As I mentioned in my post two days ago (PRAYER – MOSES THE SHEPHERD AND GOD), I do believe Moses knew God quite intimately from the aloneness of tending sheep. From the book I did a series on “A Shepherd Looks At The 23 Psalm”, I learned a lot about shepherds and how they lived. They lived a life of solitude with their flock. They became intimately acquainted with, not only the sheep, but nature and all that is in it. And if you are out in nature long, you have to realize there is a God that created all of this wonderfulness. So I believe that Moses spent a lot of time talking with God out in nature and he also had a father-in-law that was the Midian Priest. Moses was very well educated in the stories of the Israelites and knew his history and where he came from. He had to have known the God of his father – and Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Just because Egypt forgot all that Joseph did for them doesn’t mean that all of the Israelites did, and besides, Moses was born into a family from the House of Levi – who were Priests as well – to the Israelites. No, he had not forgotten all that he came from and his ancestry. He knew his God..
So when God spoke to him from this bush, I believe it wasn’t the voice he was unfamiliar with, it was the media in which the voice was coming from. A burning bush that is not consumed! That must be a strange site. So let me begin with the scripture.
Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian. And he led the flock to the back of the desert, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2 And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed. 3 Then Moses said, “I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn.”
4 So when the Lord saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!”
And he said, “Here I am.”
5 Then He said, “Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.” 6 Moreover He said, “I am the God of your father—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon God.
I found another article on GotQuestions.org that is a very good article. The question posed was “Why did God speak to Moses out of the burning bush?” There are so many points here that are answered and I would like to use a couple of their quotes in a moment. I will say that this was quite an encounter that Moses had which was a manifestation of God in a burning bush. I learned tonight that is called a theophany. That is a very cool word and here is the definition:
“A theophany is a manifestation of God in the Bible that is tangible to the human senses. In its most restrictive sense, it is a visible appearance of God in the Old Testament period, often, but not always, in human form.”
So here is this bush that is burning and the fire is not consuming the bush. God is speaking to Moses from the bush and telling him not to come close and to take off his sandals because he is standing on holy ground. I also learned tonight that this is the first time that the particular word holy is used to describe God. Here is what GotQuestions.org has to say about it.
“This is the first time the Bible uses the word “holy” with reference to God (verse 5). At the burning bush God revealed His holiness in a way it had never been revealed before. Moses was so awed by this experience that later when he wrote his famous victory hymn, he made sure to mention this divine attribute of God’s holiness: “Who among the gods is like you, O LORD? Who is like you—majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?” (Exodus 15:11).
The fire is a representation of the purifying and refining quality of God’s holiness. All throughout scripture we find references to God revealing Himself as fire that is the image of His holiness. That is why Moses was instructed to take his sandals off. God’s holiness was present and it was a respectful act towards God.
I like what GotQuestions.org has to say about holiness…here is the quote.
“Holiness involves separation. God’s holiness means that He is set apart from everything He has made. Holiness is not simply His righteousness (although that is part of it), but also His otherness. It is the distinction between the Creator and the creature, the infinite distance between God’s deity and our humanity. God says, “I am God, and not man—the Holy One among you” (Hosea 11:9). His people respond by saying, “There is no one holy like the LORD” (1 Samuel 2:2).
Fire will also be a way that God will lead them in the wilderness after they leave Egypt.
20 And they moved on from Succoth and encamped at Etham, on the edge of the wilderness. 21 And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night.
That is getting way ahead… but the Pillar of Fire will be a representation of God leading them as well. We will come to that eventually… but for now let’s stick to the burning bush and the message to Moses.
When God speaks to Moses about going back to Egypt, Moses is quite disturbed and unwilling to do this. He tries, many times, to give excuses to God to wiggle out of this mission that God has for Moses. He tries to make the excuse that he is slow to speak. I love God’s response. It reminds me of how God responded to Job when Job questioned God (Job 38). There is a lot more to the conversation with God telling Moses about the miracles that He will perform in Egypt and I will not go into all of that but I do recommend that you read it yourself. It is quite interesting and God laid it all out for Moses, Yet, Moses was reluctant. Here is God’s response to Moses.
10 Then Moses said to the Lord, “O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.”
11 So the Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the Lord? 12 Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say.”
How many excuses do we give God when He asks us to do something for him? It may never be to save a nation, but it might be to share Jesus with a neighbor. Or, share a gospel tract with someone at that fast food restaurant. Or even visit a shut-in or make a very timely phone call to someone that is lonely and hurting. We don’t have to save a nation. We just have to be willing to go or do when God calls us to go or do. We have to be sensitive to His voice though. You have to have a relationship with Him before you can recognize His voice. Here is a good scripture to encourage you in your acceptance of God’s plan or mission for you.
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
I believe this was yet another “beginning” for Moses and his relationship with God. God just took it to a new level. God was calling him to come up another step. “Moses, you have walked with me for many years, now you are ready to go another level into a deeper relationship with Me.” I believe that is what God was trying to convince Moses of.
This last statement of Moses kindles a little bit of anger with God. But in God’s great compassion for His servant, He agrees to have Aaron, Moses’ brother, help him in this endeavor. Here is that scripture.
13 But he said, “O my Lord, please send by the hand of whomever else You may send.”
14 So the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses, and He said: “Is not Aaron the Levite your brother? I know that he can speak well. And look, he is also coming out to meet you. When he sees you, he will be glad in his heart. 15 Now you shall speak to him and put the words in his mouth. And I will be with your mouth and with his mouth, and I will teach you what you shall do. 16 So he shall be your spokesman to the people. And he himself shall be as a mouth for you, and you shall be to him as God. 17 And you shall take this rod in your hand, with which you shall do the signs.”
Moses is finally at rest with that arrangement. God is also and so the next post will be about Moses and Aaron going to Egypt. There is always a lot to talk about in this book about Moses. I am thankful that God is allowing me to do this blog and this series to share with you. God has many lessons for us to learn from Moses and the Israelites. This first one is very important though. One must be willing when you are called, for when you are called, God has made a way for you, no matter what it is. You must trust his plan for your life – Jeremiah 29:11. He wants the best for you. He loves you so very much and calls you His beloved.
The Song – I Stand In Awe Of You – Hillsong
The Video- I Stand In Awe Of You – Hillsong (with lyrics)