Exodus 3:1-6 (NASB Strong’s) Now Moses was pasturing the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian; and he led the flock to the west side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2 The angel of the Lord appeared to him in a blazing fire from the midst of a bush; and he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, yet the bush was not consumed. 3 So Moses said, “ I must turn aside now and see this marvelous sight, why the bush is not burned up.” 4 When the Lord saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” 5 Then He said, “Do not come near here; remove your sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” 6 He said also, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” Then Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.
This is a passage that is often one of the most famous passages in all of the Scriptures. It is the moment when Moses is made aware that God has a special purpose for him. That he has to decide if he is going to accept this purpose as God is revealing it. What is striking about this passage is that God is providing the call to Moses without much of the detail. Beyond verse 6 we see that God is very general in laying out the plan for Moses. We see some objections from Moses and God settling them. But it all comes back to accepting the call.
Think for moment about your life. What you have seen in your lifetime, the experiences that you have experienced. The joys of your life, even the great lessons that you have learned. Some probably have something to do with God and perhaps others it might appear have little to do with God’s Hand. But wait. God had a purpose for Moses, from the beginning. When he is spared by being set adrift by his mom, to the blessing of being taken into the house of pharaoh’s daughter. Then grow up as a Jew in a privileged manner. He then commits murder, has to flee and then we find Him on God’s mountain. It appears he is vulnerable, probably scared and even disappointed. This is not what he had wished for or certainly not dreamed of becoming, a fugitive on the run. However. God saw it different. He heard the cry and pain of the children of Israel and He was choosing to answer them with this fugitive Moses. Just as He is choosing us today, to maybe do something extraordinary for His Kingdom. Just like Moses the events of our life might be to prepare us for our moment when we are on God’s mountain and receiving the call God has for you.
I think what we find is that God, does not always operate in logical ways. He does not work within the “ways of the wise of this world” He has is own plan, it is a perfect plan. What we have to consider is that God is speaking today just as He was to Moses. He speaks to you and to me. We know that that the bible teaches, the he uses His Word, sometimes through people and of course through circumstances. These are all ways He makes His plan known. But He also speaks through prayer, through our conversations with Him. This is where we find Moses in this passage. Regardless of how He speaks to us, we need to be prepared to be on His mountain and ready to listen and hear His call for our life, today, tomorrow, next year, perhaps for the rest of our life. Moses could not look backward, though he tried. The key to the whole deal with this call was to look forward, from today onward. Letting go of the past is what the Bible teaches us.
I want to spend the rest of our time in this passage looking at how we can make sure that we don’t miss the message, when we are on God’s mountain.
First, we need to be on watch- Moses was on watch and probably not even aware of it, sometimes we are looking for something and we don’t even realize it. Moses was tending the flock but he really was about to find out that this flock was not the flock that God really intended for him to shepherd. God had been preparing Moses for something much bigger and now was the time for him to learn of God’s plan for His life. We need to be on watch but search ourselves while we are in search of God, or perhaps God’s purpose for our life, or circumstance, pain or suffering. And remember that God not only knows where we are, but He has a purpose and a plan for us. Moses thought of every objection he could come up with as to why he was disqualified from this purpose. But God saw if differently. Maybe you have thought that you have missed your chance to be on mission for God. Maybe you think it is too late. God can take an 80 year old Moses and give him purpose, a new roll. He can take you and me regardless of how old we are or what we might have done or not done in the past. The God of Moses, is the God of Keith, the God of Brian, the God of Brenda. He can take us and use us only if we are willing.
The next thing we learn from this passage is that we can’t doubt God’s timing. . Moses is 80, he is a fugitive, a murder and a man who might seem a “bum” to many. But not to God. When God looked at Moses He saw potential, He saw greatness, He saw His child. God sees the same thing when He looks at you and me. He sees our potential of what we can do for Him and His Kingdom work. Moses is busy tending the flock of his father in law. This was a duty that he probably did not want to take lightly. Though he already had to prove himself to his father in law, he still felt, probably, that he was not meeting his expectation. Moses was married to his daughter, a man who seemingly had nothing, not even his own flock. How was he going to care for his daughter and his grandchildren, add to the fact that his father in law was a minister a priest and you have what seems an impossible situation for Moses. Think that Moses had big shoes to fill, his father in law’s name Jethro means excellence, yes excellence. Every time he used his father in law’s name he was reminded of what he was not! But God had a different plan, didn’t He? Moses was destined to being a great tool, hand picked by God. He would lead millions for 40 years plus through a journey that would be a beginning of something magnificent in the world from this point forward. A nation would be blessed with the promise made so long ago, but would be fulfilled through the obedience of Moses. We need to be on watch but we also need not limit God in the timing that He might want us to go to the mountain of God to receive a call for something great in God’s work.
