“Now Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian, and he led
his flock to the west side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. And the
angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked and
behold, the bush was burning, but it was not consumed. And Moses said, ‘I will turn aside and
see this great sight, why the bush is not burned.’ When the Lord saw that he turned aside to
see, God called to him out of the bush, ‘Moses, Moses!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’ Then he said,
‘Do not come near, take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is
holy ground.’ And He said, ‘I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and the
God of Jacob.’ And Moses hid his face for he was afraid to look at God. Exodus 3:1-6
Forgotten, obscure, and keeping someone else’s sheep is exactly where we find Moses in this
passage. For forty years Moses lived as an obscure shepherd in the desert of Midian. We even
see that at this point in his life he is so humbled that his day-to-day occupation is to tend a
stinky sheep herd that was not even his own. Finding himself in this familiar place, he is drawn
to the unfamiliar. Perhaps a scrubby bush being charred or burning in the hot desert sun wasn’t
odd, but a bush that was not burning to the ground under fire was something that drew him in
for a closer look.
Shrubs in the desert don’t look like the lush shrubs we have in East
Tennessee. They’re most prickly, full of brambles and scraggly leaves. They’re unmanageable
and not fit for any real purpose in the desert.
But FIRE…..fire has purpose. “It provides light and
heat, it purifies and refines-but it is also a devourer, capable of merciless destruction”. (Alex
Kirk) Fire contains mystery and fear inciting power. Fire should consume this bush, but for
some reason, God ordains that it shouldn’t and provides that it doesn’t. Throughout scripture,
we see that God is present in the fire. Fire indeed is a sign of His Holy presence. And His Holiness
isn’t something we can even begin to fathom! Fire in scripture is a visual revelation of God’s
glory, holiness, and purity.
Moses is drawn to the miracle-filled sight because God needed him to be drawn near. The
wonder of the burning bush; what made it a great sight, was that the fire did not consume the
bush. “Hence what was a picture of God’s sovereign power over creation and his holy
presence with his people, was also a picture of mercy and Grace”. (Gospel Transformation
Bible Commentary). This prickly, unmanageable bush that seems to be of no use, houses the
very presence of God. Here God shows Moses both the inadequacy of Moses to deliver, and
the adequacy of The God who calls him. Moses is told to stand at a distance and remove his
shoes because he is standing on holy ground. And it is holy because God’s presence is there.
But God is not dispassionate, seated beyond time and outside of space with incommunicable
attributes. God sees and remembers us and forges a costly relationship with us!
I am a lot like this thorny bush…full of brambles, imperfections, and sin. But in spite of my being
a lot like this thorny bush, prickly and unmanageable; God in Mercy and Grace lives in me! And
With us, like the miracle fire that does not consume that bush, He is refining. In us, He is
purifying. In us, He is providing light and purpose. In us, He dwells like a flame in a thorn bush.
What might happen today if you realized that In Mercy, God lives IN you??!! Walk in the
knowledge today, that God is IN you….A FLAME in a thorny bush!!