About Jesus Steve Sweetman
This Chapter 3
And The Burning Bush (ch.
3:1 - 22)
verse 1 we see that Moses had become a shepherd, like his father and
fathers before him. He
tended his father-in-law's flock. His
father-in-law was named Jethro.
see that Joseph led these flocks to the far side of the desert.
Some text say the "back side", or, the "west
side", of the desert. It
was the Semite custom in those days, to determine direction, they'd find
the sun, look to the east. Their
backs when naturally be facing the west, their left hand north, and
their right hand south. So
for those texts that use the term "back side", that means
1 also says that Moses came to Horeb, the
verse speaks of Horeb as being 'the mountain
of God". Most scholars feel
that this mountain range wasn't known as the
verse 2 we note that "the angel of the Lord" appeared to
Moses. The term
"angel of the Lord" is usually understood by most scholars to
be pre-incarnate Jesus. Thus
Jesus appeared to Moses in the form of fire in a bush.
verses 2 and 3 Moses notices that though the bush was on fire, it did
not burn. For this reason he
went to investigate what was going on.
verse 4 we see that once Moses saw the burning bush, God called out to
him. God speaks Moses name
twice. He says, "Moses,
Moses." We have
seen this before on occasion. When
God wants our attention, He often speaks out our name twice for emphasis
verse 4 Moses simply answers, "here am I."
You wonder how he felt when he heard his name being called out
from a bush that was burning but was not being consume by the fire.
Fear might well be gripping his heart.
Sunday sermons have come from verse 5.
God tells Moses to come no closer to Him. He also tells Moses to
take His sandals off because that ground is holy ground.
The ground is only holy because God's immediate presence is
there. Once His immediate presence leaves, that ground is no longer
use the term "immediate presence" because in one sense of the
word God is in all places at all times.
That is part of who He is. Yet
on the other hand, I believe, as well as others, that there is a place
where God is, or, there is a place where His immediate presence is.
In this verse, God's immediate presence is in that bush that is
burning, and that is why the bush is burning in the first place.
presence burns whatever is earthly.
His presence at the end of this age will burn the good works that
Christians do from their own strength and power.
As the apostle Paul puts it.
Works that are wood, hay, and stubble will burn, but works that
are gold and silver will not burn. Then
there is the fire of judgment in the Lake
tells Moses to take off his shoes. There
are a number of ways people take this.
Taking off of shoes is a sign of respect in many countries.
verse 6 God introduces Himself. He
says that He is the "God of your father".
That's Amram. He then
tells Moses that He is also
the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
At this point Moses hid his face from God because he was afraid.
I think this is how we would all feel.
If we were in the immediate presence of God we would hide our
faces as well, partly out of fear and partly out of feeling
verses 7 through 9 God tells Moses that he has seen the suffering, the
cries, and the oppression of His people.
He is now going to rescue His people from the Egyptians and
return them back to
look at verses 7 through 9 and see God's concern about His people.
I picture God today being just as concerned.
He looks down on His people with great compassion, even though
they are not living as they should.
10 tells us that God told Moses to "go", that is, "go
back to Pharaoh in
than Moses murdering an Egyptian, Moses
has seldom spent any time with his own people.
He was raised as an Egyptian, in the palace of the Pharaoh, and
now for the last forty years he was living in Midian.
Moses was a Jew, but he has never lived among the Jews.
Why would the Jews even want to trust him to lead them out?
Why would they even want him to do such a thing?
If someone was to rise up and be their leader it would seem that
it should be someone who has lived among them that everyone knows.
No one knows Moses.
can unde4stand why Moses was taken back by what God was saying.
God just told him that He would free
verse 12 God replies to Moses. He
says that that "this" will be the sign that I have spoken to
you. God then proceeds to
say that you, that is, our plural in Hebrew, meaning the Jews, will
worship at the mountain. So
what is the sign? The sign
is the burning bush and how it will relate to the future when
13 continues the dialogue between Moses and God.
