Moses and the burning bush. A pretty cool story, no doubt…but what does it mean? Why should we care, other than to realize that God can do some pretty incredible things?
I promise it’s about more than you were taught as a kid. Let’s do this.
Marissa left off last week with Moses’ birth and his placement in the house of the pharaoh. (Read that post here.) to fill in the gaps between Moses’ childhood and where we’re going today, read Exodus 2:11-25.
So far, Exodus seems to be kind of an unusual book, in that it covers large, important sections of Moses’ life in just a few verses. (That’ll change in a minute.) Within 14 verses, we learn some pretty interesting things about Moses.
- He knew of his Hebrew heritage, and felt loyalty to his people even while living as an Egyptian.
- He killed an Egyptian for mistreating a Hebrew slave. He tried to keep it a secret, but he was found out.
- He escaped Pharaoh’s attempt to kill him.
- He fled to Midian, where he met and married Zipporah and had a son he named Gershom. (For perspective, look at a map of Moses’ journey from Egypt to Midian, like this one. Are you as astounded as I am by how far he traveled?!)
In verses 23-25, what do we learn about…
If your Bible has headings, like mine does, you can see that we’ve arrived at our focus for today: Moses and the Burning Bush. While the first two chapters of Exodus skim over many years of Moses’ life, chapters 3 through 40 (the entire rest of the book!) is dedicated to a time period of only about a year. It’s clearly a significant year…and it kicks off with Moses standing in front of a bush.
Read Exodus 3:1-4.
Where was Moses when he first encountered God in the bush?
And just for kicks…read Deuteronomy 4:10-14. What else happened in that same place?
Using a concordance (like this one), find the Hebrew definition of the word “horeb.” What significance might it have that God makes Himself so evident in places of “waste” or “desolation?” How have you seen Him do that in your life?
Essentially, Moses is minding his own business – or his father-in-law’s business, if we’re getting technical – when God dramatically gets his attention. It’s always funny to me to imagine Moses’ reaction to what he saw…but things get pretty serious once he’s actually standing in front of the mysterious bush.
Read Exodus 3:5-6. God identifies Himself to Moses in a way that Moses can understand. Even though Moses had been raised as an Egyptian, he understood his heritage. He knew who Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were. How does he respond when God identifies Himself? Why do you think he did that?
Read Exodus 3:7-12. What are some of the words you notice God uses? Why do you think those particular words resonate with you? For me, the words “concerned” and “rescue” get my attention. The compassion of God absolutely takes my breath away.
In verse 8, God introduces a new promise for His people. What does He tell Moses He is going to do?
It’s important to notice that while situations change…the people God uses may change…the work He is doing may change…the identity and character of God do not. We may have a new promise, but He is the same God He has always been. Jump ahead to verse 14 and consider how “I AM WHO I AM” is God’s reassurance to Moses – and to us – of His constant character.
What does God initially tell Moses about his role in God’s promise, in verse 10?
And what is Moses’ immediate response, in verse 11?
In verse 12, what simple words does God use to counter Moses’ objections? God also tells Moses that he and the Hebrew people would praise God on that same mountain. Remember here the meaning of “horeb.” What does this mean to you?
Read Exodus 3:13-22.
What instructions does God give Moses?
What promises does God make?
Read Exodus 4:1-10. Moses still has doubts, and I think it’s because his focus is still on the wrong thing. He’s focused on _______________, but should be focused on _________________.
What does God do to try to get Moses to change his focus? Reading verse 10, do you think it worked?
Read Exodus 4:11-17.
How does Moses come across in this passage?
Why do you think God was angry?
Even though God was disappointed in Moses’ reaction to his calling, God provided the help Moses needed to step into the position he was born to fill.
Friends, this is more than a story about a magical bush. It’s a story of a faithful God who has unlimited patience with His skeptical, strong-willed children.
It’s not just a story that makes for good Sunday school crafts. It’s a story that reminds us of who God is…and who He says we are.