The Burning Bush

Photo by Patrick Hendry on Unsplash

Turn with me in your Bibles to Exodus 3. We’re going to look at a familiar story, and hopefully gain insight into God’s Word. I wasn’t going to preach on this text tonight, but God wouldn’t let it go. I was going to go to Romans 12 – but God said “Go to Exodus 3”.

Moses Is A Key Influencer In The Scripture

Let’s talk about Moses before we read our Exodus 3 text. The Bible has much to say about Moses. In the Gospel of John we are told that:

John 1:15-17 John bare witness of {Jesus}, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me {this Jesus} is preferred before me: for he was before me. 16 And of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace. 17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

God used Moses to bring the Law of Israel – but Moses, like all believers, was saved by faith. The Bible tells us that the purpose of the Law was to convict us, and teach us of our inability to be right before God in our own power. The Bible says:

Galatians 3:21-27 Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. 22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. 23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. 24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. 26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

God brought the Law to Israel after Israel repeatedly rejected the Grace of God. God gave the Law to Israel through Moses – but that doesn’t mean that Moses was saved by the Law. No. Moses was saved by faith in Jesus Christ, just as we all are saved by faith in Jesus Christ.

Grace Is Undeserved, And Moses Is A Product Of Grace

Before we see Moses at the Burning Bush, we need to see Moses’ beginning. Moses’ parents were Israelite slaves, possessed by Egypt and by Pharaoh. Their lives were bitter with hard bondage (Exodus 1:14), and even their children were not their own. Pharaoh commanded that:

Exodus 1:22 … Every {Israelite} son that is born ye shall cast into the river

The make children of the Israelis were to killed outright. This is as horrible as a “partial birth abortion” is today. The child born healthy was to be discarded as so much refuse. Moses was supposed to die. Yet his mother loved him. His father loved him. Born to Levite parents, Moses should be drowned at birth. But Moses’ mother hid him as long as she could, till he was about 3 months old (Exodus 2:1). The Bible says,

Exodus 2:3 when {Moses mother} could not longer hide him, she took for him an ark of bulrushes, and daubed it with {tar} and with pitch, and put the child therein; and she laid it in the {reeds} by the river’s brink.

I often pictured Moses floating down the river into the hands of Pharaoh’s daughter – yet this is not what the Bible tells us. Moses was put in a basket, waterproofed with tar and pitch, and placed among the reeds at the edge of the water. The Pharaoh’s daughter finds little Moses among the reeds. The Bible says that when Pharaoh’s daughter …

Exodus 2:6-9 … opened it, she saw the child: and, behold, the babe wept. And she had compassion on him, and said, This is one of the Hebrews’ children. 7 Then said his sister to Pharaoh’s daughter, Shall I go and call to thee a nurse of the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for thee? 8 And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, Go. And the maid went and called the child’s mother. 9 And Pharaoh’s daughter said unto her, Take this child away, and nurse it for me, and I will give thee thy wages.

Moses should have died in the river. His mother should have taken him down, and cast him in the river, just as the Pharaoh commanded. She did cast him into the river – though she put him in a sealed basket first. What caused Pharaoh’s daughter to find Moses and have compassion on the child? God did. God did. The Bible says:

Proverbs 21:1 The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.

God had a plan for Moses’ life. God has a plan for your life. Every day of life that you have is a grace gift from God. You breathe at the blessing of God. Your life belongs to God. The Bible tells us that:

Exodus 2:10 …. the child grew, and she brought him unto Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son. And she called his name Moses: and she said, Because I drew him out of the water.

Moses was named by the Pharaoh’s daughter. She called him מֹשֶׁה Môsheh, {pronounced mo-sheh’}, which means “one drawn out” or “delivered”. Moses was “delivered” from death, but it was not the Princess that saved him. It was God. It was the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord delivered Moses so that He could use Moses to deliver others. The Psalmist said:

2 Samuel 22:2-7 The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; 3 the God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my savior; thou savest me from violence. 4 I will call on the Lord, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies. 5 When the waves of death compassed me, the floods of ungodly men made me afraid; 6 the sorrows of hell compassed me about; the snares of death prevented me; 7 in my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried to my God: and he did hear my voice out of his temple, and my cry did enter into his ears.

