WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
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MOSES AND THE BURNING BUSH
(Every calling by GOD is unique)
As GOD’s special agent, Moses delivered Israel out of bondage in Egypt (after much protesting), and delivered to them, a special code of laws (the Ten Commandments) from GOD. They were, and are, a special set of precepts, that man could never come up with on his own, and nor, could he ever equal, in moral and spiritual quality, or tone.
The life of Moses can be divided into three separate and very distinct stages that are eerily equal in length. In his first 40 years “he lived as a prince in Egypt”, greatly honing his “leadership skills” for a task he did not yet know he would be called by GOD to do. During his second 40 years, he lived in total humility, as an outcast in exile from Egypt, and, as a shepherd of his father-in-law’s flocks, in the land of Midian. It was there that he acquired all the “humbleness” that a leader under GOD must have to succeed.
However, it was not until he had reached the ripe old age of 80, and was entering into his third and final stage of life, that the LORD deemed him ready to receive the charge to move forward, and deliver HIS oppressed and stubborn Israelite nation out of spiritual, physical, and psychological bondage in Egypt.
And so, here in Genesis 3, some forty years after Moses had fled into exile from Egypt to Midian, and had just about finished up his “training in humility”, laboring as a shepherd over Jethro’s flocks, “the ANGEL of the LORD” (which is “a theophany of CHRIST” in the Old Testament) appeared to him as “a burning bush”, deep in the wilderness, near Mount Sinai. Moses was amazed because the bush, although it was engulfed in flames, did not burn up.
When the LORD saw that HE had captured Moses’ attention, HE called out to him from the flaming bush, and HE first, instructed Moses not to come any closer. The LORD also instructed Moses to remove his sandals because he was standing on “Holy Ground” (Moses was standing, quite literally, in the company of divine holiness itself). The LORD then explained to Moses, that, HE was the GOD of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and when Moses heard this, he hid his face in his hands, so as not to see the face of GOD (something that the Hebrews believed would mean certain and instant death).
Then, the GOD WHO sees all, hears all, and knows all that we do, told HIS servant Moses that HE was keenly aware of everything that was happening to HIS people in Egypt. GOD also told Moses that that is why HE had, literally, come down to rescue them through divine intervention, and that, HE would use “him” to lead Israel out of bondage, and back into “the promised land” of Canaan, “a land flowing with milk and honey”.
Here in this passage we see Scripture’s first use of the term “a land flowing with milk and honey” (v.8). It is a term that suggests “a natural and somewhat automatic, agricultural prosperity”. The milk producing animals such as cows, goats, and sheep, would always be full of milk, and the bees would continually produce plenty of honey for pleasurable consumption with their foods.
Sadly, taking up at verse 11, Moses would spend the remainder of this chapter of Genesis (and half of chapter 4), trying to explain to GOD why he could not answer HIS charge to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. And even though GOD assures him that “HE would be with him” (v.12), Moses continued to offer up excuses to the LORD, over and over again (Vs.13-4:17).
When calls us to task, HE is not requesting or commanding that we act alone, nor under “our own inept human strength”, but rather, HE is requesting the use of our faith, mind, and “human spirit”, so that HE can empower us with HIS HOLY SPIRIT, and allow HIM to actually complete the work that HE calls us to do (in other words, GOD wants to use our bodies only as a earthly vehicle).
GOD went on to explain and expose to Moses the details and end result of the entire mission that he was being charged with (Vs.16-22). However, before that, GOD told Moses HIS OWN personal and redemptive name, “YAHWEH”, that HE would be called by (but not in vain), and HE promised him success in his mission to and from Egypt. The rescue mission that GOD was about to work, would establish for all time, the redemptive meaning of his name, the name by which HE prefers to be remembered, from generation to generation.
A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander