Moses at the Burning Bush
Tony R. Nester
The Bible teaches us that God has an affinity with fire. The burning flame is one of God's most frequently chosen forms of presence. Fire and flame have a lot to teach us about God. It was through fire that God reached one of the Bible's greatest leaders: Moses.
Moses is shepherding sheep in the desert. He's there because he has killed an Egyptian taskmaster and fled from Pharaoh's anger. He does not know what will come of his life. He is alone. Or so he thinks.
But then Moses sees a bush burning in a very strange way. The bush is burning, but not burning up. He becomes fascinated with the sight and discovers that this bush is burning with no ordinary fire -- this is the fire of God's holy power and presence.
This is the turning point in Moses' life. He is introduced to God through a burning bush. From this point on Moses will think of God as a fiery God.
We tend to image God in the way we first encounter the real presence of God. This is usually is linked to our personality or temperament, since God works with each of us according to our nature.
Perhaps God revealed himself to Moses in a fiery bush because Moses had a fiery personality. It was with a fiery anger that Moses killed that Egyptian taskmaster. I suspect that all during his time of hiding away in the desert Moses had within him a burning of anger, resentment, and bitterness over what had happened to his life. In a sense, when Moses saw the burning bush it was fire meeting fire: the fire within the mind of Moses encountering the fire of God's presence.
As for myself, I am not the Moses-type of personality. My first encounters with the real presence of God came through worship services that pushed me into deep reflection and caused me to search my heart for purity and my mind for truth. I have ever after imaged God as a the quiet, pure, light of truth that shines in a world darkened by sin.
But I need to know what Moses learned. God's truths are communicated through personality but they are not limited to personality types. We all need to discover the same fiery God that Moses came to know so clearly. There are some things that only the fire of God can show us.
The burning bush introduced Moses to the fire of God's passion for people. Exodus 3:7 and 9 NRSV "Then the LORD said, "I have observed the misery of my people who are in Egypt; I have heard their cry on account of their taskmasters. Indeed, I know their sufferings .. The cry of the Israelites has now come to me; I have also seen how the Egyptians oppress them."
God has always had a passionate desire for a people he could call his own.
That was why God had called Abraham to leave the land of Haran and go to the land of Canaan, the Promised Land. God's desire was to form a people out of Abraham and Sarah who would know him, praise him, serve him, honor him, and bring to the other peoples of the world the light of God's truth.
God is ...
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