Burning Bush: Conversation of Moses with God
The conversation of Moses with God in the wilderness besides the Burning Bush is very important revelation about God. (Exodus 3 and 4) The profound experience of Moses provides amazing understanding about God. The self-disclosure of God is the only means to know God. Knowing the true God helps humans to base their lives on a firm foundation. From the conversation we could easily list several attributes or characteristics of God. Moses strong leadership is rooted on this worldview of God.
- God is Holy
“Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” (Exodus 3:5) Job, Isaiah, three disciples in the Mount of Transfiguration are other instances, where God reveals His attribute of holiness. In the Tabernacle ceremonies, sacrifices and rituals the truth of God’s Holiness is emphasized. Psalmist declares that God is Holy. (Psalms 99:9) His holiness is entirely and exactly opposite of sin, which God cannot even look upon. (Habakkuk 1:13) This attribute of God becomes the bedrock of all morality, righteousness, truth and justice. Without understanding the holiness of God, it is not possible to understand the ugliness, gravity and horrific nature of sin.
- Self-existing God
God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’” (Exodus 3:14) God is Eternal and self-existing God. He does not have an origin or beginning or end. God is not dependent on others or anything for his existence. It is beyond human comprehension to grasp this Eternal Ever Existing God. His identity is not derived from any other point of reference, indeed, he is the only point of reference in the universe. In fact, everything exists by Him and for Him. Moses is sent by the ultimate authority in the universe.
- God is Love
The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. (Exodus 3:7) God is not an impersonal being that he does not have the capacity to express love or demonstrate compassion. God loves humanity and is touched by the misery of humans who are in bondage of sin and slavery. God is not angry, hateful, vengeful and ferocious. The love of God invites humans for meaningful relationship with Him. It is not that God has love, but He is love- essence of his being is love. (I John 4)
- God is Merciful
In the conversation with Moses, God acts, intervene and do justice to the people who are under misery. The birth, protection and spiritual nurture of Moses in his own home and secular nurture in Pharaoh’s home was God’s active intervention in history. Now, God is commissioning Moses to fulfill the historical task. God’s love is not just an emotional explosion that appears and disappears like a lightning. His love is steadfast, consistent and functional. God shows mercy not only for those who are in need or deserve, He also shows to those who do not deserve too. That kind of mercy is biblically termed as grace. Humans as sinners do not deserve mercy but eternal punishment and second death (hell). Because of God’s mercy and grace, God provides a Way for salvation through Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 2:4; Romans 5:8). The Parable of Prodigal Son demonstrates God’s mercy and grace graphically. (Luke 15)
- God of promise
God’s promise to the Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to make their descendants a multitude like stars of heaven or sand; and also make them a great nation and they will possess the Promised Land of Canaan. May be none of the humans living at that point of time remembered that Promise. Their existence as slaves did not offer any hope, even if they remembered the Promise. However, God did not forget his promise, and continuously works on it and never forgets it. He confirms again to Moses and sending him to inherit the land as the Nation of Israel. The Lord promised the Land flowing with milk and honey. (Exodus 3:8 and 17)
- Missionary God
“So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.” (Exodus 3:10) God is an active God. He intervenes in the history of individuals, families and nations. God sends out prophets, leaders, preachers, priests and ministers to deliver people who are in slavery of sin. The missionary God sent his Only Begotten Son to the world to save humanity. Today, also he sends his children as missionaries to deliver people and set captives free. Moses is one of those who was sent by the missionary God.
- God is Sovereign
God is the only absolute ruler over whole creation. God chooses and decides what is best for the world. There is no authority in the world that is greater than that of God. All political, social, economic and military power cannot overstep His control and authority. His Sovereign authority is over all nations. In the conversation with Moses God said: “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.” (Exodus 3:8) God has authority to dispossess and overthrow nations according to His will. God promises Israelites Canaan by dispossessing the people whose sin made them to lose their land.
- God is the Righteous Judge
God judges Egypt as a nation and give punishment. “So I will stretch out my hand and strike the Egyptians with all the wonders that I will perform among them. After that, he will let you go.” (Exodus 3:20) God judges the people or citizens that they are losing what they gained by exploitation and oppression. “And I will make the Egyptians favorably disposed toward this people, so that when you leave you will not go empty-handed. Every woman is to ask her neighbor and any woman living in her house for articles of silver and gold and for clothing, which you will put on your sons and daughters. And so you will plunder the Egyptians.” (Exodus 3:21-22) God waits for four generations until the sins of Amorites becomes awful for right judgement. In the Promise given to Abraham, God mentions that: “In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure.” (Genesis 15:16) God uses the nation of Israel for executing judgement that does not mean that Israel was a perfect and a righteous nation. “After the Lord your God has driven them out before you, do not say to yourself, “The Lord has brought me here to take possession of this land because of my righteousness.” No, it is on account of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord is going to drive them out before you.”” (Deuteronomy 9:5) God as Righteous Judge punishes Egypt but dispossesses the Amorites.
- God is Creator
“The Lord said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.” (Exodus 4:11) God reveals and reminds Moses that He is the creator of the world, universe, nature and human beings. In the creation, God has purpose. Each individual has a role to fulfill the overall purpose of God. Moses realizes, he was created or sent into the world for a purpose. Now the time has come for him to step out to fulfill God ordained purpose.
- God is omniscient
God knows everything and his knowledge is perfect, complete and ultimate. God has all knowledge and is infinite. (Job 37:16; Isaiah 40:28). Moses did not know where his brother Aaron was? But God knew and also informs Moses that Aaron is travelling to meet him. “Then the Lord’s anger burned against Moses and he said, “What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he can speak well. He is already on his way to meet you, and he will be glad to see you.” (Exodus 4:14) God closes the escape route for Moses by providing Aaron as an Assistant for his mission. God refused to send someone else but was willing to provide help to Moses through Aaron.
Egypt was considered as a powerful super power. God was sending Moses just with a staff to confront a Superpower. Moses understood God’s omnipotence that he did not demand an army to confront Egyptian military might. Moses was well aware of the potential and power of Egyptian army. God is able to bring to pass everything that He chooses. He has no external limitations. His only limits are those He places upon Himself. The book of Job (42:2) says that He can do all things and that nothing can restrain him. Genesis 18:14 simply asks, “Is anything too hard for the LORD?” The answer, of course, is “no.”
God is present in all places at all times. God reigns in Heaven, His throne and earth is his footstool. God’s eyes is in every place (Proverbs 15:3), no one could hide from God. (Jeremiah 23:23, 24) Psalmist wonderfully describes the omnipresence of God in Psalm 139:7-12. God revealed to Moses in the midst of Burning Bush. Moses experiences God’s presence in all his ministry.
Understanding God and his attributes as revealed in the Holy Bible is essential for living an upright, holy and righteous life. Knowing God provides new identity and new sense of belonging in our lives. Only when we understand God as the creator, we will realize that there is God ordained purpose of our life. Getting into right relationship with God helps us to understand our roles as we serve our generation in the world. Though, Moses was reluctant leader and gave many excuses not to take up the role, he was able to overcome his inadequacies. Moses encounter and conversation with God, his marvelous relationship with God helped him to be mighty instrument in the history.