This week we move into the book of Exodus. Years have passed since the closing of Genesis. The people of God have grown in number, but they now find themselves enslaved to the Egyptians. As they continued to grow in number, the Egyptian enslavement also gave way to further oppression. Unfolding Grace further sets the scene from there:
"Weighed down with heavy burdens, God’s people cried out to the Lord. How would He fulfill His promises? How would He show Himself to be the faithful God who is with and for His people?
As we find the answers to these questions in the exodus story, we learn that what God does for Israel sets a pattern for a greater rescue to come. As God works to deliver Israel from slavery in Egypt, He is providing a picture of how He will one day rescue people from the deepest of problems — the power of Satan, the grip of sin, and the punishment of death.”
Wednesday, February 17th
Larger Portion of Scripture - Exodus 1-3
Reflecting on the Text:
Either out loud or to yourself, have you ever said something along the lines of, “I’m not doing that unless I see a burning bush!” I have, and I’m guessing you have at least thought it. But what did we mean?
It probably began when we were faced with a task we didn’t want to do. In our minds we thought, I need some kind of sign…some kind of authenticating mark so I will know that I am supposed to do this. That's how most of us understand Exodus 3. And while on many fronts the LORD is doing just that, authenticating His call on Moses’ life, I believe there is more at play in this chapter. The LORD is revealing Himself to Moses, through His presence and His Word, strengthening and instructing him for the task at hand.
So what does this picture tells us about the person of God? Our God is an all-consuming fire, who, rather than consuming, preserves His own. He is holy and unapproachable unless of course, He provides the means for our approach. And we will see His presence in the form of the fiery flame throughout Exodus. Often the fire will guide the people of Israel. Always it will impart a sense of awe and wonder…fear.
But Exodus 3 gives us more than simply a picture of the LORD. It gives us His Word. Here the LORD tells Moses His name. I AM. The Hebrew is YHWH or Yahweh. To our ears, it seems like an odd name. But it is the LORD’s self-given name, and through His name, He tells us something of His being. The LORD is ever-present. He is self-existent, depending on no-one else. He is never changing, ever consistent with His eternal purpose and character. And He is the God who covenants with His people.
Notice the reminder in verse 15, “The LORD (YHWH), the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.” (Note that in most English translations, the LORD, spelled with all capital letters is used to translate Yahweh.) This name is the name by which His own people are to know Him. His name emphasizes familial and covenantal intimacy. He is with His people and He is for His people.
So yes, the whole scene including the burning bush was meant to encourage Moses and strengthen him for the task, but it was not merely meant to be an odd sight to get his attention. It was a picture of the person of the LORD. The LORD revealed Himself there to Moses so Moses could act on this revelation on behalf of the people of God.
This means we do have a burning bush. Our burning bush doesn’t serve as a marker at the fork in the road telling us which way to turn. Our burning bush is the Word of God which throughout points us to the holiness of God. It points us to our God. Let us approach Him with reverence and awe. Let us approach Him with confidence through Jesus Christ.
Questions for personal reflection:
Have you considered that the Word of God is your burning bush?
How does this realization change the way you approach your time in the Word?