THE HOLY GOD COMES CLOSE
Eternal One, You are my guide and keeper, my stronghold and my deliverer. You are my rock and my salvation. All thanks and praise to You.
Read Exodus 3:1–12
Moses and the Burning Bush
3 Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2 There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. 3 So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.”
4 When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!”
And Moses said, “Here I am.”
5 “Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” 6 Then he said, “I am the God of your father,[a] the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.
7 The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. 8 So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. 9 And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. 10 So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”
11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”
12 And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you[b] will worship God on this mountain.”
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectThink on the words of this hymn: ‘Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty! … / Only Thou art holy; / There is none beside thee, / Perfect in power, in love and purity’ (Reginald Heber, 1783–1826).
Last week we read that God is faithful and knows and loves his people. In today’s reading, we see a different part of God’s character.
Moses finds himself by ‘the mountain of God’ (v 1), and it is here that God appears to him as an angel in a burning bush (v 2). He is a God who defies description, other than that he is who he is (see v 14), and that his name will be remembered throughout all generations (see v 15). This God is so holy, so utterly awesome and pure, that Moses must not come too close and hides his face (v 6). How do you naturally relate to God? Is repentance before a holy God part of your regular prayer life?
Despite God’s perfection, he sees his people’s affliction and promises blessing and deliverance (vs 7,8). He gives Moses a personal assignment and promises to be with him for the journey (vs 10–12). Praise him that he is a holy God who comes close to deliver and bless his people!
Use this prayer to reflect: Lord God, we have sinned against you; we have done evil in your sight. We are sorry and repent … Renew a right spirit within us, and restore us to the joy of your salvation. Amen.’*
Lord Jesus, I long for listening ears. I need to pay attention and hear Your voice, the voice of the Spirit. I pray for discernment.
*Church of England, Common Worship Daily Prayers