The angel of the Lord, God, appears to Moses in a fire in a bush on Mount Horeb. Those are the facts. But there is so much more in this short passage.
1. Moses approached the burning bush as an item of curiosity. It was not the expected. The bush burned but was not consumed. God creates He doesn’t consume. But rather than see the divine spirit of God in the bush, Moses wanted to simply quench his own curiosity. Moses said to himself, “I will go over and see this strange sight.” But God is not just an item of curiosity or an oddity. He is God. He is living and holy. He told Moses to stop and not come any closer. The bush was a manifestation of God, but the object of attention was not the manifestation, it was God. How often do people today have curiosity for and desire to have the trappings of church, the fellowship, the support, the songs and joy… just without God?
2. God appears to Moses at a time that he is alone and calls him by name. “Moses, Moses”. When God calls us it is a personal connection. It may be when we are alone or it may be when we are in a large group, but regardless of how many other sheep are present, God calls us by name to convey the personal invitation that he has for us.
3. God instructed Moses to take off his shoes because this is holy ground. First, what made it holy? God was present in this place. Any place that God is present is a holy place and one to be approached with reverence and care and respect. Is God in your heart? If so do you treat it as a holy place? Is God in your relationship with your spouse and your children? Is God in your house? Is God in your life? If so, do you see these as special, holy, set apart? Second. Why take off his shoes? Some will say it was a proper sign of respect. The sandals of a shepherd would have been dirty, dusty and he would have stepped in any matter of unpleasant things. I buy this, except, they were sandals. It is hard to argue his feet were any cleaner. I think it goes back to the relationship God wants to have with us. God wants to connect with us. God wants us to be family with Him and to live in His home. Yes, it is a sign of respect, but I think it is also a “kick your shoes off this is where you belong” message as well.
4. Since the fall of man, our first response to standing in the presence of God has been the same: we hide. When we see God, we also know that He sees us and we have utmost clarity of our sin. In the light of God’s perfection, we see our own imperfection and recognize what should happen to us. We are simultaneously awed by His beauty and disgusted by our sin. We rightly fall to our knees and we are afraid.
5. As Moses hid, God lays out his plan. Moses is nothing more than a bit player in this production. Moses is an extra on the set. God has seen, God has heard, God is concerned, God has come down, God will rescue them, God will bring them up out of that land, God will take them to a land of milk and honey, God has been reached by the cry of Israel, God has seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing, God is sending Moses to Pharaoh to bring God’s people out of Egypt. But barefoot, hiding Moses is hearing God, but he is seeing only Moses. The one thing God has called Moses to do is “go”. Moses knows how to go. Moses even knows the way out of Egypt. He took that journey 40 years before.
Our objective is to know and serve God. That means looking deeper than the surface to really see the attributes of God present in the story.
1. to get his attention 2. to show that God does not consume 3. to provide a visible presence for Moses to show that God was with him
The presence of God
This was holy ground. Anywhere God is present becomes a holy place. God’s heart was for a personal and deep relationship with Moses, a “kick your shoes off, you are home” relationship
The preincarnate Jesus Christ
Moses, I have heard, seen and felt concern for my chosen people in Egypt and I am going to free them; Now, go and bring them out.
Hears, sees and feel concerned. God saves and provides more than we even desire