“University of Fire Bush”
II.) Vs. 1-4a A Burning Question
III.) Vs. 4b-10 A Holy Answer
The stories of people’s lives are always incredible. How do people become who and what they are? What are the events in their lives that motivated them to become the persons that they are? Now I must admit I have selfish reasons as to why I love history; you see I’m looking for little nuggets for my own history. Those little insights that happened in some one else’s life that I can apply in mine.
It is for these reasons that the story of Moses is so interesting to me; what were the key events that led Moses to become who he became? What we have before us today may just be the greatest turning point in his life. Further more if we can understand just what that was it may be the greatest turning point in your life as well.
One of the greatest mysteries about God is why He so chooses to limit himself by using human means. If God wanted to deliver Israel out of Egypt why not just say so? We are talking about the God who spoke and everything leaped into existence. Instead, he uses this man named Moses, but why? The important part is not the use of the man but rather the revealing of who God is to the man. God wants to reveal who He is to man kind, so that in the act of using a man they will come to know the God who sent him.
The story is told of a seven-year-old about to make his first jump from the high dive at the local community pool. Though only 10 feet into the air to the little boy it looked like a 100 feet. The boy stood there and shook at the edge of the diving board obviously afraid to jump. The life guard seeing the line begin to pile up behind him started to encourage the boy to jump. Yet, all of the attention just made the boy more aware of his fear and failure. Moments passed and out of no where a large man stood up and walked over to the high dive, excusing himself he climbed the latter and slowly walked out on the board. As he approached the scared little boy he grabbed his hands and looked him in the eyes and said four little words that changed that little boy’s life. Now The four little words were from his father and were, “Scott, let’s Jump together!” God the Father comes to Moses at the high point of his life grabs his hand and says, “Moses, lets jump together!” As simple as that story is Moses first must know who His Heavenly Father is.
II.) Vs. 1-4a A Burning Question
Vs. 1 The N.T. accounts of this story give us the full picture. In Acts 7: 30 Steven gives some important information, “And when forty years had passed, an Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire in a bush, in the wilderness of Mount Sinai.” From the point that Moses entered the land of Midian to the story here before us 40 years has passed. Moses was 40 when he left Egypt so now he is now 80.
Moses has spent the first 40 years being educated at the best schools of Egypt in fact we are told that Moses schooling had made him, “..mighty in words and deeds.” There is little doubt that this education had done much to prepare him to lead Egypt, but it had done nothing to prepare him to lead Israel. So God put him back in school at Midian for 40 years. Now you will remember what Midian means, “strife”. Simply put God sent Moses through the school of hard knocks. “Before we can be prepared for His service we need to be striped of what we think we know.” In Moses case it took him 40 years in the school of hard knocks. If Moses is anything like me he spent the first 35 years complaining about being in this dumb school. I believe we can always shorten our stay some what in the school of hard knocks, if we will just be still and remember the words of Paul who said, “..I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”
Moses learned how to be a shepherd of another mans flock! Here we are given another name for Ruel Moses father in law, “Jethro” which means “excellence or superiority”. Most likely this was his title. Moses was use to hearing the words “bow the knee” because he was royalty. People waited on him hand and foot now he waited alone on a bunch smelly old sheep. “Much of Gods training is in the monotonous every day things which we learn in silence with out our knowing.” Moses learned:
- That people like sheep weren’t his, they belonged to one superior. Moses had acted before in away that was like a prince and a judge, now he was just a shepherd for his father in law.
- That to lead people you must be among them, all the time! Moses spent allot of time alone with those sheep. Over the coarse of those forty years he had done just about everything you can with those sheep. He learned more from the sheep then he ever taught them!
- He learned to listen in the wilderness. Ask any teacher who their best students are and they will tell you the ones that listen! The wilderness of Midian is one of the most desolate places on earth. There are no trees and very little wild life. Moses spent most of those 40 years in silence with exception to the bleating of sheep. Any person who lead others must be one who listens!
Moses led the flock to the back of the desert, to where he came to Horeb, the mountain of God. The word “Horeb” means “desolate wasteland”. If you were to go over there you would easily see why it is just a barren dry land scape. That probably summed up Moses’ last 40 years, a time when nothing was happening, his life felt as if it was dry, barren and all alone. Yet what Moses was unaware was that he was about to get his “Masters degree” at the University of Burning Bush!
If you do a word study of this Mountain you will found some interesting stuff. First of Horeb, is the name of the mountain range, but their is a particular peak here that is called Sinai. It is also the place a few 100 years later God will meet with Elijah and commission him, as well as the place many believe that Paul got commissioned with the gospel. Is it not interesting that such desolate mountain range would be called the “mountain of God”? The last place in the world you would expect to meet God is a dry barren lonely place, yet it seems that God often met his servants there. “God shows up in our loneliest most desolate times.” We are always looking for God in the times of great success but it seems to me that He is much more real when we are out in the desolate times of our lives!