The third is that we need to make sure that God is speaking. In the story we see that the bush is what God is speaking from a burning bush. What we don’t expect is that God only speaks through burning bushes. Though, we might smile at that suggestion, and say to ourselves that we know that to be true and might even be heard saying to others that God speaks in mighty ways, and many different ways. But I want to ask you do your really believe that? Do you really believe that God speaks to you? Or are you waiting for a burning bush? Then you will know for sure that it is God. The truth is we all have probably have been here. We think God is speaking to us, calling us or leading us to something. But we tell ourselves that it might not be Him. He would not speak that way. Then we cry out to Him saying that if only we have a burning bush then we would know that we know. God can speak through burning bushes, but not all burning bushes are the same. Your burning bush could be a situation at your job that has created a circumstance that you were fired or you were laid off, forced to resign or you just lost your passion and desire, your burned out. So you wonder where God is, you are searching for Him asking why He has left you but what we are failing to see is that He has been there all along and is making His Will known, we just are seeing it. Maybe you have facing a difficult situation in your life, your family a decision that you have to make. You’re wondering where your burning bush is. Let me tell you it is there. If you are a follower of Christ, a child of God we can have the confidence that it is there. We just might not be able to see it yet. The bible does not tell us how long it was between verse 1 and 2 in this passage or how many times Moses had been on this mountain doing just what he was doing today. But today was different. Today he was going to find the burning bush. You too must stay on it, looking, waiting for the will of God to be revealed. For Moses it took 40 years for this moment. It might take longer for you, maybe not. But what you have to be ready and willing to see it when it comes. Here are a few basic reminders that will help us in determining if we have found the right burning bush. What God tells us or leads us to do will never contradict His written Word. He is not going to tell us to do something that violates His scripture. Next we need to check our spiritual condition. If we are distant from Him, or have fallen into disobedience then we have to realize that we are not in a place where we can discern His Will. So we must stay in His Word reading it and spending time praying, in His presence. We need to be part of a community of believers that are pushing and helping us stretch in our knowledge and understanding of who He is and what He wants to do. The church is a perfect place for this. Finally God often will validate His plans for us through others. He speaks to more than just us. God will use those around us to point us toward His plan. I think Aaron was that for Moses. When I was called to ministry, even before I had come to terms with it, I will never forget that my Mom was being told by God that I would be a minister. So when I came to her to share, she smiled and said I already know.
Finally if we are to make certain that we don’t miss the message then we need to listen intently. To listen is to understand that we might not be provided with all of the knowledge that we wish or even want to have. But we have to trust Him. We can say we trust Him but when it becomes uncomfortable for us or our family then we often find it too difficult. We have to listen to Him when we are on the mountain and we need to keep listening to Him we come down and begin the journey. This is difficult and is not ever going to be easy. We will be hit with doubt and confusion, we will try to logically explain why it won’t work. We will forget the message if we don’t find a way to keep listening. I use a GPS to get to new places for me, and even sometimes when I know where it is I use the GPS to find a new path to my destination. But what I love about a GPS that you don’t have with map is step by step guidance through a voice. On mine we have a female british voice, don’t know who she is or where she lives, but she is the voice that I have come to depend on, the familiar voice that I trust to guide me through the unknown. We need to find a way to recognize God’s voice and keep listening to it. One way is we keep our focus on Him, looking for Him in each step of the way. We also have to surround ourselves with other Godly people that will help discern and encourage us with God’s message. Also, we need to pray for ourselves, that we have the strength to fulfill the call.
I love this passage it is one where we find encouragement that God has a place for you and even for me in His plan. That is an awesome thing to consider that the same God that did this in Moses’s life is the same God we have in our life. We need to take courage and consider that God is working around us and in us. We need to be strong and ready to accept the message when our time comes to go up to the Mountain.