Sandals, Bushes, and Obedience

Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian. And he led the flock to the back of the desert, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God.  And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed. Then Moses said, “I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn.”

So when the Lord saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!”

And he said, “Here I am.”

 Then He said, “Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.”  Moreover He said, “I am the God of your father—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon God.

And the Lord said: “I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows. So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites.  Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel has come to Me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them.  Come now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.”

But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?”

So He said, “I will certainly be with you. And this shall be a sign to you that I have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.”

If you grew up in the church, like I did, you may recall this flannel graph. Moses. The bush on fire. God’s call on Moses’ life to deliver the Israelites from slavery. Nestled in this story I have missed something all these years.

Maybe I was too preoccupied with the burning bush, removing the sandals on holy ground (I seriously love that part), and the precursor to the plagues in Egypt. If you keep reading through to the end you will see the slight shift. From reverent awe to selfish preoccupation.

The Creator God of all, who is present before you in the form of a burning bush, is calling you specifically to be the deliverance of an enslaved people. You respond with only weakness and excuses. Here’s the kicker for me. God doesn’t respond to Moses how you and I respond when others throw out false humility (cause we do, I know I do).

No, God responds only how God can. Pointing to Himself. That He is with Moses and that He is the Supreme God in I AM. Moses is insufficient, he is selfish and prideful, he is weak. As we all are. Yet God reminds him in the midst of his backtracking that He is with him, He is giving him a sign, and Moses will succeed because he will serve God on that very mountain. (Yeah I missed that when, not if, too in that last statement)

I don’t know about you but I often resemble Moses (we see him do this a couple more times) and Abraham and even my namesake, Sarah, more than I would like to admit. I backtrack when God calls me to something or someone. I point to my inefficiency and inability instead of resting in the presence of Him with me. Instead of trusting He knows far more than I do, and believing that He is at work in me and with me. I scoff at His plan simply out of a disobedient and prideful heart, even as I stand on holy ground watching Him at work.

Today, as we start a new week, dwell in what He has been calling you to or in. Maybe it’s a career change, or maybe it’s to remain right where you are. Maybe it’s to minister to the person you just cannot tolerate or maybe it’s the people in your own home. Instead of giving Him a list of why you can’t in response, today…in the moment, believe in the I AM. Trust that He is with you in it. When you have fulfilled it, know you will serve Him there. In that. With Him.

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