Before the days of gas fireplace logs, Moses saw a curious sight. A bush on Mount Horeb was ablaze with fire, but not burning up. He left his father-in-law's flock grazing and went over to get a closer look. As He approached the burning-bush-that-wasn't-burning-up, a voice called out to him from the fiery shrub.
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.”
“Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” Then He said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” (Exodus 3:4-6 NIV)
God told Moses He had heard the cries of His oppressed people, and He had come to rescue them from the bitterness of their slavery to the Egyptians. What came next must have startled Moses to the core.
"So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.” (Exodus 3:10 NIV)
Moses had been raised in the courts of Egypt. He knew exactly what it meant to approach Pharaoh, the king, and challenge him. This couldn't be right. Me? A nobody?
Then Moses argued with God.
Moses: “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”
God: “I will be with you."
Moses: “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”
God: “I Am who I Am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I Am has sent me to you.’”
Moses: “What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you’?”
God (after turning Moses' staff into a serpent and his hand leprous): “If they do not believe you or pay attention to the first sign, they may believe the second. But if they do not believe these two signs or listen to you, take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground. The water you take from the river will become blood on the ground."
Moses: “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.”
God: “Who gave human beings their mouths? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”
Moses: “Pardon your servant, Lord. Please send someone else.”
God: “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. You shall speak to him and put words in his mouth; I will help both of you speak and will teach you what to do."
So Moses went to Egypt with his brother, Aaron. And God used them to bring Egypt to its knees and force Pharaoh to release His enslaved people by sending ten plagues on the land.
The burning-bush-that-wasn't-burning-up ended up being holy ground, where Moses received his highest calling, even if it wasn't his finest hour. Perhaps you and I can relate.
I hear the quiet voice of God's Holy Spirit urging me to do something difficult, like reaching out to someone who is angry at me. "Come on, God, they are the one who blew up. Why should I be the one who makes nice?" Or the Spirit tells me I must forgive the person who wounded me deeply. "Really, God? Really? They're not even sorry for what they did. I have to forgive, even if they never apologize?"
But the God who calls us by name from the fire of His presence will not be dissuaded. "I will go with you. I will provide everything you need. I Am who I Am, and I Am telling you that you must do this. Just go, already!"
And when we do what God says to do, we see His wonders. It may not be easy, but it will be good.
The God who calls us will use us beyond our own capabilities when we say "Yes" and do what He says to do. It's always been that way, and it always will. There will be challenges. Even impossibilities (for us). But God is bigger. And God is able. And God has purposes for our lives that go far beyond the mundane existence of work-eat-sleep-repeat.
Make room in your life for a burning bush. Meet Him on holy ground. Make room for God's fiery presence. Make room for His calling to be more than you can be in your own ability. God just might use you to accomplish impossible things...