Summary: This sermon shows us one of the many God-encounters where a man’s life was radically changed for ever.
November 3, 2002 – Covington, IN
The Fire of God
This is one of those passages that stir and provoke us in our pursuit of God. It’s one of the many God encounters we find in the Word, where God visits in a unique way – in a brief moment in time – that changes and transforms the life of Moses forever.
For Moses this was an ordinary day, He’d been in Midian 40 years faithfully tending the flock of Jethro. I’m sure he was expecting the day to be the same as any other day, but this day was different…
Ø The ordinary became the extraordinary
Ø The usual became the unusual
Ø The normality of life was replaced by the suddenlies by God
Ø And His direction in life, his attitude towards God, his purpose for living changed the moment God came down like an eternal flame.
The years of the life of Moses are remarkably divided into three forties: the first forty he spent as a prince in Pharaoh’s court, the second a shepherd in Midian, the third as leader of the Israelites. He had now finished his second forty, when he received his commission to bring Israel out of Egypt. Note: Sometimes it is long before God calls his servants to that work which was ordained for them before the foundation of the world. Moses was born to be Israel’s deliverer, and yet not a word is said of it to him till he is eighty years of age.
Keeping the Flock (v. 1)
Ø God requires faithfulness – When God appeared to him, he found him tending sheep near Mt. Horeb (Sinai). This was a poor employment for a man of his education and yet he finds contentment with it. But just like Moses was faithful to his responsibilities, the Shepherd’s were keeping their flocks when they received the tidings of our Savior’s birth (Lk. 2:8). Satan loves to find us idle; God is well pleased when he finds us employed in His service.
Ø Spiritual Retirement – Moses is a good example to those who feel you’ve been on the back side of the desert and it has been a long time since you’ve felt anything or heard anything from the Lord. In God’s time, as long as you stay faithful to your responsibilities, He will fit you into His plan and purpose in His own time and in His own way. If you feel like you’ve been put in spiritual retirement, I have a word for you. Moses saw more in a desert than he ever saw in Pharaoh’s court. So, stay faithful where you are.
The Burning Bush (v. 2)
While Moses was busy about his task of tending the sheep, he looks over and sees a bush that is
burning. This was a theophany, a visible presence of God Himself. This was more than a phenomenon; it was an extraordinary manifestation of the divine presence of God.
It was the last place Moses expected to meet God, this was the middle of the desert, it was barren, it was lifeless, nothing happens in the backside of the desert until the creator of heaven and earth, the one who holds all things in the palm of his hands, the one who doesn’t know limitation. The one who has never known the word impossible – when he comes down, then
Moses’ Curiosity (v. 3)
“Amazing,” Moses said to himself, “I must go over to see this.” NLT
God Spoke (v. 4)
“When the Lord saw that he had caught Moses’ attention, God called to him from the bush, Moses, Moses” (NLT). There is an important principle here that we can’t afford to miss and that is, as we turn to see God, He will surely speak to us. If he had carelessly neglected this as a deceiving meteor, a thing not worth taking notice of, it is probable that God would have departed,
and said nothing to him; but when he turned aside, God spoke to him.
Holy Ground (v. 5)
“Take off your sandals, for you are standing on holy ground” (NLT). The putting off the shoe was then what the putting off the hat is now, a token of respect and submission. The ground is holy ground, made so by this special manifestation of the divine presence of God. We ought to approach God with a solemn pause and preparation; and to express our inward reverence, by a reverent behavior in the worship of God, carefully avoiding everything that is connected with sin.
And for Moses everything changes at this point in time because his encounter with God is a revelation of God himself, the God that he sees and encounters for the first time can only be described as a God of fire.