January 29, 2023 | Doug Sauder
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“Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, ‘I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.’ When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, ‘Moses! Moses!’ And Moses said, ‘Here I am.’ ‘Do not come any closer,’ God said. ‘Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.’ Then he said, ‘I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.’ At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.”—Exodus 3:1–6 (NIV)
Have you ever seen something from afar that necessitated a closer look? Recently, my wife and I were looking to buy our first home. We saw dozens of houses that didn’t work out. Then one day while looking online, I came across a home that was filled with Star Wars memorabilia. I said to my wife, “We need to go see this house!” It did not disappoint and, yes, we bought it!
In today’s amazing passage, Moses happens upon an incredible sight that required a closer look: a bright, brilliant, blazing fire in a bush that didn’t burn. How unbelievable is that?!
Now, I want to point out some key things that are so profound and awesome about all of this . . .
Moses: Moses was a shepherd tending to his father-in-law’s flock. This is so beautiful on two fronts: 1) It was preparation for his role in shepherding the people of God out of bondage and into freedom and the land of promise, and 2) it pointed us to the greater shepherd who would deliver us from our sins into the eternal kingdom of God and who would be our perfect mediator to God.
The Angel of the Lord and Burning Bush: Who is the Angel of the Lord? It’s the pre-incarnate Christ, God in the flesh. The fire that burned but didn’t consume the bush was Jesus, who 1,500 years later would make His dwelling among us (John 1) in order to make His dwelling within us, to set us ablaze with the all-consuming fire and glory of God (Hebrews 12:29) for all eternity!
Holy Ground: The Lord told Moses to keep his distance and remove his sandals. Both commands relate to the holiness of the location where Moses stood. But it wasn’t the mountain itself that was special, it was His presence! In light of this, we who believe in Jesus as Lord become holy; we become His temple, His dwelling place, and are called to live as the priesthood of believers in holiness to God (1 Peter 2:5–9).
The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: Why did the Lord name drop the patriarchs? In order to remind us of His faithfulness and His promise! He’s the same God who was with Abraham and promised to make him a great nation whose Seed would bless all people.
“Here I am”: Moses’ response to the Lord is nothing less than precisely what we should always respond to any and all calls, commands, and prompts from God. When God puts something on our hearts, we should respond, “Here I am,” as we fall to our knees in reverence. Thank the Lord we can walk with His indwelling presence in our hearts and “come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16 NKJV).
Pause: What do the parallels to Christ and the details of what God was doing here show us about Him?
Practice: Do a study on Christ in the Old Testament this week.
Pray: Father, here I am. Use me and send me wherever You desire for Your glory, honor, and good purposes. Reveal Yourself to me more clearly each day, and use me to reveal Yourself clearly to others as You did to Moses. Amen.
Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.