Summary: What is God really like?
The God of Fire
Some years ago, very early in the morning, 3 AM to be exact, my wife and I were awakened to the sound of people screaming and yelling and crying outside our bedroom window.
At first, we thought this was some ridiculous drunken party gone wild. As the noise increased, we decided this kind of disturbance demanded a call to the police. So, we crawled out of bed, walked over to the window, pulled back the curtains to see our neighbor’s entire living room ablaze. The screaming and yelling we heard was people jumping from the second story window to save their lives.
It’s amazing what one will do in an emergency. Muriel ran downstairs to dial 911 while I stood and pondered what would be appropriate dress to wear to a fire. And so, we ran outside. Within a matter of minutes, a crowd of people had gathered around this burning house.
Remember this is 3 o'clock in the morning. Fire attracts. Fire arrests. Fire draws people. When God wanted to get the attention of his servant Moses, He used fire. We read about it in Exodus 3.
The God Who Reveals Himself.
Verse 1 talks about Mount Horeb. There are seven sacred mountains in the Bible.
1. Mount Horeb or Mt. Sinai as it is also known.
2. Mt. Moriah also known as the Temple Mount where the Dome of the Rock Mosque sits in Jerusalem.
3. Mt. Zion, also in Jerusalem toward the southwest.
4. Mt. Olivette just east of Jerusalem from where Jesus ascended back to heaven.
5. Mt. Hermon in northern Israel, headwaters of the Jordan River and site of the Transfiguration.
6. Mt. Calvary where our Lord died for our sins.
7. And lastly, the heavenly Mount Zion spoken of in the Book of Hebrews. All these mountains relate in some way to our Christian walk.
However, the very first mountain we face in any spiritual pilgrimage is Mount Horeb. The mountain of divine revelation. Before anything else can happen to us spiritually, God must reveal Himself.
Before we can worship God, before we can praise God, before we can talk with certainty about going to heaven, we must come to Mount Horeb, the mountain of divine revelation.
I want you to see from this passage that Moses was not looking for God, it was God who was looking for Moses. And that friends, is the way it always is. God makes the first move. The only reason we seek God is because He has been seeking us. God is the prime mover in the affairs of men.
I do not know what sacred mountain you are climbing this morning, but I do know that if you are a child of God, it is because somewhere back in your past, while you were wandering around in the lonely wilderness of Horeb, God spoke to you.
Moses was not seeking God. Moses was not on a holy pilgrimage. He had long since forgotten about the great and painful needs in Egypt. For him it was just another workday. Little did he know that when he left the house that morning and gave Zipporah a kiss good-bye, he would never care for sheep again.
On this ordinary day God revealed himself. But how did God reveal Himself to Moses?
What is God like?
God is Both Holy and Merciful.
A. God is Holy
God is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity. He will have no part in sin. Fire, here in Exodus 3 and in so many parts of the Bible, is symbolic of God’s awesome holiness.
From Genesis to Revelation, we are given this picture of a God of fire.
In Genesis we are told about the cities of Sodom and Gomorra. The stench of their wickedness became an offence to God and God drew near in blazing holiness.
God’s holiness cannot for one moment tolerate sin. We do but God will not.
We have become accustomed to sin in our culture.
They say that if you live with skunks long enough you don’t even notice their scent. That is what has happened in our society. We have become accustomed to sin. Unless it is the vilest most unspeakable type of sin like child sexual abuse, we hardly raise a voice of concern. We just live and let live.
But our sins, our duplicity, are a stench in the nostrils of God. So often we appear to be fine, upright, pious, good but we are by nature double minded. We have both good and evil coming from the same fountain.
I heard about this man and woman in Long Beach, California who stopped at a Fried Chicken place for lunch. The lady waited in the car while the man went in and picked up the chicken. Inadvertently, the manager of the store handed the guy a box in which he had placed the financial proceeds of the day, instead of the box of chicken. You see, the manager was going to make a deposit and he camouflaged it by putting the money in a fried chicken box.