Exodus 3 (NIV)
1 Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian,
and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb,
the mountain of God. 2 There the angel of the Lord appeared to him
in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though
the bush was on fire it did not burn up. 3 So Moses thought,
“I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.”
4 When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look,
God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!”
And Moses said, “Here I am.”
Remember at the end of Chapter Two, we saw Moses name his son Gershom saying “I have become a foreigner in a foreign land.” We hear his heart’s ache for his people and his home land that he believes he will never see again.
We hear the ache of callings not fulfilled. God had called him to be a deliverer of the Israelites out of Egyptian bondage and he had failed miserably. He got ahead of God and murdered a man and fear drove him to this foreign land. A desert land and instead of living in a palace or living among his people, Moses is in this desert land tending his father-in-law’s flock.
I like how verse 1 begins with the word “Now” because while Moses was resigning himself to the fact that he could never return home, Exodus 2:23 tells us the Israelites were groaning in their slavery and cried out to God for help…and God hearing their cry and was concerned.
“Now” Moses is tending the flock.
“Now” God is at work.
“Now” God’s plan to deliverer the Israelites is revealed. (Remember Moses was working his plan 40 years ago.)
“Now” God is revealing and working His plan. His is the plan that will work. “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand (Proverbs 19:21).”
Moses is on the far side of Mount Horeb (another name for Mount Sinai) but that is no barrier to the All-Knowing God. The Lord knows Moses’ location and appears to him in flames of fire from within a bush. A bush on fire that does not burn up! The Lord sure does know how to get our attention and has Moses fully engaged right now. Moses decides to go over and get a closer look. He is curious to know why the bush doesn’t burn up.
I am sure Moses was startled to find out that not only does the bush not burn, but his name is being called from within the bush. It is not a call from any man. There is a fire but no one is around to have started it. There is a voice but no one present to have spoken. And yet, this voice knows his name and doesn’t call it once but twice, “Moses, Moses.” Moses knew that this could be no one but God. In fact, Scriptures teach us that fire is symbolic of God’s presence.
Moses is in the presence of God. He may not know all there is to know about this God but he knows enough to answer, “Here I am.” This is the same response given to God by others:
Abraham: Genesis 22:11
Jacob: Genesis 46:2
Samuel: 1 Samuel 3:4
Isaiah: Isaiah 6:8
It is the response that says, I am ready to listen, to hear the voice of the Lord…and to obey what I hear. Surely, this should be our response every time we are privileged to hear the God speaking!
My heart rejoices at just the thought of God’s people beginning each day in His presence, not just to run down our list but to say to Him, “Here I am, I am ready to hear Your voice and to respond with obedience.” Then open our Bibles and say, “Speak, Lord, speak!”
Let’s not wait for a burning bush to hear the voice of God…not saying that God couldn’t reveal Himself in a burning bush if he so chooses BUT am saying, let’s open our Bibles and allow God to speak… then the fire won’t be in bush but in our hearts. Jeremiah 29:23, “Is not My word like fire?” declares the LORD, “and like a hammer which shatters a rock?