When Moses is about 40 years old, he knows that he is adopted, and visits his family. The first martyr of the Church, the Deacon Stephen, said of Moses:

Acts 7:23-29 … when {Moses} was full forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren the children of Israel. 24 And seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended him, and avenged him that was oppressed, and smote the Egyptian: 25 for he supposed his brethren would have understood how that God by his hand would deliver them: but they understood not. 26 And the next day he shewed himself unto them as they strove, and would have set them at one again, saying, Sirs, ye are brethren; why do ye wrong one to another? 27 But he that did his neighbor wrong thrust him away, saying, Who made thee a ruler and a judge over us? 28 Wilt thou kill me, as thou didst the Egyptian yesterday? 29 Then fled Moses at this saying, and was a stranger in the land of Midian, where he begat two sons.

Moses spent the first 40 years of his life in the household of Egypt. Had he kept quiet, he would have probably been in a position of great authority one day. Moses decided to defend one of the Israelis when he saw a task master punishing him. Moses did not rely on God, but relied on his own strength. In so doing, he killed a man, and ended up being on Pharaoh’s hit list. The Bible tells us:

Exodus 2:15 when Pharaoh heard this thing, he sought to slay Moses. But Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh, and dwelt in the land of Midian: and he sat down by a well.

Moses was 40 years old when he ran away from Pharaoh. The Deacon Stephen tells us in:

Acts 7:30 And when forty years were expired, there appeared to him in the wilderness of mount {Sinai/ Horeb} an angel of the Lord in a flame of fire in a bush.

Eighty Year Old Moses Is Before The Burning Bush

In our lives – especially in America – we want things fast. Yet God works in His own time. God has a plan for Moses’ life, just as He has a plan for your life. But when? So often I find myself impatient with God. I want things fast – right now. Moses is now 80 years old, an aging Shepherd. He sees a sight. The Bible says:

Exodus 3:1-3 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. 2 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. 3 And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.

Moses sees a burning bush that is not burning up. The Bible tells us that:

Deuteronomy 4:24 … the Lord thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God.

Our God is a consuming fire (Deuteronomy 9:3; Hebrews 12:29). This bush is burning – but why isn’t it being consumed? The bush is a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ. God came into the world to save us. God took upon Himself flesh. The Bible says:

John 1:14 …. the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

Our God, the blessed Jesus Christ, entered this world to make payment for our sins. He came to be the bridge between God and man. The Bible says:

Hebrews 2:9 … we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.

The bush is wood, and wood should burn. When Noah got off the Ark, the first thing that dear old man did was:

Genesis 8:20 … Noah builded an altar unto the Lord; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar.

The Burnt Offering was a “clean” animal, killed and laid on a bed of wood. The wood was lit, and the sacrifice burned up. This was symbolic of the judgment of God on sin. When the Law would be given to Moses, God would have Israel institute a series of sacrifices. These sacrifices would be performed to cover sin, because God said:

Hebrews 9:22 … all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.

Every animal sacrifice was offered up on a burning altar, the fire provided by wood. Moses had lived 40 years in Jethro’s family, the priest of Midian. He was well acquainted with animal sacrifices because of his wife’s family. When animals were sacrificed to male atonement for sin, their flesh burned up, along with the wood of the fire. But now here is a bush burning – and it is not being burned up!

Exodus 3:3 Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt…

The bush is burning, but it is not consumed. Jesus Christ died on the Cross for our sins – but He did not die forever. The Bible tells us that He died, crying out under the weight of our sin. Why did He die? The Scripture says:

Hebrews 9:27-28 … it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: 28 so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

Jesus died in the flame of judgment, but rose from the grave. Our sins are paid for because, burning, He did not burn up. Suffering death, He conquered death. Jesus is in this burning bush. It is Jesus Who calls out to Moses. We read:

Exodus 3:4 … 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.

Jesus did not call Moses name out at first. He presented the burning bush. He put an event in Moses life, and waited to see if Moses would turn toward it. When Moses turned, the Lord spoke from the bush. Jesus called him twice. Moses, Moses. Why did God call Moses’ name twice? Because God doesn’t give up on us. Moses has been 80 years away from Egypt. Jesus is calling Moses to Himself, and sends Moses back to Egypt to do His will. Has Jesus called your name? Have you believed on Him for salvation? They He has something He wants you to do. You are called to obedience, to follow the Lord in faith who called you. You are not called to be like the world, but to follow the Lord Jesus. The Bible tells us of Moses:

Hebrews 11:24-27 By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; 25 choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; 26 esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward. 27 By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.

Moses had a choice in his life. He could have stayed in Egypt, stayed in the palace, and ended up dying, having a great funeral. The pyramids are the gravestones of the Pharaohs. Moses could have had his own pyramid. He could have ended up a mummy in Egypt, buried and forgotten. But Moses saw Jesus.

