This chapter tells of the appearance of God to Moses in the Wilderness. Has he removed from us brethren? He used to be seen by godly souls by mount and stream and sea; and even bushes were alive and blazing with the indwelt Godhead. Oh, that he would reveal himself to us tonight! I am going to read this chapter with this longing in my heart. I pray that the same longing may be in the heart of every child of God: “Show me thy face: show me thy face, my God, tonight.”
Ex 3:1. Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb.
There is nothing dishonourable about common trade, and matters of business at all. Here is a shepherd, who keeps his flock, and God keeps him and reveals himself to him. When God wants a man to lead his people he seeks for him not among idlers, but busy, active men, and God was pleased to show himself more to Moses as a shepherd, than he had ever shown himself to him as a prince in Egypt. I find no glowing Deity in the halls of Pharaoh, but I find the consuming fire manifested in the lone wastes of the desert of Sinai.
Ex 3:2. And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.
Well, might it say, “Behold.” I have seen a bush set alight by a match. It blazed in a moment, but it was gone in another moment. It burned up so fiercely and hastily. But God was pleased to make a poor consumable bush to be the unharmed place of his abiding. He dwells today in the human person of the Saviour. The Godhead is in Christ. He dwells today in the church, which might well enough be consumed by his presence; but it is not consumed. He can come and dwell in my heart and in yours tonight, and yet we shall bear the presence of Deity to the hour of our death. He has a way of so throwing himself into our feebleness that it becomes strong, and that which might otherwise have been destroyed is even preserved by his presence. The bush burned with fire and was not consumed.
Ex 3:3-4. And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I.
Oh, that personal call, that voice from God to the heart! How much we need it. Do you not remember when first the Lord called some of you? Then he says to you tonight, “I have called thee by my name. Thou art mine.” Own that sweet impeachment, confess that you are his, and say to him, “For suffering or for service, here am I ready, aye ready, even as Moses was. Here am I.”
Ex 3:5. And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.
Stand as a servant stands in the presence of his master in the East. He is not expected to wear in the court of his master the shoes which have trodden in the mire of the world. Now, put off thy cares, put off thy carnal thoughts, put off thyself, put off thy sin. When God is near, solemnity and deep reverence become us. “The place whereon thou standest is holy ground.”
Ex 3:6. Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.
Thou needest not hide thy face if God shall appear to thee, though I am sure thou wilt do it. Thou mayest come boldly. It is thy Father’s face: it is the face of one who is reconciled to thee in Christ. Therefore open thine eyes and look; and may the Lord show himself to thee!
Exo 3:7. And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows;
Now, you troubled ones, are not these verses real music to you? God has seen your afflictions, there are God’s eyes; God has heard your cry, there are God’s ears. “I know their sorrows”: there is God’s mighty understanding. He is thinking about you. He knows all that which tries you tonight.