Summary: God calls Moses to save Israel and finish more of the promise to Abraham which foreshadows Christ and his work.
We’re back in Exodus, the gospel according to Moses, and now we’ll look at his calling. We’ve already seen that he was hidden among the reeds by his mother when he was a baby, discovered by Pharaoh's daughter and raised as her son with all the benefits of Pharaoh’s household. When he was 40 years old he killed an Egyptian to save a fellow-Israelite, and had to run for his life into the desert. There he met a family, married in, and started a family of his own as a shepherd:
Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian:
One thing I want you to notice as we go through these verses is the similarities to Christ: The prince of Egypt stooped to be a lowly shepherd, gave up everything to save one Israelite, and spent 40 years in the desert waiting on God. Christ gave up everything in heaven to become a lowly servant for his people, and he spent 40 days in the desert also waiting on God. These comparisons aren’t accidental. Moses saved Israel from the land of bondage to foreshadow the Prophet who saves all God’s people from spiritual bondage.
and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb. 2And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush:
Before we say anything about this verse we need to read what the New Testament says about it: And when forty years were expired, there appeared to him in the wilderness of mount Sina an angel of the Lord in a flame of fire in a bush (Acs 7:30)
So, after living in the desert for 40 years, Moses is somewhere near Sinai when he sees this burning bush. I want you to pay close attention to the words. What exactly appeared to him? It says the Angel of the Lord appeared “in a flame.” The Greek word for “in” is a preposition that means just that: in. The Greek Septuagint translates Exodus 3:2 with the same preposition. A literal English translation of the original Hebrew reads, “and he is appearing messenger of Yahweh to him in blaze of fire from midst of the thorn bush”
In Acts 7:35 we read that the angel “appeared to him in the bush” and in Deuteronomy 33:16 we see that the Lord “dwelt in the bush.” In Exodus 3:16 he says, “The Lord God...appeared unto me.” I’m making a big deal out of this because it doesn't say the Angel of the Lord appeared “as” a flame or “as” a bush; it says plainly that the Angel of the Lord was in the flame which was in the bush. This is important because it helps us understand what we’re seeing.
The word “angel” simply means messenger. This “messenger,” according to verse six, is God himself! Now, if no man has ever seen the Father (Jn. 6:46), then who does Moses see in the bush? Christ later says that he is I AM (Jn. 8:58). He is the Messenger or Apostle of God who reveals the covenant of grace to God’s people. It’s him we see standing in a bush in the Old Testament talking to Moses.