Summary: This sermon spends time at the burning bush and discusses the fact that failure doesn't disqualify us from God's service.
A. Maybe you have heard the story of the day that President George W. Bush was in an airport and noticed a man in a long flowing red robe with a long flowing white hair and beard.
1. The man had a staff in one hand and some stone tablets under the other arm.
2. George W. approached the man and asked, “Aren't you Moses?”
3. The man ignored George W. and stared at the ceiling.
4. George W. positioned himself more directly in the man's view and asked again, “Aren't you Moses?”
5. The man continued to stare at the ceiling.
6. George W. then tugged at the man's sleeve and asked once again, “Aren't you Moses?”
7. The man finally responded in an irritated tone, “YES, I AM!”
8. George W. asked him why he was so irritated and why he had taken so long to answer him.
9. Moses replied, “I’m sorry, I don’t mean to be rude, but the last time I spoke to a Bush I ended up stuck in a desert for forty years!”
B. Today, as we return to the story of Moses, we will look at the incident that occurred with the burning bush – where God spoke to Moses and Moses talked back to the bush.
1. Last week, as you will remember, Moses had grown up and was age 40 when he experienced his major, life-shattering failure and ran into the desert to escape the consequences.
2. Moses spent the next 40 years in obscurity, in the desert of Midian, tending his father-in-law’s sheep.
3. I’m sure at that point, Moses must have felt that he was an unusable vessel.
4. I’m sure that he felt that he messed up so much that God would never call on him for any major assignment.
5. But Moses was so wrong.
C. As a matter of fact, God specializes in working with those who have made major mistakes.
1. Last week, I mentioned that God employs imperfect people, because that’s the only kind of people God has to work with.
2. Allow me to quickly jog your memory of some of the imperfect people whom God has worked with.
3. Abraham is certainly known as a man of faith. He followed God by leaving his homeland, and he was even willing to sacrifice the son of promise when God ordered him to do so, but he had his lapses of faith – on a couple of occasions he tried to protect himself through lying, and he also tried to produce the needed heir through someone other than Sarah. God still used him.
4. King David, the man after God’s own heart, who had his share of great victories, like over Goliath, but made his share of major mistakes and sins which included adultery, deception, and murder. God still employed him.
5. How about Jonah? He didn’t get it right the first time, but God still worked through him.
6. Consider Rahab the prostitute who God used to give His people the victory at Jericho – she ends up in the lineage of Jesus and in the “faith hall of fame” in Hebrews 11.
7. What about the apostle Peter who had denied Jesus three times? Jesus wasn’t done with him; he went on to be a great leader in the church.
D. Moses is going to discover that God specializes in using imperfect people.
1. Part of the reason God does that is because God doesn’t have any perfect people to use.
2. Another part of the reason is that God wants to show everyone that what matter is not the person, but the God who is behind the person and working in the person.
3. That’s why I had us read the verses we read for the Scripture reading.
a. Paul wrote:8 We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. 9 Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. (2 Cor. 1:8-9)
b. Paul also wrote: 7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. (2 Cor. 4:7)
4. We are but jars of clay and some of us have some pretty significant cracks in our pots, but it is not the pot that matters it is what fills that pot that matters.
5. We are weak and flawed vessels, but God fills us with His power and His righteousness and He enables us to carry out His good purposes.