The Burning Bush

The Gospel Story  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  24:11
0 ratings


Good morning once again everyone and welcome. We are continuing in our “Gospel Story” sermon series. Last week we began the book of Exodus and how God’s people became enslaved and oppressed by Pharaoh. Pharoah gets so scared of how many Israelites there are that he orders the baby boys to be killed, which leads to one woman hiding her son and sending him down the river in a basket. The baby is found by Pharaoh's daughter and is raised as an Egyptian and given the name Moses.
Fast forward forty years, (Acts 7:23 “23 “When Moses was forty years old, he decided to visit his own people, the Israelites.” ) When Moses goes out to the Israelites he sees one of them being mistreated and ends up killing the Egyptian who was hurting them. Moses flees Egypt and finds himself in the land of Midian. It is here that he comes across a family of shepherds and is married and has a child.


Engage / Tension

Exodus 2:23–25 NIV
23 During that long period, the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out, and their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God. 24 God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob. 25 So God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them.
After Pharaoh dies, we are told that the Israelites cry out to God and that God does something. We are told that God remembered his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. What on earth does it mean that God remembered? Does that mean that God forgot? Did he need to be reminded of his children that he had led into Egypt in the first place? Did God go on vacation and forget about them?
That’s often how we think of remembering something. For example, a lot of cars have this nice little reminder when you turn off the car that pops up and says, “Check backseat.” The purpose of that being, check your backseat, make sure you remember your child if they are back there. Sometimes you get driving and thinking about your day or week and you can end up forgetting that you have someone else back there (If they are quiet). So is that what is happening with God here? Are the cries of the Israelites like that message in the car? Ding ding, hey, remember you children, remember those people that you made a covenant with.
Not quite. God did not forget about the Israelites and needed to be reminded of them. Remember when it is used in the Old Testament is often different than how we think of it today. The Hebrew word used for “to remember” is zakar, which means to bring someone to mind AND then act on their behalf. So when the Bible says that God remembered, it isn’t implying that God forgot, it is getting us ready to see how God is about to ACT. Our main passage today then is going to show us how God begins to act to save his people.


Exodus 3:1–12 NIV
1 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, 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 will worship God on this mountain.”
Our passage here doesn’t tell us exactly how much time has gone by, but in Acts we see how long Moses has been out in Midian. Acts 7:30 “30 “After forty years had passed, an angel appeared to Moses in the flames of a burning bush in the desert near Mount Sinai.”
So, at this point, Moses is now 80 years old. He’s out doing what he has been doing for the last 40 years when he comes across this bush that is burning but is not burning up. Since this isn’t a natural thing that you often see, Moses investigates. As Moses approaches, God speaks to Moses and tells him to remove his sandals because he is on Holy Ground. Here, we have a reminder that there is some kind of gap between God and humans. God is holy and because of our sin we are not. So God gives Moses these instructions to allow him to come closer.
God then introduces himself as the God of Moses’ father, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. This is when Moses begins to understand who is talking to him and he is afraid to look at the bush at this moment. God continues and tells Moses that he is being sent back to Egypt to bring the Israelites out of Egypt.
Moses then asks a really good and important question that demonstrates some of his character. Who am I that I should do this? This is the kind of response that is good to have, believe it or not! I don’t know if we would look up to Moses in the same way if instead of showing humility Moses responded by saying, “Yupp, always knew it would be me, I’m the absolute best and only person for the job.” Instead we see Moses humbly asking, “Why on earth would you want me?” And here we see a good example of what it feels like for us to be involved in God’s work still today. When God calls us to share the gospel, to demonstrate the love of Christ, I think it is perfectly okay to ask, “Who am I? Why would you pick me to do it? Isn’t there someone else who is better equipped for it?”
Notice God’s response to Moses in verse 12 though. God doesn’t give Moses a pep talk on how great he is and how he is actually perfect for the job because of his background and experiences. He doesn’t tell Moses that he is the right one because he has been a shepherd for 40 years and finally understands what it means to take care of people.
Instead, the reassurance that God gives to Moses is simply, “I will be with you.”
This is the same promise that we ourselves are given by Jesus at the great commission. (We just talked about this at Bible Study, you should come!)
Jesus also promises the disciples that as they go out to share the gospel Jesus will be with them always. Doing God’s work does not depend upon us, it doesn’t matter what you think you can and cannot do. God doesn’t even want us relying on our own strength and ability, instead he wants us to depend upon him. One author says, “Moses did not need more self-esteem, Moses needs a greater awareness of God’s presence.” The same is true for us, we don’t have to be afraid of doing God’s work because God himself is with us.
And I think like any of us though, Moses has more questions for God. He needs more information, he still isn’t sure.
Exodus 3:13–22 NIV
13 Moses said to God, “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?” 14 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.’ ” 15 God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.’ “This is my name forever, the name you shall call me from generation to generation. 16 “Go, assemble the elders of Israel and say to them, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—appeared to me and said: I have watched over you and have seen what has been done to you in Egypt. 17 And I have promised to bring you up out of your misery in Egypt into the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites—a land flowing with milk and honey.’ 18 “The elders of Israel will listen to you. Then you and the elders are to go to the king of Egypt and say to him, ‘The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us. Let us take a three-day journey into the wilderness to offer sacrifices to the Lord our God.’ 19 But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless a mighty hand compels him. 20 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. 21 “And I will make the Egyptians favorably disposed toward this people, so that when you leave you will not go empty-handed. 22 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.”
Here we are given this amazing name for God. Now, it might sound like a weird name, “I AM WHO I AM” but allow me to explain why this name is important and even what it will mean for us as we look at the broader Gospel story in scripture.
When God says that he is I Am, he is saying that he simply is. His existence doesn’t depend on anything or anyone, his existence is not found in how we often explain ourselves. We often say things like, I am the son / daughter of… I am a nurse, I am a friend of… The list goes on and on. But God simply is.
And so the Hebrew word for this is YAHWEH. YAHWEH is actually a verb that means “He will be.” This is the personal name that God gives us for himself and throughout the Old Testament, it is used a lot. Over 6,500 times.
This interaction between Moses and God goes on, but for us today I want us to stop and examine what it means that God is I AM WHO I AM. If we look at the New Testament, we can see Jesus using this name to make himself known to people.


Consider what God said he was doing when he revealed himself as the I AM. God said he was coming down to rescue his people from Pharaoh. Listen to Jesus’ words as he comes to Israel to teach them who he is and what he has come to do.
John 8:56–59 NIV
56 Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.” 57 “You are not yet fifty years old,” they said to him, “and you have seen Abraham!” 58 “Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” 59 At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds.
Jesus here is talking to a group of Jewish people and explaining who exactly he is. He ends his teaching by saying that before Abraham was born, I Am. The Jews recognized what Jesus was saying here. This personal name for God, that they took very seriously. Going so far as to make up their own word for it so that way no one ever said it inappropriately, here Jesus is saying that he is I AM. Just as I AM saved Israel out of slavery and bondage in Egypt, so I AM is going to save everyone from their bondage to sin by dying on the cross. I Am once again remembers his people, he remembers his covenant and acts by sending himself through Jesus to the earth. I Am has come down to rescue us just as he rescued the people of Israel.
The question for us today, is do you recognize this? Do you know I Am, through Jesus, and how you can be saved through believing in him? All of us are enslaved to our sins, we are held in bondage that we cannot break on our own. Yet, Jesus, I Am, came to rescue us on the cross and through his resurrection. Do you believe this?


Related Media
See more
Related Sermons
See more