Summary: Using Exodus three we see that his blackberry bush - 1. Becomes God's Dwelling Place. 2. Becomes God's mouthpiece 3. Becomes God's place of purity and transformation and 4. Becomes God's Everlasting Witness
Without the Fire it is just a bush
Scripture: Exodus 3:1-12
Title Without God's Fire, It's only a Bush
Good morning and welcome in the name of Jesus, Our Savior and LORD.
This morning, I would like for us to ponder on a very simple, yet very powerful thought that has to do with our passage of scripture. It is this:
Without God's Fire it's only a Thorn Bush.
Without God's Fire it is only a Rubus Sanctus - a thorn bush that has red berries that turn black. (http://www.jewishnaturecenter.org/html/burning_bush.html).
Without God's Fire, it is simply a blackberry bush and around here we have all seen plenty of blackberry bushes. Exodus chapter three shares with us that it was just a regular old thorn bush, one among hundreds that would have lived in the area where Moses fed his flocks of sheep and goats.
No doubt, Moses had seen this same thorn bush many times. For 40 years, this area had been one of the places that he and his father-in-law, Jethro, had used to tend their flocks. The place had provided enough water and vegetation for the sheep and goats to eat and be nourished.
We can be pretty confident that after using this area for some forty years, Moses probably knew every rock, every tree and every bush around the place. But the day that Exodus 3 refers to proved to be a rather unusual day. That day, the bush which from a distant could have been covered in red berries looked vastly different. It wasn't the red berries that caught Moses' eye, it was the fire that was engulfing the bush. There was something about that fire that drew Moses to go and examine it.
Now, Moses had seen fire before, after all he had lived in Egypt as well as the desert and both places used fire to cook food, to provide heat, to purify, and cleanse things. A day did not go by without people of his time seeing or using fire. And it wasn't unusual for there to be an occasional fire in the desert area, it was just a part of the natural ecosystem.
So, it wasn't the sight of fire that caught his attention. It was the fact that the bush was not burning up. It was the fact that the fire was not consuming the bush. Moses could see the flames and the smoke but the bush remained green and healthy. This was something that Moses or anyone for that matter would have taken the time to go and check out. How many times have you seen a blackberry bush on fire?
This morning, we want to focus on what made that blackberry bush different. It wasn't because of its shape or size. It was because of the presence of God's Fire that made it different. And that is what we want to focus on this morning. For without God's Fire it's only a Thorn Bush. Without God's fire it is only one black berry bush among a dozen black berry bushes. But with God's Fire let's see what it becomes and what spiritual truths it shares with us this morning:
I. With God's Fire the Bush became God's Dwelling Place
No sooner had Moses got within a few feet of that bush and he began to hear a voice. Again, the man was use to hearing voices. After all, he had a father-in-law, a wife, some children and a whole bunch of sheep and goats. His life was full of all kinds of voices and noise. It wasn't like he was a monk who had taken a vow of silence.
This voice, however, was not coming from the sheep or from a family member, it was coming directly out of the fire that was engulfing the bush. Now, it is vital that we understand something very important right here. The fire did not originate with the bush. In other words, the fire did not naturally start from the dryness of the bush. Rather, we need to understand that the fire came to the bush and rested on it. The fire, God's Presence came and rested upon the blackberry bush. Had it just been a regular fire, the bush would soon have been consumed and all Moses would have soon witnessed was a pile of ashes and he would have heard no voice.
Instead, our writer wants us to understand that the fire was God Himself. God had come down to earth in the form of fire and was inhabiting this bush to talk to Moses. God was using the blackberry bush as a dwelling place.
Before there was the Tabernacle or the Temple, there was a Thorn bush. The LORD is not limited by the size, or the shape, or the substance of the place or object He desires to dwell. God can just as easy dwell between the angels on the ark of the covenant as He can between the thorns of a blackberry bush. God's Presence, God's Essence and His Fire can dwell anywhere and everywhere He desires.