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.
Now, the Israelite might have felt that God had forgotten them. That He had abandoned them, forsaken them. If He had not, why would they be in this condition in Egypt. But God did not neglect them. He had not forsaken them. He had not abandoned them. He was there to tend to their needs. God knows His people. He knows their circumstances. He knows what they’re going through. God says, “I have seen their affliction. I haven’t had my eyes closed. I haven’t been asleep. I didn’t die. I’ve heard their cry. I’ve seen their oppression. I know what they’re going through, and I care, and I’m going to do something about it.” - Exodus 3:7
In verse 8, God talks about His purpose and His intention for making Himself known at this period in His people’s history. “So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites.” (Ex. 3: 8).
God is saying, “I have come down for a reason. I have seen. I know. I have heard. I know what you are going through, but I have come down to deliver you. I have come down to save you. I have come down to rescue you.” This is the good news found in all the Scriptures: God has come down to deliver, to rescue, to save His people from their oppression.
So God reveals to Moses, “I have a purpose, a plan for My people. I’ve come down to deliver them out of Egypt, out of their bondage, out of their slavery, and I’ve come to bring them into a good land.” God does not JUST save us out of our sin. He does not JUST save us out of the domain of darkness. He wants to take us to a good land, the land of light, the land of grace, the land of His mercy.
Now, God could have directly went down to Egypt and wiped out the Pharaoh and the Egyptians to set His people free. He could have transported the Israelite to the Promised Land. He did not have to go through all the ten plagues. He did not have to go through the Red Sea. God did not have to go through all this drama and trouble. He could have supernaturally set His people free in a moment.
But God came to the wilderness in Midian and reached out to Moses, looking for someone that could accomplish God’s purpose and plan. Understand, God works through people. Yes, God could, just in a moment, save you from all your troubles, but He wants to use you as part of that process
In verse 10, we read God’s commissioning of Moses. God says in verse 10, “Come now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.”
God was looking for a leader, and He wanted Moses. But, Moses must be willing to leave this safe place, and go back to the place that he ran away from forty years ago.
Of course, at this moment, Moses’ head was spinning. When we look at verses 11–13, we see Moses’ many objections. “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” (v. 11).
God says in verse 12, “He said, “I will certainly be with you. And this shall be a sign to you that I have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.”
God wants you to know, it does not matter who you are. What matters is who I am, and I will be with you.
The Lord sent His Son to rescue you, to deliver you and me from our sins. He came to bring us into a good land. And He wants to use you to help others find deliverance and rescue in Christ. And you might feel ill-prepared, or “This is a bigger job than I could possibly do.” There might be a situation in your life where you want to represent Christ, but you say, “Who am I?”
God wants you to know, “It’s not, ‘Who you are? It’s who am I.” And the Great I AM is He who will watch over you today, tomorrow, and forever more. He will be with you. You just need to give Him your full attention. Amen.