Scripture Reading: Exodus 3:1-22, Exodus 4:1-31, Joshua 5:13-15, Matthew 22:23-33
I’ve never seen a burning bush, but I know how it feels to hide my face.
Acceptance of the mission God had for Moses would mean leaving the life he had spent four decades building, facing the maniacal ruler of the most powerful nation in the world, fleeing again with only the clothes on his back and a nation to care for, and then leading the most miserable, insufferable group imaginable on a forty-year road trip through an unforgiving desert.
My calling may not be of Mosaic or burning-bush proportions, but what God asks of me, and of you, isn’t altogether different from what He required of Moses.
We are called to speak the truth in love, even to those who disrespect and disagree with us (Ephesians 4:15, 25). We are called to help lead people away from their slavery to sin and toward the Promised Land of freedom found in Christ (Matthew 28:19–20). We are called to run toward, not away from, pockets of suffering and hold high the staff of hope (Galatians 6:2).
This all sounds exciting in theory, but when the opportunity arises, our gut reaction is often the same as Moses’ response. We turn away from the call, begging, “Please, Lord, send someone else” (Exodus 4:13). If even a burning bush cannot compel us to run toward the mission God has for us, what will?
Remembering what’s at stake.
Tucked here in between the ignition of the burning bush and Moses’ decision to obey, we find an object lesson as unsettling to us as it must have been to Moses.
Moses’ staff becomes a snake (vv. 2–5) and his healthy hand becomes diseased (vv. 6–7) before a third sign is promised: the Nile River will turn to blood and will be spilled out on the dry ground (vv. 8–9). Sure, these are demonstrations of God’s power, but look again. This is a compelling reminder of who we are without Jesus.
We are snakebitten, attacked and weakened by the serpent who first struck in the garden.
We are diseased, desperately broken by sin and unable to cure our own sick hearts.
These first two signs show that we are enslaved to the taskmaster of sin without the means to break our own chains. The gospel is the only key that turns the lock for shackled people walking in darkness. We cannot hide our faces from this.
The third sign given to Moses runs like a river of hope through all of God’s Word and overflows into the banks of our lives. As Moses turned river water into blood and dumped it onto dry ground, he was preaching the gospel, pointing toward the day when the blood of our Savior would be spilled on a cracked and desperate world for the deliverance of our sin. In Exodus, the wooden staff of a shepherd was a foreshadowing of the wooden cross where the Good Shepherd would hang for us.
Moses remembered what was at stake, slipped his sandals back on, and put one foot in front of the other, walking out his calling. And the Lord, used him mightily in order to set the captives free.
Lord, help us look across the table, across the street, and around the world, remember what’s at stake, and choose declare the gift of the gospel.
Erin Davis is an author, blogger, and speaker who loves to see women of all ages run to the deep well of God’s Word. When she’s not writing, you can find Erin chasing chickens and children on her small farm in the Midwest.