Monday, February 27, 2017
“Forty years later, in the desert near Mount Sinai, an angel appeared to Moses in the flame of a burning bush. When Moses saw it, he was amazed at the sight. As he went to take a closer look, the voice of the Lord called out to him, ‘I am the God of your ancestors—the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.’ Moses shook with terror and did not dare to look. “Then the Lord said to him, ‘Take off your sandals, for you are standing on holy ground. I have certainly seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their groans and have come down to rescue them. Now go, for I am sending you back to Egypt.’ Acts 7:30-34(NLT)
A pastor usually talks to a lot of people about such things as burning bushes. In more than a few conversations over the years I’ve heard a statement such as: If only I knew exactly what the Lord wants from me, I’d do it in a heartbeat.
The pure fact about that kind of statement is that most people want God to be very clear with them, but the reason God never seems to give that clarity is because they have no intention of obeying if God says: You’re going back to Egypt.
Moses had made a mess of his life back in Egypt. He had a burning desire for his people, but went about things the wrong way, heavy-handed, brutal, even murder! Now, with Yahweh speaking plainly from the miraculous bush that wouldn’t be consumed by fire, Moses hears he is being sent back to the place of humiliation, his worst defeat, and all he can do is come up with excuses.
Have you been there? Done that?
The problem with going back to Egypt is that there’s always somebody there who knows what you were like back then. It’s always someone who changed your diapers, or cleaned up your teenage mess. Going back to Egypt was the last thing on Moses’ mind; he’d learned to love this quiet life tending sheep in Midian. He had a life now; the past was where it should be…way back in memory land.
But God said it without stuttering; I’m sending you back to Egypt…now go!
Ouch! Who wants to go back to the worst memory and do it all over again?
Now, if the story ended there I doubt there would be much inspiration for any of us to pick up and go back to Egypt. But we know how it turned out for Moses, and therein is our burning bush witness. God was true to His word, and backed up everything he said he would do. We can read what happened with Moses; God was faithful.
The God who spoke to Moses back then is still speaking today. God’s willingness to speak has never been the problem…and still isn’t; for us the main problem is that we stand like Moses, with the rest of our story unwritten as yet. We stand fearful and full of excuses like the man in the New Testament parable of talents. His buddies received small fortunes to manage, but the man who’d received the least responsibility was fearful of the owner’s power over him, so he hid what he’d been given in a hole in the ground. He did nothing with the reality the burning bush put in his hands.
And at the day of accounting all the man could say to the owner was: Here, I didn’t lose what you gave me…it is unchanged…you can have it back. Can anyone doubt that the owner had something different in mind?
What does God have in mind for that which He’s entrusted to you? Has He ever called your name from the bush? Has He ever mentioned going back to Egypt?