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Beware The Burning Bush

Moses knew he was created to be the deliverer of God’s people – he felt it in his soul. His heart burned with justice when he saw the Egyptian beating his Hebrew brother. His action in killing the Egyptian came out of his created potential, but it obviously was not the full form of that potential. Likewise, when he tried to mediate a dispute between two Hebrews – he was walking out his purpose as mediator and judge, but imperfectly.

When one of those Hebrews called him out on the imperfect execution of his purpose, he runs not only from the wrath of Pharaoh, but from his own purpose, design and calling. He attempts to leave it all behind and fade into obscurity in Midian.

This time in Midian spent on the run was not in vain, for the Lord wastes nothing. He is big enough to weave even the most severe disobedience into His purpose. But Moses did his best to live out Plan B. He gets married, finds a job has a son and starts just living life.

And then he leads his sheep to the far side of Horeb – Mt. Sinai – the mountain of God. And there he sees a bush ablaze, but not burned up. And he is intrigued, goes to check it out. He marvels at this sight – until he finds out who it is. As soon as God introduces Himself, Moses hides his face because he is afraid to look at God. His relationship with God was such that Moses’ first response is one of fear. If you think this is just an OT paradigm of reverence or awe, I would challenge you to look at Moses’ later relationship with God – face glowing (Ex. 34:35), friend of God (Ex. 33:11), asking to see God’s face (Ex. 33:18). At this point, confronted with the burning bush, Moses does not really know his God.

So then God unveils His plan to use Moses to rescue the Israelites. Moses’ response is, “You’ve got the wrong guy.” In fact he goes so far as to say, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” At this point, Moses has even forgotten who he is and what he has been made to do.

Moses was so far off track, out in the desert of Midian that God had to dramatically intervene with a burning bush. Moses had so lost touch with his own identity and purpose and with the God that knit him together with that purpose that it took a literal “act of God” to get his attention! How many times before He unleashed the burning bush did God try to get Moses’ attention? We don’t know, but I’m willing to bet quite a lot.

Moses was on the run, doing his own thing, trying to live out Plan B when God broke in with a burning bush. That’s not where I want to be in my relationship with God. I don’t want it to take a burning bush experience for God to get my attention and set me back into my created purpose. That’s the kind of experience people have who are way off course. I know there are lots of believers – and I have been one of them more than once –  who are waiting for one of these moments, but it’s a 2×4 upside the head moment! The life laid down and sold out is not found in Midian. Midian is where you live out your Plan B.

What God desires is a relationship with us that is so close and intimate – where we know His voice so well – that He can whisper, “Go this direction” and we do it! So how do we get to that place of knowing our purpose and walking it out? It really comes down to  three things:

  1. Have an intimate relationship with the Lord – not just the “I read my Bible chapter today” kind, but the daily, hourly getting to know the voice of God type
  2. Discovering your created potential and removing those things in your heart that hinder that potential
  3. Keep moving forward in whatever ways you are able to walk in that created purpose until God gives you opportunity to walk in the fullness of it

Don’t let your walk with the Lord and your walking out of your purpose get so far off track that it takes a burning bush to get you back on course.

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