to deliver the Israelites. Moses wasn't convinced he was the one for the job. God said that who Moses was didn't matter; what mattered was who God was. And God set out to demonstrate.
"Moses;' spoke the voice from the bush, "throw down your staff."
Moses, who had walked this mountain for forty years, was not comfortable with the command.
"God, you know a lot about a lot of things, but you may not know that out here, well, you just don't go around throwing down your staff. You never know when ... "
"Throw it down, Moses:' Moses threw it down. The rod became a snake, and Moses began to run.
The old shepherd stopped. "Pick up the snake."
Moses peered over his shoulder, first at the snake and then the bush, and then he gave the most courageous response he could muster.
"Pick up the snake ... by the tail." (God had to be smiling at this point.)
"God, I don't mean to object. I mean, you know a lot of things, but out here in the desert, well, you don't pick up snakes too often, and you never pick up snakes by the tail."
Just as Moses' hand touched the squirmy scales of the snake, it hardened. And Moses lifted up the rod. The same rod he would lift up in Pharaoh's court. The same rod he would lift up to divide the water and guide two million people through a desert. The rod that would remind Moses that if God can make a stick become a snake, then become a stick again-then perhaps he can do something with stubborn hearts and a stiff-necked people.
Perhaps he can do something with the common. (From The Applause of Heaven by Max Lucado)
Have you ever been in a hopeless position at work, school, or home? Have you felt trapped and powerless to act? Remember, God hears our needs and answers prayers in the manner that will help us, serve his will, and often surprise us. Trust God in prayer right now for special guidance today.
Plans - Genesis 45:4-8; Matthew 2:16-23; Mark 1:2-3; 1 Corinthians 2:7.