Friday, September 15, 2006

Exodus 3

Exodus 3: Moses and the Burning Bush—Part 1


Moses is now living in Midian, with his new wife, and tending sheep for his father-in-law. In this chapter, he brings the sheep near Horeb, “the mountain of God” (verse 1), and the angel of the LORD appears to him.

There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.”

When the LORD saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!”

And Moses said, “Here I am.”

“Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” Then he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.

(verses 2–6)

God tells Moses that He has seen the plight of His people, in Egypt, and that He is sending Moses to tell Pharaoh to bring the Israelites out of Egypt. Moses, however, isn’t sure about this plan. In fact, he has a few objections, each of which is answered by the LORD.

Moses’ first concern: he’s a nobody. Why should the Pharaoh listen to him? God’s answer: God will be with Moses.

His next concern: what if Moses goes to the Israelites, and tells them that he’s been sent by God, but they ask for God’s name? What should he tell them? God’s answer:

God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”

God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, the name by which I am to be remembered from generation to generation.

“Go, assemble the elders of Israel and say to them, ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—appeared to me and said: I have watched over you and have seen what has been done to you in Egypt. And I have promised to bring you up out of your misery in Egypt into the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites—a land flowing with milk and honey.’”

(verses 14–17)
The chapter finishes off with God giving Moses instructions: he is to go to the Pharaoh, and tell him that the Israelites want to take a three day journey into the desert, to offer sacrifices to the LORD. God knows, however, that the Pharaoh will say no, which will give Him an opportunity to “stretch out [His] hand and strike the Egyptians with all the wonders that [He] will perform among them” (verse 20).

God also tells Moses (in verses 21–22) that when the Israelites finally leave Egypt, He will make the Egyptians “favourably disposed” toward them, and when they leave, they’re to ask the Egyptians for gifts.


I mentioned at the beginning that Moses had “a few” concerns, but I only mentioned two, here. In the next chapter, he will continue to raise objections to God’s plan, until he finally gives in and agrees to do it.

I decided, however, to break the “Burning Bush” story into multiple pieces—probably still chapter-by-chapter—since I’m getting so long-winded about it. I’m not 100% sure if it was the right decision, however, because whenever I do Bible studies about this, I like to have all of Moses’ objections in one piece, for effect.

Oh well, too late now. I’ve already clicked Submit.

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