Exodus 3: 1-12



The Bible says in Exodus chapter 3:1-3,Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the back side of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb. And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. And Moses, said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.”


For 40 years Moses lived in the wilderness as a shepherd. This would be the last step in God’s preparation of Moses before calling him to lead the children of Israel out of slavery. When it came time for Moses, God got his attention by appearing in the form of a burning bush that was not consumed in the flames. There is a very important principle here to be learned and then remembered. This principle applies in salvation, and it also applies daily in the Christian life. Just as God did something to get Moses’ attention, God does things to get our attention so that we will listen when He us ready to reveal His will to us.


Concerning salvation Jesus said in John 6:44, “No man can come to Me, except the Father which hath sent Me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.” When a person is saved it is only because the Spirit of God reaches out and the touches the heart of a lost soul, by means of the Word of God. Romans 3:11 says, “There is none that seeketh after God.” And I John 4:19 says, “We love him, because He first loved us.”  Jesus did not come to die for the sins of the world because mankind cried up to heaven for salvation. Jesus came because of the grace and love of God, because it was the will of the Father. As individuals we are the same as Adam and Eve. More often than not, we run and hide from God. We hide in our sins even though God seeks us out and offers us forgiveness.  It is God who seeks us out and first initiates a relationship with Him through His Son, the Christ. Understanding this principle will enable you to be more effective at sharing the Gospel with other people and much more effective in living your daily life as a Christian. Of course in this day and age, God will probably not do something as dramatic as He did with Moses to get your attention. But the purpose is still the same; to get you to seek after Him; to get you to pray to Him; to get you to learn the wisdom that God would have you learn; and to get you to do the will of the Father. Everything in true religion centers around the Word of God. So you had better pay close attention to the Word whenever you hear it, because the Word of God is your burning bush. When God wants your attention, when God wants you to listen, when God is trying to tell you His will for you; it will always be somehow connected to the Bible. And the Bible says in Psalms 119:105, “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”


Exodus chapter 3 goes on to say in verse 4, “And when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I.” In this situation, there could not have been a wiser response than the one that Moses gave. Several hundred years later, the Prophet Isaiah would find himself in the same situation as Moses, where God was calling him, and Isaiah gave a similar response. He said in Isaiah chapter 6:8, “Here am I; send me.” When God calls you; you had better be willing. God called the prophet Jonah and Jonah ran, giving us forever a warning against fleeing the will of God. Jonah found himself in the belly of a whale. To be called by God is the greatest opportunity there is. It is a doorway where on the other side awaits the riches of the kingdom of God. God got Moses’ attention by appearing to him in a burning bush. Moses turned aside from daily activities and plans of his life and he said to God, “Here am I.” And because of His choice, Moses would become the one used by God to give to entire nations of people the opportunity to witness the fulfilling of the promises of God; and to have faith in the one true God. But don’t make the mistake of thinking God must do something dramatic in your life. And don’t make the mistake of thinking that you must do something dramatic for God. That would be the foolish thinking of man. Jesus said that  he that is faithful in little is faithful in much. If you listen to the burning bush of God’s Word one day at a time and do your best to apply it to your life, then you will be following the path that Moses did. Because he that is faithful to Jesus in little day by day is faithful in a lot more than he will realize in this life. It’s not about numbers. It’s not about how many people you can get to come to your church. It’s not even about how many people you personally have witnessed to and seen accepting Christ as their Savior. Instead of imagining in your mind the glorious things that you would do, say in your heart just like Moses did, “Here am I.” And then listen do what the Word of God says to do. That is the road to the great accomplishments in the Christian life, and it is only because of the grace of God.


The Bible goes on to say in Exodus 3:5, “And He said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.” There are quite a few times in the Old Testament when fire is used to symbolize the presence of God. There is the story of the burning bush here in Exodus chapter 3. And later in Exodus there is the pillar of fire to guild the freed Hebrew nation. What is it about fire that God decided would make such a good symbol of His presence and holiness? Well, concerning the presence of God, God is everywhere. And His creation is fashioned in such a way to constantly remind us of His presence. It would take a blind and deaf man to pass by a fire and not see or hear it. Every day Jesus knocks on the doors of men’s hearts. He walks through our lives and calls out to us. Have you seen Him? Have you talked to Him? Have you trusted in Jesus? We are surrounded by God. The question is: how blind and deaf are you?


And how is it that fire, just as in the burning bush could symbolize the holiness of God? Build a fire and stick your hand in it for a few seconds, and then you will certainly understand. Of course holiness means to be perfect. And it refers to the fact that God is complete in all of His attributes. There is no lack of love with God, and there is no lack of judgment for sin either.  I John 1:5 says, “God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.” Darkness and light cannot exist in the same place. If you put darkness in a room filled with light, the darkness will disappear. And if you put a light in a room filled with darkness, the darkness will disappear. This is the reason that God used fire to symbolize His holiness. Fire was the perfect symbol for Moses to have an opportunity to understand the holiness of God and to understand His own sinfulness. Isaiah found himself in the same situation as Moses and he said in Isaiah chapter 6:5, “Woe is me! For I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips.”


