Summary: Sermon three of twenty that takes us through the life of Moses, scene by scene. Here Moses tries to argue God out of calling him to face Egypt and free His people/

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Ex. 3:1-4:17

C. The Salvation (3:1-15:21)

1. The Call (3:1-4:17)

Up until now God had dealt primarily with individuals, the descendants of Abraham. Now with a delivered Israel he was going to build, deal with and work through His nation, His people, or as we would say, His CHURCH. This then is the first call to FULLTIME SERVICE as a church’s leader or pastor, in the Bible.

The angel of the Lord, speaks verbally to Moses, out of a burning bush that caught Moses’ attention forty years after his flight. Moses was 80 years old and keeping his father-in-law Jethro’s sheep. The one time heir to Egypt’s throne didn’t even have his own sheep.

The “Be Nothing” degree was his but it seems to have worked too well. Moses, when called to deliver Egypt, said, “Get somebody else. I can’t do it.” The man who once dared take on all of Egypt single handedly had lost all faith in himself. And that meant he was ready to be used by God because he would not look not to himself but to God. We have three scenes before us.


1. The Stranger (2:14-22).

Moses, even after he ran to Midian, the region around Sinai, still had the heart of a soldier. Sitting by a well he rescued the seven daughters of a priest from some rough shepherds. The grateful father gave him one of his daughters, Zipporah, as his wife. Moses had a home and family, but he had the heart of a sad man. When God gave them a son he named him Gershom - ALIEN and said, “I have become an alien in a foreign land” (2:23).

Application: Moses still stood for what was good and right even by a well. But where did it get him? He was no doubt disappointed with God for not helping him, or with himself for thinking God wanted to use him to deliver Israel. Either way, he felt like a stranger in a strange land - a man without a country and, worse, a man without a purpose in life.

2. The Sorrow (2:23-25).

After the birth of Gershom, the Bible jumps forward forty years and says, “The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out and their cry. . .went up to God. God heard them groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob. So God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them” (2:23-25). I love the phrase “heard their groaning.”

Those who turned from their idols, feeling ashamed to pray and not knowing what to say were heard. Those who had faithfully served God and wondered why He had not helped them and did not know what else to say were heard.

That’s why Paul, who knew this kind of wordless praying, said “. . .when we don’t know what to pray for, the Spirit prays for us in ways that cannot be put into words” (Rom. 8:26, CEV). It didn’t look like God cared or heard, but 300 miles away, the answer was on the way.

3. The Shepherd (3:1).

On the bleak land, “the far side of the desert” (3:1), near Mt. Sinai, where God would one day come and live with His people (Ex. 19-40), an eighty year old Moses is keeping his father-in-law’s sheep. He doesn’t even have his own sheep. If ever a man seems to be put on the shelf and be of no use to God or man, it is Moses. But we never know when God is about to show. On the far side of the desert we have. . .

4. The Sight (3:2-6)

Moses saw the strangest sight he had ever seen. A desert bush was ablaze. Why? Who set it? But stranger still, it didn’t burn up. Like a torch, loaded with fuel, it just kept on burning. Moses, like you and me, walked over to get a closer look. Then the “angel of the Lord” who had called down fire on Sodom (Gen. 19) and wrestled with Jacob (Gen. 31:13) cried, Moses! Moses! And Moses said, “Here I am” (3:4). The voice told him not to come any closer and to take his shoes off for he was on holy ground. Then God identified himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (3:5-6). And Moses hid his face and was afraid to look at God.

5. The Significance.

What does this signify to you and to me? What does a burning bush that stands on holy ground, that points to God and won’t be consumed symbolize?

1) God’s Person. How shall we picture God? Put away your pictures and your idols. The Bible uses “glory” and “light” and “life” and “fire.” Fire speaks of God’s purity, of God’s power, of God’s protection, of God’s provisions and of God’s punishment.

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