Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Burning Bush

From Monday to Tuesday afternoon I went on a 'silent retreat' with a few folks from my church.  It was a blessing to be able to spend time alone with God in a beautiful setting.

On Monday evening I found out that the stone fireplace was powered by gas and could be turned on and off with a simple wall switch.  It was a cool evening so I spent as long as I could sitting in front of that fire wrapped in a blanket.  I have always loved fires but since we have neither a fireplace nor a fire pit I usually don't get to sit by one more than once or twice a year.  And I don't think I've ever sat in front of a fire all alone--ever.  This was my idea of heaven.

As I watched those logs I couldn't stop thinking of Moses and the bush that 'burned but was not consumed'.  So I spent some extended time studying Exodus  chapters 3 & 4.  Here are my thoughts--

3:2,3--Moses saw the bush and then went to look at it further--God, when I see You at work I want to stop and take a closer look.  How many times could I have missed hearing your voice because I didn't stop and pay attention?

3:4--When God saw Moses stop to look, THEN God spoke to him.  God called him by name.  When has God personally called my name?  And moses made himself vulnerable by saying, "Here I am."  He didn't hide, though he didn't realize Who was speaking.

3:5--God warns him not to come close and to take off his shoes.  What is God telling me to take off in the presence of His holiness?  God identifies himself as the God of his father.  Where is my spiritual identity?  When he knew he was before God, then Moses hid his face in fear.  How am I afraid to really see God?  Am I afraid to see Him in the people around me?  Am I afraid of that responsibility?

3:7--God sees the misery;  God hears the crying out;  He is concerned.  I know God does the same for misery and injustice in our world today.

3:8--so He comes to rescue and bring them out into a good and spacious land.  How is God rescuing me?  What land does He want to bring me to?

3:10--GO--I am sending you.  Where is God sending me?  Is Operation Christmas Child all of His sending?  Am I missing any other calling?  How is God sending me to my family?

3:11--Moses said, "Who am I?"  I feel this way about my lack of leadership skills.

3:12--God said, "I will be with you," but Moses wouldn't get that confirmation until the job was done.  He had to trust God to keep His promises.  I will know that God has done it on September 29th when the Operation Christmas Child packing party is over but until then I have to trust Him to make it happen.

3:13-20--God tells Moses to use His name--the Lord.  God's name holds great power.  He also gave Moses a plan--Moses should give God's word to the elders and the elders should go with him to the king of Egypt.  Then God would use His mighty wonders to get the people released.  God had a plan and support for Moses; he just had to follow.

3:21,22--God would give them the wealth of their captors as they would "plunder the Egyptians."  How is God allowing me to harvest the riches of my society?  God had a plan to provide all they would need.  They didn't need to DO anything.

Moses' Concerns (and mine, too)--
1)  Who am I?  (how does God see me?)
2)  Who are You?  (how do I see God?)
3)  Who are they?  (who is on my team and will they believe me?)
4)  Who made me?  (is God really in control?)

4:29,30--Moses spread the vision to the elders and they believed and worshiped God.

5:1--only Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and not the elders?  Why?

Moses' Denial -- please send someone else-- brought on God's anger
So God gave him Aaron (plan B) but there were consequences for Moses' lack of trust and obedience.  This may have denied Moses the chance to enter the Promised Land.  God, are there ways where I'm not following Your plan?  What consequences have come in my life because I didn't follow Your leading?

Moses didn't get to enter the Promised Land on earth but he did get into the eternal Promised Land in heaven.  Nothing can ever separate me from God's love eternally.

As I continued to watch that fire I thought of other biblical references like the refiner's fire to burn off the dross of sin in my life, and letting my light shine instead of hiding it under a bushel...

But most of all I thought of that switch on the wall that started and stopped the fire.  God, I'm trusting Your promise to "work in me to will and to do Your good pleasure."  Please keep that switch turned on.

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