We continue the “Out of Egypt” teaching series with a clearer understanding as to why the story of the Exodus is relevant to God’s people right now. The journey from Egypt to Canaan foreshadows our journey from earth to the heavenly Canaan and the lessons learned then, can surely help us now.
After jumping the gun on God’s deliverance project and killing an Egyptian, Moses fled into the wilderness and spent the next 40 years as a fugitive in a foreign land. Moses was to learn that the road to revival most always runs through the desert of denial and delay. If it was a hard lesson then, it has only gotten more so in our 21st century world of instant gratification.
Rewind to Exodus 3:1-3. Sometimes when we feel the farthest from God and from our calling, that’s when God meets us and renews our vision. Moses was on the “far side” of the desert, and maybe you’re feeling far from everything familiar and normal. Be alert. It is in such “far side” experiences that God encounters take place.
Moses saw the bush that was on fire but didn’t burn up. But it wasn’t until Moses turned aside that God spoke. (See verse 4.) God had been silent up to this point. If we will turn aside from everyday concerns to get closer to God, He will speak to us and call us by name. You may not hear him if you never turn aside. If you never turn aside from the ordinary, you won’t encounter the extra-ordinary. Turning aside generally means leaving your comfort zone, and that’s so…uncomfortable! As a poster says, “The comfort zone is a tempting place to be at, but nothing ever grows there.”
In verse 5 Moses learns about the holiness of God. He learns that 1. Holiness cannot be approached casually. God comes near to us, and yet keeps us at a distance. The first impression that God’s holiness produces is that of fear and awe. If we don’t see God as holy fire we won’t take Him seriously and will doubt His ability to deliver us. We’ve made God so small that we treat him like one of us, and that’s why we disregard his Word.
2. Contact with holiness requires humility. “Take off your shoes,” God says to Moses. It was considered sacrilegious to enter a clean or holy place with shoes on. And Moses was standing on Holy Ground. Taking off his shoes was an act of reverence, conveying his own unworthiness before God. How often we forget to take our “shoes” off before God! We rush into our day, putting email, Facebook, and Instagram ahead of God, subconsciously standing in our own self-sufficiency. God help us.
Moses thought at first that the bush was special. But it wasn’t the bush that was special, it was the God of the bush. That bush was ugly and ordinary and should have been consumed by the glory of the Almighty. But the bush yielded itself to the touch of its Creator and instead of becoming fuel, it became a torch lighting the way for Moses to see God.
When we yield ourselves to the touch of our Creator, though we are ugly with sin, “It is because of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed.” Instead, we, like the bush, become a torch in the hand of God to light the way of salvation for those trapped in darkness. “You are the light of the world!” Jesus said. But only if you have seen the light yourself. Before you can get out of Egypt, you’ve got to let God get in to you. You’ve got to know Holy. You’ve got to have your own burning bush experience with God.
It is the presence of God that makes something holy. Any place where God is present becomes holy Ground. And if Christ is in me, then I carry holiness with me.
God goes on to call Moses into partnership (Exodus 7:1), and gives Moses the job of showing Pharaoh what He’s like. He didn’t simply give Moses a message and say, “Give this message to Pharaoh.” In a sense he said “Go be the message. Go be like me so when they see you, they will know me.” This is always what God wants for his partners.
Our mission is the same as Moses’—to show the world what God is like. So he’s still looking for a partner—someone who will turn aside from hurry and come look and be touched by holy. He chose Moses and He wants to choose you. Just a shepherd with an ordinary rod. Just an ordinary desert bush. Just an ordinary sinner—chosen by the I Am to be His message and do His wonders. Interested? That’s Him calling you by name. Don’t forget to take your shoes off.
Pastor Randy Maxwell