Summary: Answer the "burning bush". Go barefoot. Be Blessed.
Barefoot and Blessed
(Name), did you get my message? (Name), did you get the message I left for you on your answering machine? (Name), did you get the message I left for you on your cell phone’s voice mail? (Name), did you get my e-mail? We live in the information age where messages are constantly being sent back and forth in a variety of ways. A missed message could mean a loss of business. A missed message could result in confusion about where to meet. A missed message could result in a loss of life. But a missed message from God is the worst kind of message to miss. A missed message is a missed blessing.
I believe that God gives His people certain messages, and these “messages” are instructions to equip us, and encouragement to do His will. Our scripture for today, the story of Moses and the burning bush, is a story about a message from God to Moses. A message that, thankfully, Moses didn’t miss.
Close your eyes. Now imagine you’re walking on a lonely hillside on a hot summer day. A bush catches fire, but instead of burning up it keeps on burning! That’d get your attention, wouldn’t it? You might think, “That’s weird. What does this mean? Is God trying to tell me something?” It could God calling you with a message. He has a message for you that could change the direction of your life.
Moses was a shepherd, tending his father-in-law’s sheep, doing the same thing he did every day. It was a day like every other day. Until…this bush catches fire. Well, this is the most excitement Moses has had in a while, so he stops to watch it burn down. Only it doesn’t. The fire is in the bush, but it doesn’t consume the bush. It’s kind of like those fake fireplace logs with the electric flames. It just keeps on burning.
And Moses, being so articulate, even though amazed at the sight, probably goes, “huh”. He decides finally to walk on over and check out this unburnable bush a little closer. As he’s walking closer, God’s presence calls to him from the bush, “Moses, Moses!
Moses, being the quick wit that he is says, “What…here I am.”
I wonder if Moses gave any thought to the consequences stopping to check out that burning bush. People of passion and faith rarely count the consequences. You see, if Moses had really thought about it, he’d have put as much distance as possible between himself and that flaming bush, although we know that “you can run but you can’t hide” from God. So put yourselves in Moses’ place. "Have you ever heard a call from someone to go way beyond your usual pattern of life? What happened? What were the consequences?"
Moses! “I have observed the misery of my people who are in Egypt; I have heard their cry on account of their taskmasters. Indeed, I know their sufferings and I have come to deliver them from the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey. So come, I will send you to Pharaoh to bring my people out of Egypt.”
So Moses whips out his trusty Palm Pilot and says, “Well, I’ll have to check my calendar. Oh. Nope, can’t do it, I’m busy that day. I’ve got a 10:00 meeting with my father-in-law, then at noon I have a sheep shearing lesson, and at 2 I’m getting my staff aligned. And, of course, I have to help the kids with their history homework.”
“I’m just a shepherd. Why me?" "Moses!" God said, "I am with you now. I will be with you then. I need you to bring my people out of Egypt." Moses looks at his Palm Pilot. The screen is blank, the battery’s dead. His schedule has just been changed.
Everything changes for Moses at this point in time because his encounter with God is a revelation of God himself and the God that he encounters is a God of fire. This bush should have been destroyed in less than 10 seconds, but the miracle here is not the bush but the fire; the fire of God that kept burning and burning and burning. This kind of fire requires no fuel. God was in the fire and Moses had just stepped in to God’s home.
There Moses is instructed to remove his sandals, which is not foreign to him. Egyptian priests observed it in their temples, people in all Eastern countries observe this as well. The removal of shoes is a confession of unworthiness to stand in pure holiness. God tells Moses, “Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.”