Exodus 3:1-12 (NKJV)
1 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.
7 And the Lord said: “I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows. 8 So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites. 9 Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel has come to Me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them. 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?” 12 So He said, “I will certainly be with you. And this shall be a sign to you that I have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.”
I was brought back to this passage this week and felt stirred to go through this passage and see what God wants to say to us.
The first thing I noted was in the opening verses.
Exodus 3:1-12 (NKJV)
1 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.
- Moses had been raised as royalty in Egypt and at 40 he kills an Egyptian who was beating a Hebrew slave. He intends to help but people misunderstand and accuse him and he has to flee Egypt and run. Huge sense of failure!
- Then at 80ish finds himself in the backside of the desert in a place called Mt Horeb – which is from a word meaning ‘desolate’
- But what a place to find yourself! Failed in the backside of a desolate place at 80!
- Now he is simply going through the motions and looking after some sheep!
Surely many of us can relate to feeling:
- Like we have missed our go
- Messed up too bad
- Got burned and that is that
- Am just stuck in a rut
- Life feels desolate or without purpose.
Yet it is in that place that God meets with Moses!
I want to do a series of what God does at Mt Horeb – the desolate places of our life and why God chose those mountains to be referred to as ‘The mountain of God’.
I want to encourage you today, that you might feel those things, but God still has a plan and there is still a reason to believe for a new day! Regardless of the mistakes you have made. But God steps in!
Exodus 3:3-4 (NKJV)
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.”
I have heard people preach on the fact that given particular plants and the heat out there they can burst into flame etc. and it was only the fact it wasn’t consumed that grabbed his attention.
- But, there isn’t solid evidence scripturally, it doesn’t define the plant and so it would simply be speculation and Jewish tradition seems to more consistently say it was a thorn bush
- So who cares!
I don’t think there is any need to worry because the key is: God got Moses’ attention and knew how to do it. And then two things happened!
- Moses was willing to turn aside to it
- Moses said “Here I am God”.
In his ordinary life and circumstances Moses could recognise something was up and:
- He turned aside.
- But he turned and said ‘Here I am God’.
How many times do we know something is up, but we never take time to turn aside?
- There is a stirring in our heart about something.
- We are unsatisfied with life – but we don’t pause to turn and ask why.
- There is something going on with our marriage or kids, but we are too busy to turn.
- There is something going on with God’s Kingdom, but we are too busy to turn, but instead say, “I will get serious with God next year” or “when I have more time”.
- Maybe it’s a problem we encounter or challenging situation and we turn away from it rather than we turn aside to it.
- Something we see that stirs our heart or passion yet we tell ourselves life is too full or we are too busy to turn aside.
I think God sometimes is trying to get our attention but we never stop to turn aside!
But even more powerful is Moses’ response, ‘Here I am’.
- Are we available for God?
- Are we open to what He wants to use us for?
I think one of the great purposes of prayer and fasting is to say:
- God, here I am.
- To lay our lives before God and humbly take the posture of a servant before our King. Ask what it is You want.
- To choose His plans and prioritise His direction.
Proverbs 5:5-6 (NIV) puts it like this:
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
Sometime we expect God to make our:
- Disobedient ways straight
- Selfish ways straight
- Comfortable ways straight
- Our casual ways straight.
God will make our way straight when it is submitted to Him… not self!
Moses doesn’t respond:
- God here is my schedule, how will you fit?
- God here is my plan, can you work within that?
- God this is my leisure plan, my time, my own space – will this be convenient?
- How long will it take?? Are we there yet??
But Moses says ‘Here I am’!
Our response should be:
- I am not perfect
- I am not probably ready
- I do not have all my ducks lined up
- I am not sure how this all goes,
But here I am!
From scripture we see God certainly isn’t looking for perfect, or got it all together – look at the characters He uses!
- But He is looking for available! – Here I am!
Exodus 3:5-6 (NKJV)
5 Then He (GOD) 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.
Moses thought he was just standing around a burning bush.
- He had his marshmallows out
- He was thinking of mixing some damper
- It was dusty
- It was likely hot
- It didn’t look Holy.
But God saw it as Holy Ground, not because of the ground, the dirt and rocks but because of His presence in it!
Our messed up situation, our daily grind, our something is up that is stirring, our challenging circumstance is Holy Ground when we bring God to it!
Too many people are looking for God somewhere else when He says, “I am right here right now, this is Holy – where you are!”
The story of Jacob in Genesis 28 where he is:
- fleeing his brother who wants to kill him,
- he has a rock for a pillow,
- he has stolen something that wasn’t his,
- he is leaving everything he knew,
Talk about ‘Desolate Place…’!
But then he has a God encounter … then we read v16:
Genesis 28:16-17 (NIV)
16 When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it.” 17 He was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven.”
God is here now, this is Holy Ground. Let’s seek God for where He is in our situation right now. Look for God in everything and every place.
- Let’s not write it off but look for God in it
- Turn rocks and dirt of challenge into Holy ground
- Let’s be available. He is hovering over us now!
Suggestions for discussion
- God has a plan and there is still a reason to believe for a new day! Regardless of the mistakes you have made, can you believe in God’s plan for your life?
- Can God get your attention? If so, how easy is it to turn towards Him?
- God will make our way straight when it is submitted to Him. Can you believe in Him?