So when the Lord saw that he (Moses) turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses. Moses!” And he (Moses) said, “Here I am.” Then he (God) said, “Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet for the place where you stand is holy ground.” Exodus 3:4-5
Can you picture this scene? On a typical day Moses, minding his own business, encountered God in spectacular, supernatural fashion. The Almighty appeared in the midst of a fire that didn't consume the bush its flames engulfed. He revealed Himself as One with the power to destroy and doesn't. Next God did nothing. He made no attempt to engage Moses at all. He waited to see if Moses would make the first move.
This seems preposterous – who wouldn't be attracted to such an extraordinary sight? Unfortunately, supernatural manifestations get ignored all the time. Only when Moses turned aside to investigate this strange phenomenon did God speak. When we get off our agenda and focus on God, we'll hear Him speak clearly also.
Unknowingly, Moses addressed God by name. “Here I Am.” When my mother called me it wasn't unusual for me to respond, “Here Mom!” I acknowledged her personally. I wonder if Moses ever looked back and realized what he'd done.
I'm not sure how I'd respond to a talking, burning bush. Moses didn't appear a bit fearful. According to Scripture, this was his first encounter with God. How much he knew of and remembered about the God of his forefathers isn't clear. Raised in Egypt's royal court, Moses was exposed to pagan deities and the feats of Pharaoh’s magicians. Even the Israelites participated in idol worship while in captivity (Joshua 24:15). Moses had a mixed bag of religious experiences; perhaps a burning bush was no big deal.
Initially God had Moses keep his distance. God wasn't looking to restrict access to Himself. Proper preparations must be taken for close encounters of a God kind. Our relationship with Him has a progressive nature that this first meeting demonstrated.
Next God had Moses remove his sandals – how odd. The ground was holy and Moses’ feet were dirty. God didn't care. He wanted nothing created by human endeavor to come between Moses and the holy ground. God allowed Moses, dirty feet and all, direct contact with the divine.
“The place where you stand is holy” (emphasis mine). The apostle Peter wrote, “But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written ' Be holy, because I am holy.'” 1 Peter . Holy in this verse means to be set apart. Moses was set apart by God for a special assignment which impacted the very ground he stood upon. At that moment neither Moses nor the Israelites possessed this piece of land. God however, “calls things that are not as though they were” Romans 4:17. Later God promised Joshua, Moses' successor, “every place where you set your foot” Joshua 1:3. Earlier in Exodus 33:6 Joshua and the Israelites stood on
, the land God declared to
Moses was set apart, or holy. Mt.
A simple stroll on a mountain radically changed the lives of Moses, the Israelites, Pharaoh and the Egyptians. One man willing to go out on a limb with a saw severed the branch and fell head first into divine destiny. The tongue-tied shepherd brought Egypt to its knees as the power and Spirit of God worked through him. God is “no respecter of people” Acts 10:34. If He can do those mighty things through Moses, He can do the same, and even more through you and me.