Everything You Need Exodus 3:1-15
In spite of his parent’s most hopeful wishes, their little son Al just did not develop as expected. He was four years old before he started to speak. He didn’t read until he was seven years old. His development was slow enough that both his parents and teachers regarded him as mentally handicapped,
slow, and antisocial. Little Al was expelled from school. When he finally was able to get through school and was admitted to a university. Though he graduated he couldn’t get a teaching position because no professor would recommend him. One professor labeled him as the laziest dog they ever had
in the university. He ended up as an entry-level position in a government patent office. Al didn’t show much promise, and one has to wonder if he didn’t believe so many of the things he had heard about himself growing up.
The main character in our text today is quite the opposite. Though Moses was born to humble beginnings as a Hebrew slave, he was raised by Pharaoh’s daughter. He had everything that he could have wanted… money, power, fame, and the promise of reigning over Egyptian Empire. But he couldn’t bear to see his own people mistreated and he killed an Egyptian guard. He fled to the desert to save his life and for 40 years he was a shepherd, married to Zipporah, serving his father in law. The memories of the Moses he used to be long faded into the past. And then one day he saw a bush on fire that wasn’t
Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb,the mountain of God. 2 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. 3 So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.” 4When 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.” 5 “Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” 6 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. 7 The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. 8 So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. 9 And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. 10 So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.” 11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” 12 And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you[b] will worship God on this mountain.” 13 Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?” 14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am.[c] This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’” 15 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 you shall call me from generation to generation. – Exodus 3:1-15, NIV
Why Choose Moses? Moses Was the Man for the Job but he didn’t believe it. Moses is the perfect person to go and lead the children of Israel out of Egypt. He was raised in Egypt, a survivor of an attempted genocide of the Hebrew people. He knew the Egyptian ways from the inside, in a way no other Hebrew could. When he walked into Pharaoh’s court, he was walking
into familiar territory. He knew what to expect and could prepare to respond
when he encountered resistance.
Moses is exactly the wrong person to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt. He rejected the ones who rescued him from the river and raised him as a son. He turned away from those who gave him everything he could have wanted to live a life of luxury / power. He was a murderer who was running from Egyptian justice. He was 40 years removed from Egypt. Perhaps
forgotten much of what he knew. Even he thought he was the wrong man for the job! The negatives outweigh the positives. That might be exactly the point.
Perhaps Moses was right – he couldn’t do it. At the burning bush we learn why Moses could be one of the greatest leaders of all time. And why we can be awesome disciples of Jesus Christ.
Burning Bush Messages
Come Near to God. God calls Moses to come near, and recognize holiness. Whenever we draw near to God, listen for His voice, we
are on holy ground. God doesn’t just want to be studied, he wants to be
followed. His holiness is the standard we always move toward.
James 4:8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
When we know God’s holiness, we desire to turn away
all sin, impurity, and temptations.
God knows us better than we know ourselves. Moses wasn’t making idle excuses, but what he believed about himself. How many of us would love to do great things for God but we are weighed down by two powerful words: “I Can’t” (shame, guilt, weakness, doubt, struggles, pain). Moses didn’t tell God anything new. But God kept countering his excuses with truth. God wasn’t going to let Moses off the hook because he knew something Moses didn’t seem to perceive yet.
Moses couldn’t do it, but God Can. When God told Moses that his name was I AM, he was affirming his total control and power in the situation.
– The past – I AM has always been.
– The present – I AM is the here and now.
– The future – I AM is not going anywhere.
The Great I Am is still empowering the multitude of those who trust Him.
Our past, the condition of this world, the work of the enemy … all of it beats us up and makes us think that what we are doing is not very important, that God couldn’t use us to do anything vital or meaningful. Don’t forget the burning bush! Come Near to God; God knows you well; and God Can. We follow Jesus Christ, the son of God.
John 8:58 “Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!”
When we come to the cross and trust in Christ to save us, we have the same power to make a difference that Moses did. Do you know who in your life might be in bondage to sin, unable to escape, and God has heard them… and wants to send you as an agent of deliverance?
Too many of us are like little Al. He was so slow to develop, so unimpressive to his professors, and ended up at such a lowly job. But that’s not the end of Al’s story. “I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.” “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” Al was anything but stupid. In 1921 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics and Albert Einstein’s name is equated with genius even today.
When you wonder if you can make a difference, pay less attention to your own self-objections and more attention to the presence of God that goes with you. Look inside and thank God for what He has done through a broken vessel. When you think that the work of the kingdom is about you, remember it is about I AM. When you have God with you, you have everything you need.
LifeGroup Discussion Questions
1. Is there anyone in the group who hasn’t seen the entire film of Cecil B. DeMille’s The Ten Commandments? Is there anyone in the room who might have seen this film in a movie theater? Below is a YouTube movie snip of the scene with the burning bush. If possible, watch as a group. One trivial note is that no one knows who the voice of God is that comes from the burning bush in this movie, although Demille and Heston both claimed it was them. What scene from this epic movie is the one you remember the most?
2. When God mentions that he is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, that may have made Moses feel better about his own failures. What ‘fail’ stories can you recall about those patriarchs? Why didn’t those cause them to be rejected by God?
3. Why do you think sometimes we allow our own spiritual failures of the past keep us from being active in following God in the present? If you have been able to overcome this, would you share with the group how that happened.
4. Who are some of the characters of the Bible who got a second chance at living a life of faith after a failure? What can we learn about following God from these examples?
5. When Moses first encountered God it was because he saw the burning bush. What kinds of things do you see in your life, in our culture, in the marketplace, at your workplace … that remind you that God is near and is at work?
6. At the burning bush Moses is told to take off his shoes because it is holy ground. When you consider your prayer / devotional life … is there any place you consider to be holy… the place where you encounter God? What does that place look like or what is it about that place that give it special meaning for you? For example, some people light a candle in their place of prayer to remind them that God is present.
7. The Hebrew people were enslaved for 400 years. In our text God notices and hears their cries. What does this say to you about suffering, God’s intervention, and how God acts in today’s world?
8. When the Hebrew writer reflects on the life of Moses in Hebrews 11:24-26, what qualities do you see in him that can be admired and used as an example in your life?