Summary: The man who wanted to deliver Israel by his own strength is turned into a man of God and he will answer the call to deliver Israel by God's strength.
A BUSH ON FIRE WITH GOD
Moses had been a prince in Egypt. While Moses’ is living in Pharaoh’s house, he attempts to become Israel's deliverer after the manner of the flesh. He kills an Egyptian who was beating a Hebrew slave. Moses is then forced to run to the wilderness, to Midian where he marries and becomes a shepherd. During this time God breaks and molds Moses into a spiritual man. Now the man who wanted to deliver Israel by his own strength is turned into a man of God and he will answer the call to deliver Israel by God's strength.
Moses spent his first forty years as a prince in Pharaoh's court, his second forty years as a shepherd in the wilderness and his last forty years as a servant deliverer in the desert. Sometimes it is a long time before God calls His servants to the task for which he has been graciously preparing them. God tests His weapons (warriors) before He uses them.
Here we have the appearance of the LORD God. The last time the Lord directly spoke was in a vision to Jacob at night before Jacob came to Egypt. The last appearance of the Lord was when Jacob was converted (and name changed to Israel) during the all night wrestling event. Here we have not a conversion but another great turning point in a man's life. [Any bush will do so long as God is in the bush.]
I. Humbled and Alone, 1.
II. A Flame with God, 2-5.
III. A Flame Forever, 6.
I. HUMBLED AND ALONE, 1.
In verse 1 we learn of Moses occupation as shepherd and where he was pasturing the sheep. “Now Moses was pasturing the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the west side of the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God.
This event takes place forty years after Moses' arrival in Midian according to Acts 7:30. Moses’ father-in-law, Reuel (2:18), or friend of God, here called Jethro (which means preeminence, abundance, or over and above), is a priest of the one true God in Midian. The west side of the wilderness or the back side of the desert indicates that Moses left the desert for the mountains near Horeb on the Sinai plateau. This region provided sufficient food and water for his father-in-law's flock.
Mt. Horeb in anticipation is called "The Mountain of God." Mt. Horeb and Mt. Sinai are two names for the same mountain in the northern part of the Sinai peninsula (the peak is approximately 7,000 ft.). This is the same mountain that Moses will later climb to meet with God and receive the revelation of The Law. [Horeb meaning “dry,” “desert,” was the general name for the mountainous district in which Sinai is situated, and of which it is a part (Ex 19:2).] Though completely unknown to Moses, the Providence of God had led him there for an important purpose. Moses probably thought he was only seeking better pasture.
The man destined to become the deliverer of Israel has found his employment as a shepherd for forty years. He had settled down and was ready to complete his life as a poor shepherd. God's choice servants are often buried in obscurity before He calls them to service.
In all ages God has used those who were busy working. Satan may call idle men into his service but God calls active and earnest - not lazy - men. Only after we are aroused and working will God take us up and use us. You remember where Elijah found Elisha? He was ploughing in the field - hard at work. Gideon was threshing grain. Moses was away in Horeb looking after the sheep. None of these eminent servants of God were idle men; what they did, they did diligently. We need such men and women today. If we can't do God's work with all the skill and success we would like let us at least do it with all the zeal that God has given us.
The verb tense “was pasturing” implies that Moses continually was out there alone in this wilderness. Solitude is a spawning ground for the strong and nature's silent wilderness a more appropriate place to meet God than a palace. It was in the wilderness where this lonely shepherd met God. Jesus would often go to a lonely place to meet God. If you are alone today be ready to meet with God for places of solitude can be places of His presence.
What a contrast between Moses' life as an Egyptian prince and his life as a Midianite shepherd! As a prince he had everything done for him for he was the famous son of an Egyptian princess. As a shepherd he had to do everything for himself. He was employed in the very job he had been taught to despise (Genesis 43:32; 46:32-34), and he lived as an unknown foreigner. What a humbling experience this must have been for Moses! But God was preparing him for leadership. Living the life of a shepherd and nomad, Moses learned about himself and also about life in the desert. Moses couldn't appreciate this lesson, but God was getting him ready to free Israel from Pharaoh's grasp.