Moses and the Burning Bush

In Genesis 3, Moses was tending sheep in Midian for his father-in-law and came to Horeb, the mountain of God.  The Angel of the Lord revealed Himself to Moses in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush.  This bush was burning with fire yet it was not consumed.  Moses found this sight amazing and turned his attention toward it.

Now when we think of a burning fire, we may think of the fact that God is both a consuming fire and a purifying fire (Deut. 4:24; Is. 30:27; Mal. 3:3).  In addition, believers who have experienced the “anointing of the Holy Spirit,” often describe it as a warm but pleasant burning and relaxing sensation that spreads throughout the body complete with flickering flame-like sensations or electrical pulsating sensations.  Personally, I think is better to say it the presence and power of Jesus Himself who has joined Himself with man for a specific purpose.  The average Christian may never have this experience in their lives and it is not equivalent to receiving the Holy Spirit upon salvation or the “baptism of the Spirit.” 

God gives these temporary times of His presence and power during special times of ministry and during times of deep intimacy with cleansed vessels who are set apart for His purposes.  No one can make it happen.  It’s occurs according to God’s timing and desire but you can always ask Him to come to you.  Incidentally, it is also what it feels like for Jesus to quickly come upon you as a shield during times of demonic attack (2 Sam. 22:3).  It can also leave your face bright pink for days.  For me, this came after a literal Revelation 3:20 experience. 

Once God knew He had Moses’ attention from the flames of a burning bush, He called Moses over and told him to take off His shoes because he was on holy ground.  Further, He introduced Himself as the God of Moses’ father—the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 

We might wonder why Moses shouldn’t wear shoes on holy ground.  We can look at this in a couple of ways:

  • It may be helpful to recall that the High priests did not wear shoes when serving in the Tabernacle either.  Their job was to be a mediator of peace between God and man.  When considering our spiritual armor, our feet must be shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace (without a hindrance) because we are ambassadors for Christ.
  • The High Priest had to wash his hands and feet before approaching God so he would not die (Ex. 30:19-20).  In a practical sense, shoes tend to track filth into our house, so we take our shoes off at the door.  Our shoes can also represent the sin and filth of the world that can’t be allowed to separate us from God.

The Lord began telling Moses that He has seen the oppression of His people and that it was time for them to be delivered from Egypt and to be brought to the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perzzites, Hivites, and Jebusites.  God then explained He was sending Moses to take care of the job.

I think Moses was really taken by surprise because he said, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” (Ex. 3:11)  I’m sure his mind was thinking back to when he tried to take things into his own hands the first time he was in Egypt and he most likely didn’t want to repeat any previous mistakes.

God assured Moses that He would be with him and gave Moses a sign—that he and the people who come out of Egypt would worship Him on the mountain of Horeb—the mountain of God.

When God has prepares us for an assignment, it’s encouraging whenever He gives us a sign to go with it.    It’s something to look forward to because we know God is faithful to keep His promises. 

Moses then asked God what His name is.  God said to tell His people that He is called, “Eheyeh asher Eheyeh” or “I am that I am.”  He’s really saying “He Is” the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8).

God then gives Moses detailed instructions on how to carry out His tasks and what to expect. 

Moses was to gather the elders and explain:

  • God had appeared to him.
  • They would be brought out from under their affliction in Egypt and be brought to the land of the Cannanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivittes, and Jebusites.

God told Moses:

  • The people will listen and come.
  • Go to Pharaoh and request a 3 day journey into the wilderness to make sacrifices to the Lord.
  • The King of Egypt will not let you go.
  • God will force him to let everyone go by stretching out His hand and striking Egypt with His wonders.
  • The people would not leave empty-handed but will plunder the Egyptians.

Moses was very fortunate God told him these things.  If he hadn’t, perhaps Moses would have waivered or started to doubt his assignment and give up prematurely.  Discouragement did come, but at least he had been forewarned.

There is a lesson for us here.  Whenever we believe the Lord is leading us to do something, ask Him:

  • For confirmation including the correct timing for the task.
  • To reveal to you ahead of time what to expect so you can remain strong and committed to the task you are called to do when things become difficult.
  • To freely use you to bear witness of Him by various signs, wonders, miracles, and with gifts of the Holy Spirit which he distributes as He chooses.
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