Moses was willing to bear the reproach of Jesus. Beloved, if you love Jesus and live for Him, you will be reproached for doing so. You have a choice: you can stay in Egypt, or you can live for Jesus. You can heed the burning bush, or you can ignore the call of God and pass on by. You can follow the glory of this world, or follow the burning bush. Moses heard the call of Jesus!

To Be Saved, Go To Jesus With Empty Hands

Exodus 3:5 And {the Lord} said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.

I have often wondered about this statement. Why “take off your shoes”? Some have suggested that Moses’ shoes were dirty. Well, the burning bush was rooted in dirt. Dirt is all around that shining plant. Why would dirty feet be preferable to dirty shoes? As I prayed over this, God spoke to my heart.

Shoes are man made.
They may be made out of leather,
But they are nonetheless man made.

You cannot come to Jesus with anything man made. Moses is coming to the burning bush, the bush that represents Jesus. You cannot be saved – nor approach God – with anything man made. It is the sinless Jesus that makes us right before God. The Scripture says:

1 John 3:5 And ye know that {Jesus} was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.

In the wilderness of Midian, Moses was serving his wife’s father. Now he has turned to Jesus. This is the Christian way, to …

1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 {turn} to God from idols to serve the living and true God; 10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.

To be holy, Moses had to take off his shoes – not his clothes! The shoes are what carried him to the burning bush. Nothing man made can carry you to God. The shoes have to come off. The man made works have to come off. The human good works must come off. The man made self righteousness must come off. The Scripture declares:

Titus 3:3-7 For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. 4 But after that the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared, 5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; 6 which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior; 7 that being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Moses killed a man by works, and did no good toward himself or Israel. Now he must approach Christ without works, without shoes on his feet. Only he can come. Blessed is the one unto whom God imputeth righteousness, without works (Romans 4:6). The faith that saves, saves when it rests on the Word of the Lord. Bildad the Shuhite rightly told Job:

Job 25:4-6 How then can man be justified with God? or how can he be clean that is born of a woman? 5 Behold even to the moon, and it shineth not; yea, the stars are not pure in his sight. 6 How much less man, that is a worm? and the son of man, which is a worm?

No. No. Take off your shoes to come to God. Go to Him barefooted, without anything man made. You need Jesus. We all need Jesus. Jesus spoke from the burning bush:

Exodus 3:6 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.

Now Jesus tells Moses what He tells all His Children. He says:

Exodus 3:7-10 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; 8 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. 9 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. 10 Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt.

Once we are saved, we are saved to serve the Lord. We serve His purpose, His calling. We tell others of Jesus. We tell them that He is calling a people to Himself, a people obedient unto Him. When Moses was told what God wanted him to do, he responded:

Exodus 3:11-12 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? 12 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.

Who am I to go and tell others about Jesus? Who are you to tell others about Jesus? I want you to notice how the Lord answered Moses’ question “Who am I?”. He didn’t console Moses. He didn’t pat Moses on his back, and say, “You’re not that bad!” Oh no. God’s answer is “CERTAINLY I will be with you”. Beloved, we serve God in an age just as terrible as the age Moses was in. America has fallen under the weight of sin. It is something that neither you nor I can fix.

But God can fix it. Jesus can fix it. Jesus calls us to the burning bush, to come to Him in faith, with nothing man made in our request. We are nothing. We are nothing. But oh, Jesus is everything! Jesus Christ came and died to be the Savior of His people:

Matthew 1:21 … His name {is} Jesus: for HE SHALL SAVE HIS PEOPLE from their sins

Are you one of His people? Did you come to the burning bush barefooted, and are you now willing to follow Him, to obey His command? If so, know that Jesus …

John 4:42 IS INDEED the Christ, the SAVIOR OF THE WORLD

Jesus came to be the Savior of ALL men, especially of those THAT BELIEVE (1 Timothy 4:10). As the Apostle said,

1 John 4:14 … we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.

Who am I to go to Pharaoh? Who am I to go and tell others? I am no one. But I am a no one that is known by the One, the Jesus Christ, God’s only Begotten Son. I am no one, but He is the Someone Who can save Everyone. So let us go. Let us tell others what He said. Didn’t He tell us? He has told us who are saved like Moses was saved,

Matthew 28:19-20 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Jesus is with us. Do not be afraid, just follow Him Who saved you. May God through His Spirit and His Word feed and strengthen you this very day. Amen and Amen!

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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