“Moses was shepherding the flock of Jethro, his father-in-law, the priest of Midian. He led the flock to the west end of the wilderness and came to the mountain of God, Horeb. The angel of God appeared to him in flames of fire blazing out of the middle of a bush. He looked. The bush was blazing away but it didn’t burn up.” Exodus 3:1-4,5,10
3 Moses said, “What’s going on here? I can’t believe this! Amazing! Why doesn’t the bush burn up?”
4 God saw that he had stopped to look. God called to him from out of the bush, “Moses! Moses!”
A bush was on fire in the wilderness. He had probably passed that bush a hundred times and never noticed it. It wasn’t just burning; it kept burning. Although Moses was in the wilderness, God came to meet him right in the middle of a bush. It seems kind of odd, but Moses maybe wouldn’t have noticed if God came to him in a different way. Moses didn’t just see the bush and walk by it, but it captivated his attention.
Then, someone said his named. He looked over his shoulder to see if his father-in-law had followed him. No one was there. He didn’t see anyone, but he responded.
He said, “Yes? I’m right here!”
Where was right here? Moses was shepherding in the middle of nowhere. He had run for his life to escape the Egyptian law. He was no longer just wandering; he had become a wanderer. The temporary escape from Egypt turned into a career change that left him in the middle of the wilderness. However, the wilderness had become familiar because time diminished the passion of his original dream. If you remember, Moses had tried to help an oppressed Israelite in Egypt. He knew that the unjust treatment was not right. Despite his conviction, his fear had driven him far away.
Now, right here was in the middle of the dessert, learning how to care for sheep. Although his path had taken a detour, he stood in front of the bush fully present.
5 God said, “Don’t come any closer. Remove your sandals from your feet. You’re standing on holy ground.”
Moses was frozen in place. He slowly reached down and took his right shoe off. Then, he took his left shoe off. Who knew that there was holy ground in the wilderness. He had always thought that it was just unkept terrain. There was nothing really special about dirt, bushes, and tumbleweeds. But, when God showed up, everything took on a new significance.
It’s time for you to go back: I’m sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the People of Israel, out of Egypt.”
Moses probably couldn’t breathe. He had always wanted to save the Israelites, but it didn’t make sense. He never thought God would find him in the wilderness. Even though Moses had lost his direction and passion, God was working behind the scenes. Moses wasn’t up against a wall. He was up against a bush. God had spoken. God gave him direction. Now, it was up to Moses to respond.
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