Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb. And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. And when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I. And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. Moreover he said, I am the God of thy 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.(Exodus 3:1-6)
Moses is now far from the pomp, power and glory of Egypt. For forty years he has dwelt in the wilderness, tending sheep with his Father-in-law Jethro, and Jethro’s family.
Moses’ Exodus is complete. He has been transformed from the brash, accomplished Egyptian prince who was sure he could just go out in his own strength and deliver his brethren, equally sure that they would accept his leadership.
All of that is forgotten now, Moses has been broken and disabused of any notions of his own greatness, prowess and ability. He now knows that in himself he is nothing, and can do nothing. He has long since forsaken the older more self confident notions. It has taken forty years of near solitude and obscurity to bring Moses to this place.
One day, far out in the desert, with his flocks, Moses sees a bush spontaneously erupt into flame.This was not an unusual sight in the furnace like, arid desert that Moses wandered through, looking for pasture for his sheep.
But this bush wasn’t being consumed as you would expect in a normal fire. The leaves remained green and life still coursed through the branches, as the intense flames enveloped the Bush.
This is a pretty good description of the miracle nation,Israel. A nation brought into existence by God, and one in which his presence has been revealed to all of the earth, in mercy and judgment, goodness and severity. In the bush(Israel), the Revelation of the one true God has been disclosed through this frail, all too human people, but Israel has not been consumed.
If it had not been the Lord who was on our side, now may Israel say; If it had not been the Lord who was on our side, when men rose up against us: Then they had swallowed us up quick, when their wrath was kindled against us Then the waters had overwhelmed us, the stream had gone over our soul: Then the proud waters had gone over our soul. Blessed be the Lord, who hath not given us as a prey to their teeth. Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers: the snare is broken, and we are escaped. Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.(Psalm 124)
God spoke to Moses through the Bush, even as God speaks to the entire world(If they have ears to hear) through Israel. Through them, God brought forth the Word, the revelation of Himself,things which flesh and blood could never reveal to men!
He called Moses by name- for he is infinite and Holy, but also the personal God, who knows all of us by name, and has something to say.
The command to remove his shoes, for he stands on Holy Ground, is a call to remember his creatureliness. We are not above the earth. God made us of the dust of the earth, and in the presence of God, we are to remember that we are but dust.
First of all He introduces himself to Moses as the God of Abraham,Isaac, and of Jacob, for He is the God of the covenant, and the time had come to remember the covenant he made with the Fathers, and to bring his chosen people out of bondage and back into the Land which He promised.
And the Lord said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows; And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites. Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me: and I have also seen the oppression wherewith the Egyptians oppress them.(Exodus 3:7-9)
Secondly He revealed His compassion to Moses for the suffering of His enslaved people, and his intention to give them an Exodus out of “the house of Bondage” and into the Land flowing with Milk and Honey.
Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt. And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt? And he said, Certainly I will be with thee; and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee: When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain.(Exodus 3:10-12)
Thirdly God tells Moses that in the name of God, He must confront the personal ,Human representative of Heathendom and Evil, Pharaoh, a type of Satan.
Moses reveals his broken state, by asking a question that never would have entered into his mind forty long years earlier, “Who am I?”. Moses had been sure that He was the chosen deliverer back then and it was only a matter of commencing to get the job done.But He fell apart after the first dead Egyptian and the rebuff by the stubborn people He was going to deliver.
Fourthly, all that matters is that God would be with Him. By God’s power, Moses was going to bring the people out of Egypt, and bring them back to this very mountain to worship God.