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. 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. So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.” 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.” “Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” Then he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.
The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.” But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.”
Imagine Moses minding his own business, tending his sheep, when God encounters him in the form of a burning bush, not being consumed by flames. Moses was not looking for God but God was looking for Moses. He calls to him, “Moses. Moses.” Moses replies, “Here I am.”
Curious, Moses approaches the bush but God warns him to not come any closer, but to take off his sandals, for he is standing on holy ground. He is in God’s presence. The Lord assures Moses who He is, “The God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this news, Moses becomes afraid and hides his face.
In verses 7-9, God’s message to Moses centers on three key words. He has seen the misery of His people who are in Egypt; He has heard their cry on account of being slaves; and He knows their suffering.
Here is where God calls Moses to be the deliverer of their suffering. Bewildered, Moses immediately questions whether he is the person for the job. “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” It’s a fair question: is Moses capable? Will the people follow him? Is Pharaoh considered to be more powerful than the God of Abraham?
God is persistent. He is sending Moses for the job. In response God shifts the focus from Moses and his inability to lead by making this promise: “I will be with you.”
Our latest sermon series is based on “mountain top experiences.” Notice that the scripture starts near Mt. Horeb and ends with the statement that the children of Israel, being led by Moses, will worship God at this mountain. We will have mountain top experiences when we feel God’s presence, but the real work is done in the valleys of our lives. Opportunities to serve our Lord and fellow man.
Five years ago, the Holy Spirit prodded me to enhance my weekly hospital and rehab visits by writing personal devotions to be given to the patients. He was opening a door to me. It was a steep hill to climb for a retired mathematics instructor familiar with formulas and algorithms. Wouldn’t an English major be better equipped to do this? Would my devotions bring comfort and encouragement? Would they be good enough to read? Assured that God would be with me, I walked through the door and said, “Here I am Lord.” I prayed that the Holy Spirit would inspire me to write the words. If I had never opened that door, I would never have known what joy this ministry would bring to me and to others.
What burning bush have you encountered lately? God has a habit of asking us to do things way beyond what we think we are capable of. Are we lukewarm, sit back and depend on God to do it? Do we wait for someone else to do the work while we enjoy a life of comfort and ease?
Remember God has commissioned us to be His change agents, His disciples, His Light in the world. God is extending His hand hoping we will join Him. Hear again His promise: “I will be with you.” Our hurting world is counting on you. Will you say “Yes” when He calls you, walk through the door and see what happens? Will you respond, “Here I am Lord”?
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for trusting us to further your kingdom by promising that you will always be with us. Speak to us, strengthen us, lead us to say, ”Here I am, Lord. Send me.” Amen.
Written by Janece Nelson
Janece Nelson, a member of Sheridan’s Devotion Writing Team, lives with her husband, Mike, in Lincoln. They have two children, Jamie and husband, Bruce, and daughter, Jordan, residing in Houston and a son, Jon, and wife, Jill, with sons, Michael and Nathan living in Lincoln. Janece is a retired mathematics instructor teaching at the junior high and college level. She has been a hospital and rehab visitor for the past eight years and five years ago, began writing and handing out personal devotions to patients every Monday. Janece has been a Teammate for nine years visiting her current teammate at Boys Town the past two years and is currently participating in Companions in Christ.