Of the burning bush, sandals, and hearing God

When was the last time you looked up at the night sky and saw thousands, if not, millions of stars? When camping in my childhood, I used to lay out under the stars and marvel at their great numbers. In Ghana, West Africa, you can sit outside at night and the only light in the rural areas comes from the moon or the stars. You can see millions of them. I remember sitting on the back deck of a friend’s house on the West coast of Nicaragua. We saw a shooting star. Then another one. That one night we counted about 23 shooting stars. We marveled at the sight of so many. These are things that we just do not normally see because if we live in a populated area, the light from our surroundings masks the brilliance of the stars.

It’s like that with hearing from God as well. What interferes with hearing from God? So many people say they just don’t know how to hear what God wants from them. Let us be reminded of Moses. The Angel of the LORD (Melakh Adonai), appeared to Moses in the fire amidst a flaming bush and told him to take off his sandals for he was on holy ground. The LORD identified Himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He had seen the suffering of His people, and had chosen Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt to the Promised Land. Moses asked who should he say sent him. The Lord told him, “Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh,” (“I will be what I will be”). In Exodus 3:14-15, God told Moses, “You shall say unto the children of Israel, I AM has sent me unto you.”

Then God further revealed His sacred Name “YHVH, the God of your father’s, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob…this is my Name forever.” The phrase, “I Am that I Am,” is derived from the verb hayah, “I will be,” and is connected to the Name YHVH, because God is the source of all being, He is Life itself.  Even with the revelation of God’s Name to Moses, Moses was still hesitant to accept his mission, and argued that he was not eloquent enough to be God’s spokesman. He said he was “heavy of mouth” and “heavy of tongue,” and God reminded him in Exodus 4:11-12 that He was the creator of the mouth, saying, “Who gives a person a mouth? Who makes a person dumb, or deaf, keen-sighted, or blind? Isn’t it I, ADONAI?  Now, therefore go; and I will be with your mouth and will teach you what to say.”

From this amazing encounter, Moses is a prime example of the phrase, “know before Whom you stand.” This phrase is written on the doors of the Aaron ha-Kadesh–the place where the Torah scrolls are kept. A reminder that the LORD is always present, as in Isaiah 6:3, “The whole earth is filled with His glory.” The LORD revealed Himself directly to Moses in the flames of the burning bush. He reveals Himself to us today through the flames of His Holy Spirit. Even though we often cannot see the stars at night because of earthly interferences, they are still there. And even though we may not hear the Lord because of the earthly distractions, he is ever present. Like Moses, may we take off our shoes (our connection to the world), and draw near to Him that we might hear, listen and act!

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Bill Wilson