Vs. 2 Now there are some great things right here in Moses in counter with God at the burning bush.
- The word for bush here is a very interesting one as it means a thorn bush. Remember that back in Gen. 3:18 because of mans disobedience God said, “Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, and you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; For dust you are, and to dust you shall return.” This old bush is a product of mans sin and rebellion.
- If you look up this Hebrew word for “bush” you will find it only two other places. In Deut. 33:16 we read that, “With the precious things of the earth and its fullness, And the favor of Him who dwelt in the bush.” That word bush is the same word as used here but the interesting thing with the passage is the word “dwelt” it is the word shekinah. It was the angel of the Lord or the shekinah glory of the Lord that Moses saw with his eyes. I believe that the angel of the Lord was none other then a pre-incarnate manifestation of Jesus. Further more we are told in 1 Corin. 4 that “..glory of Christ, who is the image of God, .. and .. that the glory of God is in the face of Jesus Christ.” Jesus is the glory of God.
- This leads me to the conclusion that it was none other then Gods grace that Moses was learning as he observed the bush on fire yet not consumed. Fire in scripture is always a symbol of judgment. Gods judgment upon human sin yet the bush not being consumed speaks of Gods grace.
Vs. 3-4a God does not speak with Moses until He has Moses’ attention. I said above Moses has to learn how to listen and give his attention to another. I see a lot of people who make the continual mistakes in their lives not because they don’t know the right things to do but rather because they don’t do as Moses did here and “turn aside to see the great sight, why the bush does not burn.” It was the grace of God that halted Moses and made his want to know more! His grace will only burn bright when we see it aflame in the wilderness of our falleness. We spend far too much of our time protecting our failures instead of admitting them. “God dwells in the majesty of simplicity!” Think of this, God choosing to reveal Himself and his character in a bush on fire yet not consumed! We are always looking for some magical experience, but God chooses the simplest of things to reveal who He is. In Gods university, every thing is the class room!
III.) Vs. 4b-10 A Holy Answer
Vs. 4-6 We see several things in God conversation that He reveals to Moses about Himself. Moses, over the last 40 years had begun to think: God does not care about me, He has no place for me but Moses is about to learn that God does care and does have a plan. Yet Moses is first going to learn something’s about God.
- Vs. 4 God calls Moses twice by name. God had not forgotten about Moses or the call He had placed upon his life. No matter if we are in the land of strife by the hill of desolation God still knows our name. Moses, had not heard his name often in the last 40 years how sweet the sound of it when the Lord from the midst of the His grace called it forth twice. Look at Moses instant response, here I am. I love that! He must have felt as though he had been warming the bench for 40 years, but now the coach has called you into the game.
- Vs. 5 God is Holy: Moses needs to approach God reverently. He needed to understand that you approach God not on being worthy to do so. A servant always took off his sandals upon entering the masters house. God is not the “The man upstairs”, “My good buddy” or anything else. He is our creator and we are His creation. Verse 6 makes it plain that Moses understood his falleness and God’s holiness. If Moses was to lead he needed to understand that he was to follow!
- Vs. 6 Notice here how God chose to reveal Himself, as the God who keeps His promises. That is why He tells Moses who he was the God of. God had made promises to those forefathers and he was going to keep His promises through Moses. We all like to make good deals, but the trouble is that they don’t always turn out the way we thought they would, not so with God when He makes a promise to you He always keeps it.
- Vs. 7 God is compassionate: He has seen all of the cries of His people. He new their hardships, felt their sorrows. Do you realize that Jesus is aquatinted with all your life? He went through everything that you have. You never to wonder if Jesus can relate to what you are going through the Bible says He is, yet with out sin. He understands!
- Vs. 8 God is faithful: God is not just about lighting the burden He is about blessing your socks off. Our God wants to do far more then just deliver you out of bondage He wants to bring you into a place flowing with milk and honey.
- Vs. 9 God is a God of action: In verse 8 He declares that He is coming down and here in verse 9 He says why, “He has seen the oppression”. God is not just all knowing He is all powerful as well.
Vs. 10 Moses was no doubt being blessed by Gods revelation of His character, but here God tells Moses that He is going to be used as an instrument. God has revealed who He is and now He tells Moses, “Lets jump together.” Life is not a spectator sport! It’s time to jump, but you’re not jumping alone, your jumping with God! Moses learns that most important qualification of a servant of God is knowing God. Nothing that God has put in our lives is a waist.