Surprised by God
For Moses this was another ordinary, lonely day in the wilderness tending his sheep. But for God it was a historic day, marked by an ambush through angelic visitation and a burning bush. The scene was Sinai—God’s holy mountain. Did Moses know where he was? Was he trespassing on holy ground?
It was too late to check. Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared, igniting a bush. There was nothing unusual about the bush itself, but when God shows up, the smallest plant becomes significant—but not to everyone. God was watching Moses. Would this flaming bush get his attention enough to draw him closer?
God is always wooing us closer to Himself, whether with angelic visitation, a burning bush or a still, small voice. Moses noticed this was no ordinary burning bush because it continued burning. Amazing! And to his astonishment, a voice from within the bush called his name. Scary? Yes, and more so when the voice identified Himself as God. At that point Moses covered his face.
God had a greater purpose with the pyrotechnic display than to wow Moses out of boredom. He does not use His glory to entertain. His purpose is twofold: first, to get our attention; and second, to transform our thinking about ourselves to fulfill our destiny. Sometimes it is easier for God to lead a bush than a human being. The bush obeyed, bursting into flames. Moses hesitated to follow God’s command because he did not see himself as God did. It is through bush-burning encounters that we get a better perspective of ourselves in relation to God. When we obey, He brings the firepower to ignite us in the call.
You do not need a burning bush to have a conversation with God. Jesus said He was never alone because the Father was always with Him. And He is with you right now. Ask Him why He has confidence in you. His answer may change your view of yourself as well as of Him.
Questions to Ponder: What purpose or ability had God helped you fulfill in your life? How did this change your view about yourself?
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?”Exodus 3:1-11
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.Jeremiah 29:11
I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted.Job 42:2
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.Ephesians 2:10