Moses knows he is talking to God, but he is having a hard time
understanding God's train of thinking.
So Moses anticipates what the Israelis will say when he tells
them that God has sent him to them to lead them out of Egypt. He anticipates them
asking, "what is His name?"
In other words, "what God are you talking about?
What God do you claim is sending you to us?"
I think Moses is right here.
The men of
doesn't ignore this question. He
must have thought it was a logical question and worth answering.
So in verse 14 He says, "I am that I am."
He then tells Moses to say, tell Israel
that "I am " has sent you.
continues in verse 15. He
tells Moses to tell
then tells Moses to tell
is a problem with this thinking as I see it.
First of all, the Jews of old would not say the name of God
because they felt it was so holy. They
would not write it either. To
make a long story short, because the Jews did not say the name of God,
or write it, we are really uncertain what His name is meant to be.
For this reason, there is much uncertainty today the name God
wanted Himself to be called by. The
closest we can get to is the name "Yahweh", or a few other
names similar in spelling. The
spelling of "Yahweh"
has been debated over for years, so we aren't one hundred percent sure
that is the actual spelling.
verse 16 and 17 God tells Moses to go up to the elders of Israel. We see, even at this early
date, that there are elders in
has an everlasting relationship with Israel. At times He blesses them,
and at times He curses them, but all the time, He watches over them.
We are now coming into the period of time when God's judgment on
see God's plan in verse 18. Moses
and the elders are to go to the Pharaoh and tell him that the Lord, the
God of Israel, that's Yahweh Elohim, has spoken to them and they are to
go into the desert and worship God their.
Now that sounds outrages.
Why would the Pharaoh let his slaves leave Egypt?
verse 19 God tells Moses that He knows the Pharaoh won't let Israel
go, "unless a mighty hand compels him."
That indeed is what is about to happen.
Pharaoh would not let his slaves go.
That only makes sense from Pharaoh's perspective.
This then forces God's hand.
verse 20 we see God's response to Pharaoh's reluctance to let
verse 21 God tells Moses that when the time comes, He will make the
Egyptians act favorably toward
should remember the Abrahamic Covenant again at this point.
God told Abraham that He would bless those who bless
22 says that the women in
people today make more of a deal over this than they should. In some
circles a whole doctrine has been built up around this verse.
The doctrine is called the transfer of wealth.
These people believe that before the return of Jesus the wealth
of the world will be transferred over to Christians.
This is a far leap away from logic.
To take this verse and say that is not what this verse is
speaking about, but many interpret the Bible incorrectly all the time.
There is a real need for Christians to be taught the art of
Biblical interpretation, otherwise called, hermeneutics.
For Moses (ch. 4:1 - 17)
conversation between God and Moses continues in chapter 4, verse 1.
Moses is reluctant to do as God says.
He now asks God, "what if they do not believe me or listen
to me and say, 'the Lord did not appear to you?'"
Once again, this is a legitimate response.
response to Moses objection is found inv verses 2 through 5.
God asks Moses what is in his hand.
Moses says that he is holding a staff.
God tells him to throw the staff on the ground, which Moses does.
The staff becomes a snake, that frighten Moses, so he steps back.
God then tells Moses to pick the snake up by the tale, which he
does. The snake turns back
into a staff. God tells
Moses that when
miracles of Jesus in New Testament times were meant to do the same.
They were to be a sign that God had sent Jesus to Israel, yet even with these miraculous signs,
as a whole did not believe that God had sent Jesus.
verses 6 and 7 God provides Moses with yet another miracle.
He told Moses to put his hand inside his coat, and as he did, his
hand became with leprosy. When
he put his hand back into his coat, his hand became normal again.
verses 8 through 10 we see that there might be the possibility that
Israel would not believe or listen to Moses even with the above two
miracles. God even admitted
that possibility. So God
provided another miracle. He
told Moses that is this happens, he should take water from the Nile
verse 10 we see yet another objection by Moses.
