Summary: Especially for Christian leaders. Moses found his purpose in the burning bush.
"Did you get my message?" We live in the information age and messages are constantly being sent back and forth. A missed message could mean a loss of business or time. Wartime stories abound of missed messages among commanders resulting in confusion and loss of life. But the worst "missed messages" are the ones we get from God and fail to grasp or heed.
What do I mean? I believe that God places in the path of His people certain messages, instructions, or encouragement to equip us to do His will. I illustrate this by using the scripture of Moses and his burning bush. I have always been intrigued with this passage. I have heard or read many messages on "The Burning Bush." One of the best is by George Whitfield, in which he compares the bush to the church. It is truly a great message.
But my interest in this story has been more toward God calling and equipping His servant for a specific task. There are many parallels with Moses and today’s Christian worker. As we examine this passage we find Moses in a difficult place in his life. He has felt the call to help his kinsmen in the flesh, the Jews, but he has made some mistakes.
He tried to accomplish the work of God in the flesh and ended up killing an Egyptian and hiding his body in the sand. He fled Egypt and spent the next forty years "on the backside of the desert" in hiding. Such a scenario is enough to make most people quit on God. What a mess Moses had made of his ministry. Such was his condition, until he happened upon a certain "burning bush."
The burning bush represents the specific, personal instruction from God to his servant. We are not alone in our service for God. God wants to lead and direct us in our Christian journey. I believe that our Heavenly Father sends us "burning bush" experiences today through the preaching, teaching and study of His Word. Let us examine this scripture in that light.
I. IT IS AN EXPERIENCE OF SCRIPTURE
The most important point in this message is that God speaks to us today through His Word. We may "discern" or "feel" certain things in our hearts, but feelings and human reasoning cannot replace the scripture. Make no mistake, I do not believe in extra-biblical "experiences." God CHOSE to speak to Moses through the burning bush, but speaks to us today through scripture. (Heb. 1:1-2)
It cannot be over-emphasized that God’s people are led by scripture. Many of us may take this point for granted, but there are so many marginal Christians who believe in "mystical" experiences, dreams, or signs. Christian leaders can also fall into this trap. I know of many who are "preacher critics." They listen to a message with a critical eye to find mistakes and foibles in delivery, style, or substance. Some preachers unwittingly place themselves above the scripture itself, by not allowing someone else’s message to speak to their hearts.
We must treat each message, lesson, or study session as an opportunity for God to speak to us and direct us in our daily lives and ministry. Every experience will not be a "burning bush" experience, but we must respect the Word of God and the servant of God each time we have opportunity.
II. IT IS AN EXPERIENCE OF SOVEREIGNTY
Moses grew up in the Egyptian courts and was trained to be a leader. He had the skills and ability to be a great man in the politics of Egypt. He had a burden for his life. He wanted to be a blessing and help to his people Israel. But here he was on the backside of the desert, not fulfilling his potential as a man or as a servant of God.
But God was working in the life of Moses. I believe Moses knew that there was a wonderful plan for his life, but he knew not how to bring it to pass. He had made a mess of it in his own attempts. Notice that the burning bush experience came when he was in the "backside of the desert," that is, when he was at his farthest point from his objectives.
Moses was living his life in the best way he knew. It had been 40 years since he had made an effort to fulfill his calling. Why did God wait until this point to reveal Himself? It would seem that the last 40 years were one giant waste for Moses. But not in the plan of God. God never ceases to work out His will in His people no matter where they find themselves.
We must follow the light that we have, and wait on God to provide further light. The "burning bush" experience cannot be demanded or sought after, it is given in the sovereign will of God. God will work in us His plan and purpose in His time. It is our duty to follow God’s leadership as we discern it; it is God’s responsibility and good pleasure to give us instructions for the journey.