Summary: We’re going to learn how to know the Lord more deeply and to trust who He is. And the Great I AM is He who will watch over you today, tomorrow, and forever more.
Giving God your Attention
“So when the Lord saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am” - Exodus 3:4
Let us begin a new series called “The Great I AM.” We’re going to learn how to know the Lord more deeply and to trust who He is. Exodus 3:1 says, “Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian. And he led the flock to the back of the desert, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God.”
The word “Horeb” means “desert” or “desolation.” Moses is transformed when he comes to this place. He leaves Horeb, the mountain of God, with a new mission, a new message, a new view of himself, and a new view of God. Horeb, the mountain of God, this place of desolation, becomes a place where he meets God.
Exodus 3:2 says, “And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed.”
A burning bush in the hot wilderness is an unusual sight. What was extraordinary that day is that this burning bush was “not consumed.” It was burning, but it was not burning up. Moses quickly realizes that this was no ordinary bush. So Moses says in verse 3: “I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn. Moses saw this extraordinary sight, and he stopped to see what was going on. God wanted to meet Moses. Understand, God wants to meet with us as well. God wants to meet with you, in your ordinary world, but in unexpected places and ways. God is always at work. God was working back then, and He is working right here, right now. He’s working in this place. He’s working in your life. He’s working in your life circumstances.
The question is: Will you turn aside to see what God’s doing? Will you turn aside to listen? Will you turn aside to respond to God? Or are you just going to keep going on with life as usual?
In verses 4–6, Moses has this astounding encounter with God. Exodus 3:4: “when the Lord saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!”. Moses had been living a solitary life out in the wilderness. And now someone, someone he did not know, someone he had never encountered before was calling him by name.
Dear children of God, God knows your name. He knows your story. He knows where you are coming from. He knows your past. He knows your present. He knows your future. And he wants to talk with you about it.
Once God had Moses’ full, undivided attention, He spoke to him. Exodus 3:5, Then He said, “Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.” So this ordinary place, this ordinary bush in the wilderness was made holy by God’s presence. The ground was made holy by the presence of God. In this event, we are reminded that because God is holy and we are not, we cannot come near to God. It is only through the holiness of God by the saving work of His Son, Jesus Christ, that we are able to come near to God.
God continues in Exodus 3:6, God says to Moses, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” This is the God of Moses’ history, the God of his father, taking him back to his past, the past that maybe he had tried to forget about, tried to put behind him, tried to not think about all these years after running away from Egypt. And Moses [the Scripture says] hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God (v. 6). Moses was being forced to face things that he had not thought about for a long time—his heritage, his father, the God of his father.
Moses is afraid in the presence of God and in the presence of holiness, and the God who knew his past and his father and his father’s father and his whole history. Moses was afraid, so he hid his face. He was afraid to look at God.
But God had a special calling for Moses, even though he was afraid. God wanted to use him as a leader and deliverer for the children of Israel. For 430 years, the Israelite had been slaves to the land of Egypt.