This is why many scholars feel that Moses is trying to get out of
what God wants him to do. Moses
himself has just seen a couple of miracles.
You'd think that this would convince him that God would help him
carry out this request, but apparently it doesn't.
You might think that if the miracles that Moses has just seen,
and he had just performed doesn't motivate him to do God's will, how
would they motivate
Moses tells God that he is not an eloquent speaker.
I'm sure God knew that, and that did not stop Him from choosing
Moses to do His will. Moses
says that he is slow of speech and tongue.
Some suggest that Moses might have had a stuttering problem, or
some kind of speech impediment. We
don't know this for sure. All
we know for sure is that Moses though that he had difficulties speaking,
whether that was really the case or not, is hard to know.
11 is both interesting and important.
God says, "who gave man his mouth?
Who makes him deaf or dumb? Who
gives him sight or makes him blind?
Is it not I, the Lord?"
This statement is important for a number of reasons.
One reason is that it comes directly from the mouth of God.
It does not come through the inspired speech of a person.
reason why this statement is important because it tells us that God
makes some men and women deaf, dub, and blind.
Some people may struggle with this, especially those of the
hyper-faith persuasion. It
is interesting to me because I am legally blind.
There are a number of ways that people would think concerning my
blindness. One might be that
it is a birth defect, just a happenstance.
Other's might think that the devil made me have bad eyesight.
Yet this passage says that God has made my eyes not see well.
If I accept this, then that puts things into a much different
light than if I think the devil made me blind, or it was simply the luck
of the draw from birth. If
God made me this way, then I need to accept it, unless He decides to
ends the objections in verse 13. He
simply asks God to send somebody else
It is as if he just gives up trying rationalize things with God.
He just comes out with it. "Please
send someone else", he says. I think Moses is a timid man.
He is simply too shy. Besides,
the murder of the man still might be in the memory of some, even though
it has been decades since he killed the man who was attacking a fellow
this point, in verse 14, we see "that the Lord's anger burned
against Moses." God
got angry with Moses. And,
since the phrase reads, "…. anger burned .."
this tells me that God was very angry at Moses.
in verse 14 God tells Moses that his brother Aaron the Levite was on the
way to meet him and he was exited to be reunited with Moses.
These two men had not seen each other for years, or so we think.
It is interesting that as God was trying to convince Moses to do
His will Aaron was on his way to see Moses.
Clearly, God had sent Aaron to Moses, knowing Moses would put up
this fight. God works all things out for His own purpose.
A number of things come together at any given time to make sure
His will is done, as is seen here.
in verse 15, tells Moses, not asks, that Moses will tell Aaron what to
speak to the people, and He will help them both in the process.
The whole point here is that God never asked Moses to be a good
speaker. He never made Moses
to be a good speaker. Being
a good speaker didn't matter to God.
It does however matter to us more than it should.
We put too much emphases of a man's speaking ability in church
circles these days. What
mattered to God was that Moses would do as he was told.
God wanted Moses to represent Him to Israel. That is what God wants of
us today. Our talents are
secondary to what God would have us to do.
Besides, we are not to do God's will in our own strength anyway.
We are to solely depend on Him.
you read 2 Corinthian 4 you'll see a good example of how this should
play out in the life of Christians.
Paul tells us that we have God's treasure in earthen vessels.
The vessel is the not the important thing.
It is the treasure in the vessel that is important. Too
often than not, we are concerned about our vessel and not the treasure
we hold within. That
verse 17 God specifically says that Aaron would speak for Moses and that
it would be like Moses is God to Aaron.
Of course Moses isn't God, but Aaron would say exactly what Moses
tells him as if he were God. Of
course, what Moses tells Aaron is what God tells him.
In verse 17 God tells Moses to carry his staff because God would use it to perform miracles before Israel so they would know that both Aaron and Moses were sent by Him.