Lesson 2—God's Call to Serve
Scripture: Exodus 2:11–4:17
Key Scripture: Exodus 2:11–22; 3:1–15
Key Idea: Just as God called Moses despite his hesitation, we too are called to service even though we may feel inadequate. God’s promise to Moses is also to us: “I will be with you” (Ex. 3:12).
Migration Story: Christians and Syria, by Roula Alkhouri
I taught workshops on the Bible study all around the country this spring and summer. While talking about Moses at the burning bush with a group during the Women's Conference at Mo-Ranch in Hunt, Texas, a workshop participant stopped me and said, "you know I had a burning bush moment." She described the instant when she heard God say to her, "I am who I am." After many years of pursuing God, she finally stopped, listened, and received the relationship that had been waiting for her. She learned to trust God.
Below is PW marketing associate Carissa Herold's reflection on the burning bush.
One of the most familiar images from scripture is the image of the burning bush. Excuse the pun, but why is that image burned in our collective imaginations? Trust me, burned into my imagination it is! I still recall the page I colored in Sunday school class many years ago. I chose the warm-hued crayons to bring life to the image of the burning bush. Red. Orange red. Yellow. But as an adult who has trod once again over these familiar passages, I was recently struck not by the burning bush but by Moses’ reaction to the burning bush.
In a recent Sunday school class, we talked of the burning bush. (Isn’t it interesting how these things work together?) What is very amazing about this spectacle, according to our leader, who has traveled extensively throughout this part of the world, is not the burning bush per se. Burning bushes are not uncommon occurrences in this part of the world, she offered. What is amazing, she said, is that Moses noticed that the bush was burning but not consumed by the flames. Moses stopped (italics are mine) and said, “‘I must turn aside and look at this great sight, and see why the bush is not burned up.’” (Exodus 3:3).
Janice Catron writes in her study, “Ancient rabbis say this awareness is what set Moses apart. Their tradition holds that the burning bush had been present in the area for a while, but others passed it by without noticing the special phenomenon. Only Moses saw it, and this marked him as the right person for God to use. Certainly the text suggests that Moses approached the bush with an appropriate sense of awe and worship that opened him to the Holy Presence” (An Abiding Hope, p. 24.)
As children of a living and faithful and fully present God, this image offers us a glimpse of the awesome presence of the One Who Is, “I am who I am.” (Exodus 13:14) Yes, the flames are awe-inspiring and striking! But what is most revelatory is that God chooses to connect directly with us, One to one, when we stop and notice, to open up our ears to hear that still small voice that is the voice of “I am who I am.”
I have been blessed with my own burning bush moments, those precious experiences that can only be called holy and profound and comforting. But with this renewed understanding, as I walk this way again, I have a new sense of regret, almost remorse. For every instance when I chose to stop and notice, I realize I have an infinite number of instances when I chose to walk on by, caught up in the busyness of my life. Or perhaps burning bush moments are meant to be special, and that being busy and distracted is the rightful human condition? Moses was certainly a busy person! The shepherds were tending their sheep and all that entails until they spotted the star. And Mary and Martha were still working things out many years later! At the end of things, more spectacular than a bush aflame is the deep knowledge that the Creator of the universe—the “I am who I am”—is available to us, even when we are too distracted to notice. What is your burning bush moment? What have you noticed and what changes have you made in your life as a result of your tremendous encounter with the Creator of the universe?—CH
Until next time—