The Call of Moses (Ex. 3, 4)…
New Living Translation
Moses and the Burning Bush
3 One day Moses was tending the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian.
He led the flock far into the wilderness and came to Sinai, the mountain of God.
2 There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a blazing fire from the middle of a bush.
Moses stared in amazement. Though the bush was engulfed in flames, it didn’t burn up.
3 “This is amazing,” Moses said to himself. “Why isn’t that bush burning up?
I must go see it.”
4 When the Lord saw Moses coming to take a closer look, God called to him from the middle of the bush, “Moses! Moses!”
“Here I am!” Moses replied.
5 “Do not come any closer,” the Lord warned.
“Take off your sandals, for you are standing on holy ground.
6 I am the God of your father—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.”
When Moses heard this, he covered his face because he was afraid to look at God.
7 Then the Lord told him, “I have certainly seen the oppression of my people in Egypt.
I have heard their cries of distress because of their harsh slave drivers.
Yes, I am aware of their suffering. 8 So I have come down to rescue them from the power of the Egyptians and lead them out of Egypt into their own fertile and spacious land.
It is a land flowing with milk and honey—the land where the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites now live.
9 Look! The cry of the people of Israel has reached me, and I have seen how harshly the Egyptians abuse them.
10 Now go, for I am sending you to Pharaoh. You must lead my people Israel out of Egypt.”
11 But Moses protested to God, “Who am I to appear before Pharaoh? Who am I to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt?”
12 God answered, “I will be with you. And this is your sign that I am the one who has sent you:
When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God at this very mountain.”
The Revelation of Jehovah to Moses
3:1–4 In tending the flock of Jethro, Moses learned valuable lessons about leading God’s people.
When he went to Horeb (Mount Sinai), the Lord appeared to him in a bush that burned with fire but … was not consumed.
The bush suggests the glory of God, before which he was told to stand with unshod feet.
It might also foreshadow Jehovah’s dwelling in the midst of His people without their being consumed.
And some have even seen in it the destiny of Israel, tried in the fires of affliction but not consumed.
We also should all be like the burning … bush—burning for God, yet not consumed.
3:5 The Lord promised Moses that He would deliver His people from Egypt and bring them into a land of abundance—that is, Canaan—inhabited by the six heathen nations listed in verse 8.
The word “holy” occurs here for the first time in the Bible.
By removing his sandals, Moses acknowledged that the place was holy.
3:6 God reassures Moses that He is the God of his forefathers—Abraham and Isaac and Jacob.
And these verses, Moses brings no new or unknown god to his people, but a fuller revelation of the One whom they have known.
Not even Paul’s words to the Athenians on the Areopagus are a fair parallel here (Acts 17:23).
The only true parallel is the continuing Self-revelation made by God in later centuries, culminating in the coming of Christ.
Yet in its day the Mosaic revelation, while a fulfilment of patriarchal promises, was as new and shattering to Israel as the coming of the Messiah was later to prove to be.
3:7–12 Moses protested God’s sending him to Pharaoh, citing his own inadequacy.
But the Lord assured Moses of His presence and promised that he would yet serve God on this mountain (Mount Sinai) with a liberated people.
Moses’ inventory of his disqualifications covered,
~ lack of capability (3:11),
~ lack of special adaptation (4:13),
~ lack of message (3:13),
~ lack of.authority (4:1),
~ lack of eloquence (4:10),
~ lack of previous success (5:23),
~ lack of previous acceptance (6:12).
A more complete list of disabilities would be difficult to conjure up.
But instead of pleasing God, his seeming humility and reluctance stirred His anger.
“The anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses” (4:14).
In point of fact, the excuses Moses advanced to show his incapacity were the very reasons for God’s selection of him for the task.
Moses made excuses because he felt inadequate for the job God asked him to do.
It was natural for him to feel that way. He was inadequate all by himself.
But God wasn’t asking Moses to work alone. He offered other resources to help (God himself, Aaron, and the ability to do miracles).
When God calls us to tasks that seem too difficult, he doesn’t ask us to do them alone.
God offers us His resources, just as He did to Moses.
We should not hide behind our inadequacies, as Moses tried to do, but look beyond ourselves to the great resources available.
Then we can allow God to use our unique contributions.
Jesus tells us in the New Testament that our God given assignment, in life, is to learn to cooperate with Him, with the help of the Holy Spirit, who now lives within us.
By our putting on the Yoke of God, Jesus helps us navigate through ALL of our trials and tribulations, and He does so by carrying the bulk of the weight.
Our job is to take the yoke upon us and learn of Him, by learning His ways.
New King James Version
28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
SELAH (let us pause and calmly think about these things)
Saturday, May 6
Daily Verse and Comment
10 “Come now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.”
11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?”
The time had come. Previously, Moses thought he was ready, and he impetuously promoted himself to do the job. He did it without waiting for God.
Look at the difference:
Before, Moses promoted himself, but now he says, “God, who am I?”
What a change took place in his thinking!
He not only hesitated about going, but he almost seems petrified about the prospects of going.
This is a true principle of those who have been humbled in their field of expertise.
The young foolishly think, in their vanity, that their strength will allow them to sail through any problem.
They are deceived by their own ignorance.
Like Moses, they foolishly rush in where angels fear to tread.
When they come to understand, usually after years of experience, they realize how very little they know.
This principle is clearly shown in the way a student of science might be humbled.
He may have graduated from high school, then from college, and may have even obtained a master’s degree and now works on a doctorate.
He has learned a great deal. However, after maybe twenty years of experience in the field of chemistry or biology, he realizes there is a great deal more that he does not know, more than his accumulation of schooling and experience.
If he is a Christian, he begins to see God’s creation and the Creator’s mind in a much different light.
That is what has happened to Moses.
In those forty years, his impetuous spirit had been dissolved, and he saw the power of Egypt in its true light.
He may have feared execution, imprisonment, or embarrassment by the powerful Egyptians.
Does this not encumber and constrain us as well?
We worry and fear that we will look foolish before friends and relatives if we obey God—if we keep the Sabbath or tithe.
How many of our relatives have castigated us because of tithing?
It seems awfully dumb to them, but how do we feel?
Do we fear what they think?
Moses more fully recognizes his weaknesses in comparison to Egypt, and he quails at the thought.
God has to overcome Moses’ resistance.
What a change! Moses was going to do it on his own before, but God now has to overcome his resistance.
All of the testing God had put Moses through produces right faith and right conviction.
— John W. Ritenbaugh
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