Summary: A look at four things about God’s call to Moses to service.
A Study of the Life of Moses
Sermon # 4
“The God of the Second Chance!”
Dr. John R. Hamby
Moses had seen the suffering of the people and he knew that he was to be the deliverer but he was impulsive. He got ahead of God, he developed his own plan and his own timetable. The end result was that he killed an Egyptian taskmaster and was forced to flee for his life. He has now spent the last forty years in “God’s School of The Desert.” Moses after his major life-altering failure and all those years of obscurity in the desert that followed must have felt completely unusable by God.
In forty years in Egypt Moses had learned the skills of worldly leadership, how to be a leader of men. In “God’s School of the Desert” he had for forty years been taught the qualities of spiritual leadership: patience, maturity and sensitivity in listening to the voice of God. His forty year stay in the desert was not wasted. Moses had some rough edges in his life which had to be dealt with – such as his arrogance and quick temper. God was ready to move in Moses life – just as he may well be in our lives – to prepare us for some new sphere of service and usefulness.
We have all been guilty of some tragic blunders of moving out ahead of God. It is good to know that people are more important to God than programs. God is going to pick Moses up right where he left off with him, and put him back into his original place he had for him. When God wants us to go through a new door the first thing he does is get our attention.
In Exodus 3:1 we read, “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.”
Moses discovered that God is even as the King James Version says, on the “back side of the desert.” The “mountain of God” (3:1) called Horeb here is the same mountain called Sinai later, they are but two names for the same mountain. This mountain became the mountain of God because God was there. Not because of the significance of the place but because of who was there. Notice with me this morning four things about God’s call.
God Often Shows Up In Unexpected Ways v. 1
“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.”
The specific call of Moses to the task of leadership came by means of “the Angel of the LORD” ( v. 2), which in fact was an appearance of the LORD himself.
The bush is just your basic desert scrub bush, just like countless others dotting the landscape. The Hebrew word that is used here names it “a thorny shrub.” The bush was not different or remarkable, but what was happening to it certainly was different and remarkable.
According to verse two Moses did two things, first he “looked” and second, he said something to himself. The bush was not strange but the fire was. It kept blazing and did not die down.
It is fascinating to read the many explanations offered by various writers to explain what happened; as various kinds of berries, angles of sunlight, or appearances of sunlight on colorful leaves, to create the “illusion” of a burning bush. What seems to be clear is that what Moses saw was on fire but it did not burn up. The event must have been out of the ordinary, because the reader is told that Moses turned aside to examine this more closely (v. 3).
Have you ever stopped to wonder if perhaps God had been trying for some time in less dramatic ways to get Moses’ attention, to get him to break his routine long enough to listen. There was a sign posted on the old Alaskan Highway which many of us in the Vilonia Metroplex, who live on dirt roads can identify with in the winter. The sign read, “Be careful which rut you choose because you’ll be in it for the next hundred miles.” Life is like that we get use to things, we develop our habits and routines. Perhaps God had been trying for some time to get Moses’ attention in the desert. I wonder how long He tries to get our attention.
God Often Shows Up When We Are Engaged in the Ordinary Things of Life.
What happened to Moses, happened on a seemingly ordinary day. One just like the over 14,000 days he had lived in the desert. Moses had settled down and perhaps come to terms with the idea that he would never the deliverer of his people. Day in and day out he carried out his duties as a shepherd and as a father and husband. Moses had now been doing the same thing for 40 years, it is highly improbable that believed that anything was going to change. But that is reckoning without God!