Saturday, March 13, 2010

What Is Your Burning Bush?

Some of my most favorite Old Testament stories are those that took place during the life of Moses. From the time he was placed in the Nile River in order to save his life, to the time he passed away are hundreds of lessons and insights that we can learn from.

One of those favorite stories is the burning bush. 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 desert and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 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 (Exodus 3:1-2). It may seem difficult to understand how the story of the burning bush could apply to our lives. However, I believe that every one of us have a burning bush. The burning bush represents the calling that God has on our lives.

God may not be calling to us through the hedge in our front yard but He is calling to us all the same. He has a plan for every single one of us. God is looking for a response. When Moses saw the burning bush and heard a strange voice calling his name, he could have easily run away. That’s probably what I would have done had my bush called out to me. But instead Moses responded, “Here I am.” Here I am. There is a song called “Here I Am” that has some amazing lyrics:

Sometimes Your calling comes in dreams
Sometimes it comes in the Spirit’s breeze
You reach for the deepest hope in me
And call out for the things of eternity.

But I’m a man of dust and stains
You move in me so I can say

Here I am, Lord send me
All of my life, I make an offering
Here I am, Lord send me
Somehow my story is a part of Your plan
Here I am

Just as the calling God has on our lives is unique, so is the way that we will discover it. God works in some amazing ways. But sometimes God also works in the simplest ways. In fact, too often we are looking for the experience. We want the experience of having something amazing happen…like a fiery bush with the voice of God booming from within it. In search of the experience, we miss out on hearing God’s voice in the simple, ordinary ways of life.

The second verse in the song “Here I Am” says:

When setbacks and failures, and upset plans
Test my faith and leave me with empty hands
Are You not the closest when its hard to stand?
I know that You will finish what You began

Moses had an interesting beginning. He should have been killed along with all the other Israelite boys that had been slaughtered. Pharaoh ordered the killing of the slaves’ baby boys but Moses’ mother had another plan. She risked her life, the life of her husband and children and Moses when she put him into a basket and sent him down the Nile River. Even sending him into the river was risky because of crocodiles. But God would finish what He had begun in the life of Moses.

The final verse of the song “Here I Am” goes this way:

Overwhelmed by the thought of my weakness
And the fear that I’ll fail You in the end
In this mess I’m just one of the pieces
I can’t put this together but You can

Keep in mind that Moses’ burning bush experience was during a weak moment in his life. Up until then he had been running from everything. He had run from the life he was born into, as an Israelite slave. He had killed an Egyptian and ran to save his life from punishment. He had run from his upbringing as an Egyptian prince. He ran from his home and everyone he knew.

He was not at some high point in his life when God spoke to him through the burning bush. We sometimes get that wrong, too. We think that we have to be in a specific place in life, on top of things and already prepared for what God has. Most often God chooses us when we are least prepared. This song reminds me so much of Moses and the burning bush. He would eventually realize that although he was overwhelmed by the thought of his weakness…although he was terrified of failing God…although he was just one piece in a big pile of mess…he knew that in the end it would be God who would put it all together and make it work.

There is really so much more to this burning bush story that I could go on. So I will leave you with this for now…but next week I will continue with the lessons that can be learned from the story of the burning bush. Now think about it…what is your burning bush?

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