Peter Misselbrook's Blog
Aug 6 2011 - E100.17a – Exodus 3:1-12, The God who sees and hears and comes down

Moses has become a shepherd to the flock (of sheep or goats) of his father-in-law Jethro. Perhaps these many years as a shepherd were God's means of preparing this man to become leader of his people. No time is wasted with God.

One day his attention is drawn to the strange sight of a bush that seems to be ablaze with fire but is not consumed. As he walks across to take a closer look he is stopped in his tracks as God speaks to him from within the bush. The burning bush is a picture of the God's glory – a glory that blazes but does not consume. Moses is told not to come any closer but to take his sandals off his feet because the place where he is standing is holy ground. No place is holy in and of itself; this place is made holy by God's presence. The removal of his sandals is symbolic – Moses stands naked before the living God.

God tells Moses that he is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; he is the covenant God, the God of the promises. He has seen the misery of his people, heard their cries, and his heart is moved at their suffering. He has come down to rescue them from the oppression of the Egyptians and to bring them into the Promised Land, a land flowing with milk and honey.

This promise of deliverance must have filled Moses' heart with joy, until it is repeated with a new twist, "The cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt" (Exodus 3:9-10).

Moses is to be God's agent in confronting Pharaoh and liberating the Israelites. He'd tried that once before and he doesn't want to try it again. "Who am I", asks Moses, "that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?" The answer is that he is the one whom God has chosen and  prepared and whom God will use to do this task. Nor will he do it on his own; God will be with him in every step of the task. The proof of God's presence will be the success of the task; Moses will lead the people out of Egypt back to this very spot where they will worship God for his deliverance.

Many people think of God as being far away. He may have set the world in motion but now he chooses not to intervene. Despite all of the injustice, pain and suffering in the world, he remains dispassionate and far off – he does nothing. Here we see that this picture of God is far from the truth. God sees the suffering of his people, hears their cry and comes down to save. He did it at the time of the Exodus; he did it supremely in the Lord Jesus Christ, the one in whom God came down to save his people.

God of compassion, help me to grow in understanding of your character. Enable me to see that you are not far off but have come to be with us and to bring us into your own holy presence. Teach me more of the glory of your grace revealed most fully in the Lord Jesus Christ. Help me also to see that you choose to work through me, weak though I am, to accomplish your purpose to bring blessing to the world.

Peter Misselbrook