There is a very important principle of salvation that is taught through understanding God’s holiness.  It is the great contrast between God and man. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Isaiah 64:6 says “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.” And Romans 3:24 says, “Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” If you reach out in your own way to touch God, and if with your own strength you grasp toward the crown of righteousness; you will be burned in the flames just as surely as if you stuck your hand in a fire. It is only through faith in Jesus Christ that a man can be saved and experience the holiness of God without being consumed.


Exodus 3:6 says, “Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid is face; for he was afraid to look upon God.” After God got Moses’ attention and after God gave Moses a glimpse of His holiness; the very next thing that God did was to identify Himself so that Moses might have more faith in Him. Even though Moses had grown up a prince of Egypt, his mother also raised him. And His mother was a descendant of Abraham and follower of the one true God. By identifying Himself as the God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, God was reminding Moses of all the ways He had provided for and protected the ancestors of Moses. And God was also reminding Moses of the promises that He had made to Abraham and Isaac and Jacob: promises that had not all come to pass yet; promises that were for all the children of Abraham; promises that would partly come to pass through God’s use of Moses in the nearby future.


God was about to tell Moses that he would be the one God would use to free the Hebrews from bondage in Egypt. Moses was to be the one to stand against Pharaoh and to be the leader of the children of Israel. 40 years ago Moses had desired this very same thing but it had yet been in God’s timing.  It is possible that after being exiled from Egypt, after 40 years living as a humble shepherd in the wilderness, Moses though it would be impossible for him to ever return to Egypt or ever be able to help his brethren. This may be one reason that God reminded Moses of just who He was and what He had done for Abraham and what He had promised that He would do.


And this is a principle that is important for any believer to be able to follow God and accomplish the tasks that God has given you without falling by the way side. This is the reason God said in II Peter 2:12-13, “Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth. Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance.” It is the same reason that Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper. And concerning the Lord’s Supper Jesus said in I Corinthians 11:25, “This do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of Me.” Remembering the things that God has done for you and for others, remembering the answers to prayer will strengthen and encourage your faith. And especially remembering the promises of God will strengthen your faith because Romans 10:17 says, “Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the promises of God because God keeps His promises.


Exodus 3:7-12 goes on to say, “And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows; And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites. Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me: and I have also seen the oppression wherewith the Egyptians oppress them. Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt. And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt? And he said, Certainly I will be with thee; and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee: When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain.”


After God instructed Moses on what He would have Moses do, He gave him a promise. He said in verse 12, “I have sent thee.” Jesus said a similar promise in again in the N.T. when He said in Hebrews 13:5, “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.” There is a big contrast in life between the people of the world who only live for themselves and the children of God who do what they do because it is the will of God and for God’s glory. If God is with you in what you do, and your faith is kept strengthened in the Bible, then there will always be a confidence and a comfort that you will have. The people of the world work and strive to accomplish something. Yet they must face the fear and the very real possibility of failure. And what they do means nothing beyond this life. But for those who do the will of God, there is no need for fear. And there is no possibility of failure when your faith is in God and not in yourself. This is why the Bible says in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”


These basic principles of faith and promises of God are things we all must be reminded of from time to time because our faith always needs to grow. One of the great weaknesses of man is his lack of faith in God. And it was no exception with Moses. Even though Moses had seen the glory of God in the symbol of the burning bush, even though God had reminded Moses that He was the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; Moses was afraid and doubted. And He said in verse 11 “who am I that I should go?” But once again Moses made the mistake that we all make so often. He thought about himself and own weakness to the point that He did not think about God and that it would be God through him that would accomplish these great things.


The story of Moses’ life should be a great encouragement to anyone who desires to follow God, as is the story of all the great men of the Bible such as Abraham and the apostle Paul. Because the Bible shows that these were ordinary man such as you or me, men who were great sinners with many weaknesses and much to learn about faith in God.  These are the kind of people that God uses; people that come to understand their own sinfulness and weakness, repent to Jesus, and who learn to rely upon the grace of God and not themselves. There is too much vanity in the world. This is the reason most Christians never grow much beyond a babe in Christ. For if you cannot understand the extent of your own sinfulness and weakness; you will not seek the grace of God. And if you don’t understand the great grace of God, you will never learn to be truly thankful for the sacrifice that Jesus made by dying for you sins. And it is only a love for Jesus that can motivate you to truly follow God.


The worst sinners almost always make the best saints. Just imagine what the grace of God could do for people like Charles Manson or Ben Laden. If God touches the hearts of people like these and they repent of their sins they would surely learn to love Jesus.  But you don’t have to imagine, because God has done it for you and me. And we are no more righteous than these wicked people.


The Bible says in Revelation 3:20, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” If you have never repented of your sins, then you can do so now. Jesus is here knocking on the door of your heart and offering you the forgiveness of sin and eternal life. Trust in Him today and you can become a man of faith just as Moses became.



Copyright; 2002 by Charles F. (Rick) Creech
All Rights Reserved